More killing by the Nature Conservancy

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1997:

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND––To “restore” a
“natural” Channel Islands ecology that may never have
been anything but a succession of invasions, The
Nature Conservancy and National Park Service are
close to killing every wild mammal bigger than a fox on
the five southern California coastal islands––including
the last descendants of Spanish livestock on Santa Cruz
Island, introduced circa 1720. The pigs were killed
because they carried endogenous psuedorabies, a threat
to mainland hog producers. As many as 35,000 sheep
were killed on TNC land, say rescuers, who have been
allowed to round up and remove another 2,500 sheep,
poultry, horses, and burros from 6,200 acres that the
Park Service on February 10 seized by order of
Congress from the last holdouts against a forced sale.


The TNC sheep massacre paralleled past TNC
actions on the islands, for which details are hard to
come by, as well as the U.S. Navy slaughter of 27,000
goats on neighboring San Clemente Island, 1972-1990,
and the Park Service killing of burros and pigs on both
San Clemente Island and Santa Rosa Island, interupted
only by the Fund for Animals’ rescue of about 4,000
San Clemente burros and other livestock, 1981-1985.
While the TNC killing in the Channel Islands,
unlike the government actions, passed largely unremarked,
Voice for Wildlife president Davida Terry in
her winter 1997 newsletter blew the whistle with 26
sharp photos and extensive literature citations on a likewise
ruthless TNC “restoration” of tallgrass prairie in
the forest preserves ringing Chicago. In absence of the
millions of roving bison who maintained the prairie by
keeping trees and brush down, TNC volunteers have
surreptitiously girdled and killed thousands of native
trees and have burned hundreds of acres, destroying a
thriving woodland ecology in favor of an ideal that cannot
be maintained without ongoing intervention––unless
the bison at the Madison and Milwaukee Zoos take up a
regular commute to Gary, Indiana.
“We are not against restoring the prairies, nor
against their creation,” Terry stipulated, “as long as
this is done in areas that are not forested, so that trees
are not destroyed. Instead, prairie grasses and wildflowers
should be planted in already existing open
fields, excluding recreation areas.”
But then TNC might have to experiment on its
own extensive holdings, instead of using public property,
and might be held accountable for the destruction of
habitat for endangered songbirds and––just maybe––
cruelty to feral wildlife, also an oft-criticized aspect of
TNC “conservation” in Hawaii, where according to former
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement
officer Carroll Cox, snares set for pigs and goats are a
major killer of the endangered native birds on whose
purported behalf TNC is acting.

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