LETTERS [Nov 1996]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1996:

To clarify a few points
mentioned in your October article
“Sugarloaf fight goes on,” I made a
sighting on September 7 of the dolphin
Bacall; she was accompanied
very closely by an obviously young
calf. As luck would have it, I was
not in search mode, nor even on the
water that morning. Under these circumstances
I was very careful to
describe this sighting as a “most
probable” sighting in our release, as
well as making clear that only sightings
with verifiable photographs are
considered confirmed.
You quoted Naomi Rose
of the Humane Society of the U.S. as
stating that the main characteristic I
used to make my identification was a
left lean in Bacall’s dorsal fin. The
primary distinctive characteristic of
Bacall’s dorsal fin is actually a set of
ridges in the lower third of the trailing
edge. The flesh of these ridges
protrudes to her right. We used
these dorsal fin features to distinguish
Bogie from Bacall during their
readaptation period in our sea pen.

The combination of lean,
ridges, young calf, location, and
social setting convinced me I was
indeed looking at Bacall. I specifically
omitted some specific information
from the release in the hope of
sparing Bacall and calf from harassment
by curiosity-seekers. The
sighting lasted for 90 seconds, at
distances of fifteen to twenty yards.
Lack of a dorsal fin freeze
brand on either dolphin certainly
makes finding them difficult, but
difficult doesn’t mean impossible.
We have provided dorsal fin photos
to others doing non-invasive dolphin
research here, in hopes someone
will find evidence of the survival of
these longterm performing dolphins,
the first released in U.S. waters.
Ironically, it may be for
the best that Bogie and Bacall were
not yet freeze-branded when their
sea pen fence was cut. As readers
know, the blatant release of the
Navy dolphins at the Sugarloaf
Dolphin Sanctuary soon afterward
brought federal investigators down
to Florida. After their involvement
at Sugarloaf, they came here. A former
trainer of Bogie and Bacall was
with them. Would they attempt
recapture of the dolphins? Given
what transpired in the Florida Keys
with the Navy dolphins, I believe
that was possible. If they were
recaptured, would they be returned
to the sea pen for further readaptation,
or would they be taken into
permanent captivity as the Sugarloaf
dolphins were? By this time two
weeks had passed since Bogie and
Bacall were released. Neither dolphin
was seen by the federal authorities
in the seven days they spent on
the water, nor have begging dolphins
been reported here. This is
due, I feel, to the work we did to
have both dolphins keep their heads
down during feeding. The biggest
factor in their continued survival is
that this was a native reintroduction
to their original community.
––Joe Roberts
The Dolphin Alliance
Melbourne Beach, Florida


More Bacall
The alleged sighting of
Bacall and calf that you reported in
your October edition is another
weak attempt by Joe Roberts to lend
credibility to an otherwise failed
scheme. The Bogie-and-Bacall
release project has done immeasurable
harm to any future captive dolphin
release proposals. For Joe
Roberts and his small band to now
try to do follow-up and photo identification
is laughable. The Dolphin
Alliance has no money, no equipment,
no National Marine Fisheries
Service permit, and absolutely no
experience at either dolphin tracking
or doing photo I.D. There is a qualified
team conducting dolphin photo
I.D. and tracking studies at this time
in the Indian River Lagoon––the
Dolphin Freedom Foundation. We
will ask NMFS to deny Joe Roberts
and/or the Dolphin Alliance any
type of permit to further harass
Bogie and Bacall.
If Joe Roberts and The
Dolphin Alliance truly wish to help,
they will stay as far away from all
dolphins as is humanly possible.
––Russ Rector
Dolphin Freedom Foundation
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The power of one
I really enjoyed Henry Spira’s guest column
“The power of one” in your October edition. I
think that precisely the reason that many people are
not more active politically, especially in the area of
animal rights, is they they think the issues are more
than adequately handled by the larger organizations,
such as PETA, who get most of the press.
However, Mr. Spira neglected, I think,
one of the most personal and effective avenues for
activists: the tremendous effect you can have on people
around you just by being a vegetarian. My
boyfriend knew little about animal rights when we
started dating, and was a happy meat-eater. A year
and a half later he is very sensitized to these issues,
is more careful about the products he buys, whether
I’m with him or not, and rarely eats beef. This isn’t
a result of my pushing my views on him, just a result
of the subtle influences that people we live and work
with have on us over a period of time.
In my newsletter, The Real Girls Papers, I
feature a regular column called Our Pet Cause, which
addresses animal rights in general, but more specifically
teaches girls how they can make a difference,
as individuals, in their own communities, such as by
starting a blanket drive for the local animal shelter.
I think it’s great that there are national and
even multinational organizations devoted to animal
rights, but it does all begin with one person. Thanks
for recognizing and encouraging these folks.
––Susan M. Brooks
The Real Girls Papers
Berkeley, California

Success at last
We just received the latest data on stray cat
intakes at the Humane Society of the Santa Clara Valley.
In 1995, the first full year the San Jose subsidized lowcost
neutering voucher program was running, there was a
12% increase in stray cat intakes for both the City of San
Jose and the other areas the Humane Society of the Santa
Clara Valley serves.
After almost two years of the voucher program,
the shelter is reporting a 6% decrease in San Jose stray cat
intakes, as of Sept 30, 1996. For the entire area serviced
by the shelter, there has been a 17% reduction in stray cat
intakes since 1995––clear evidence of success.
––Karen Johnson
National Pet Alliance
San Jose, California

Just a small clarification in regards to your
October 1996 article “Raiders of Noah’s Ark”: the article
incorrectly lists Silah (correct spelling Silia) Smith as an
employee of the Humane Society of the U.S. In fact, I am
the director of the Canadian office of WSPA.
––Silia Smith
Director, Canadian Operations
World Society for the Protection of Animals
Toronto, Ontario

Remember Herschel and his buddies, the other
sea lions at the Ballard Locks near Seattle? Well, you
need to know a little more, specifically that the salmon he
and his freinds feasted on were of the highest quality,
with high intelligence quotients.
As a lifelong resident of the area and observer of
the salmon spawning migration, I have sat in the home I
was raised in, right there on Salmon Bay, and watched
everything that happened. I’m proud of the intelligence of
the salmon, and of the sea lions, I guess. If they weren’t
smart, they could never negotiate the maze of Indian
salmon nets strung through the channel. Yes, not just one
net, but many, in zig-zag patterns blocking the channel.
Only the smart get through. Ask some of the boaters who
try their skills.
The fisheries managers should ease off on the
sea lions and look at the real culprits––and the real reason
for such great loss of the salmon runs!
––Virginia G. Nelson
Belfair, Washington

Tony LaRussa
I was horrified that the TV coverage of the
Atlanta Braves’ victory in the National League
Championship Series totally disregarded the losers in their
dressing room. In half a century of watching televised
baseball, I never saw that before. Tony LaRussa, manager
of the St. Louis Cardinals, is a rare genius and a great
humanitarian. I have had a high opinion of him since his
days with the White Sox. I once saw him rescue a big
black cat from the playing field––whom he adoptedt.
––Jessie Carter
Fox Lake, Illinois

Tony LaRussa’s baseball record speaks for
itself: six first place finishes in 18 years of managing,
among the best success ratios of all time. He’s also a
lawyer. Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, in
which wife Elaine has been actively involved for a decade,
is both a leading rescue/foster/adoption network in the
north San Francisco Bay area, and, along with the North
Shore Animal League, among the more prominent
sources of animal-related advice and information accessi –
ble through America OnLine.
There have been other vegetarians in baseball,
notably Jim Kaat, Dave Cash, and Henry Aaron, and
other animal rescuers, including the late Hall of Famer
Johnny Mize and wife, but none as outspoken on behalf of
Yet LaRussa did have a spiritual ancestor of
sorts in Orrin Robinson Casey. Like LaRussa during his
playing career, Casey was better known for fielding and
intelligent play than offense. He knocked around the
minor leagues from 1876 through 1885, hit .233 in a
nine-game stint with Detroit in 1882, and claimed to have
inspired Ernest Thayer’s poem Casey At The Bat. Casey
did fit Thayer’s physical description of ‘Casey,‘ and
apparently played at times in proximity to Thayer, but
Thayer denied in a letter to the Syracuse P o s t – S t a n d a r d
that either Robinson Casey or any other actual player had
anything to do with it.
Evidently winning neither glory nor infamy on
the diamond, Casey retired to become a general store
salesman near the Erie Canal in Syracuse. Shocked at the
abuse of tow-mules, he formed the Humane Society of
Central New York in 1891, served as president for 45
years, and on November 28, 1936, reports biographer
Bill Fitsell, “died on the job at 77, after investigating an
alleged case of mistreatment of horses exposed to bitter
weather in a farm field.”

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