From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1998:
John H. Prescott, 63, executive
director of the New England Aquarium 1972-
1994, died on June 30 in Weston, Massachusetts.
Recruited from Marineland of the
Pacific, now defunct, Preston turned the New
England Aquarium into a renowned research
center, but is best remembered for joining
Charles “Stormy” Mayo in forming the Marine
Mammal Stranding Network, and for directing
the first successful rescue, rehabilitation, and
release of stranded pilot whales. Taking in
three whale calves in December 1986, among
more than 60 who beached themselves along
Cape Cod, Prescott returned them to the sea
on July 29, 1987. Reputedly the first marine
mammals tracked by satellite, one was followed
for a then-record 95 days before the
transmitter failed. Prescott later headed both
the committee of scientific advisors to the U.S.
Marine Mammal Commission and the National
Humpback Whale Recovery Team.
Marietta Thornton, 59, telecommunications
director for the Massachusetts
SPCA and American Humane Education
Society since 1987, editor of the Angell
Memorial Hospital alumni newsletter, and
wife of MSPCA president Gus Thornton, died
from complications of surgery on July 10.
Bob Roach, 85, DVM, curator of
the Auckland Zoo 1950-1958, and trainer of
the sled dogs Edmund Hillary used in his 1956
exploration of Antarctica, drowned in early
July while snorkeling in Bali. The Englishborn
Roach researched tropical animal diseases
in Kenya, 1958-1972, then spent his
last years promoting improvement of wildlife
observation sites in northern New Zealand.
Simon Boutflour, 13, was electrocuted,
and his father David was burned on his
hands and feet on July 31, when they hit a
power line with an aluminum irrigation pipe
while trying to free a trapped rabbit. David
Boutfluor in 1985 found a bloodstained gun
silencer, and became a key witness in convicting
his second cousin Jeremy Bamber of
killing five family members including two
children, allegedly to collect an inheritance.
Irwin (Sonny) Bloch, 61, a radio
show host and financial consultant long prominently
involved with the Humane Society of
the U.S., died of lung cancer on March 10,
relatives disclosed in mid-July. Bloch quit the
HSUS board in March 1995, coinciding with
his indictment for allegedly defrauding
investors in a securities scheme of $21 million.
He fled to the Dominican Republic, reportedly
also under investigation for an alleged statutory
rape which was never prosecuted, but was
extradited three months later, and was eventually
convicted of financial crimes in both New
York and New Jersey. “Most of the people
Mr. Bloch defrauded were retirees,” remembered
Barbara Stewart of The New York Times.
“Some were left penniless.” Ten co-defendants
either pleaded guilty or were also convicted.
Bloch served 16 months of a 21-month
sentence for tax evasion, but was released five
months early due to his terminal illness, and
never was sentenced on the major counts.
HSUS has not answered questions about
Bloch’s role in the affairs of the organization,
nor about the duration and nature of his relationships
with John Hoyt, HSUS president
1970-1996; current HSUS president Paul
Irwin, vice president under Hoyt 1975-1996;
and David Wills, an intimate of Hoyt for more
than 20 years, who was HSUS vice president
of investigations 1991-1995, and is now under
indictment for allegedly stealing $84,127 from
HSUS. Bloch, Hoyt, Irwin, and Wills all
had long associations with the Detroit area,
including acquaintance with other persons
allegedly linked to economic crime.
James P. Rod, 53, manager and
warden since 1982 of the National Audubon
Society’s Constitution Marsh Sanctuary near
Garrison, New York, died of cancer on July
4. Rod drew 5,000 birdwatchers a year to the
sanctuary, formerly used mainly by duck
hunters, by improving the observation facilities
and building an education center. His
probe of cadmium poisoning among muskrats
at the sanctuary prompted a $100 million EPA
Superfund cleanup at the nearby site of a
defunct battery factory.
Ernie Dickerman, 87, died July 31
on his farm near Buffalo Gap, Virginia.
Recalled Roger Featherstone of Defenders of
Wildlife, “For more than 60 years Ernie
fought to protect wilderness, both in the east,
and in Alaska––notably the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge. Ernie was a founder of the
Virginia Wilderness Committee, was father of
the Wilderness Act, and tirelessly defended
Great Smoky Mountain National Park from
development.” Dickerman came to know the
Smokies during four years of field work for the
Tennesseee Valley Authority, 1933-1937;
lobbied while working for a button factory
until 1966; and lobbied fulltime for the
Wilderness Society, 1966-1976.
Alverna A. Beaulieu, 59, of Old
Lyme, Connecticut, was killed early on
August 2 as she tried to cross I-95 to rescue
her injured dog Valiant from the divider strip.
Valiant bolted from the Beaulieu yard the
night before, apparently scared by fireworks.
Anabur, a captive-bred female
Siberian crane donated to the Keoladeo Ghana
National Park near Bharatpur, India, by the
International Crane Foundation, died from an
injury in early July. Her intended mate,
Ayafat, died in September 1997. Two other
captive-bred Siberian cranes brought to
Keoladeo have disappeared, possibly dooming
efforts to save the species from extinction.
Only a handful of Siberian cranes remain in
the wild. Sarus cranes, who also winter at
Keoladeo, are likewise in steep decline,
Rajasthan Assembly member Bharat Singh
warned colleagues on August 1. Keoladeo is
believed to host the most dense and diverse
concentration of birds of any site in the world.
Bimbo, 44, among the oldest
Capuchin monkeys on record, died in early
July at the home of Shirley Cox in Akron,
Ohio. Brought from South America in 1954
by Cox’s sister, Anna Hughley, Bimbo came
to Cox after Hughley’s death in 1978. He later
moved to Buffalo with Cox’s son Don Hood,
but Hood brought him back to Akron to spend
his last days with the whole family. Bimbo
was noted for prolonged escapes in Akron in
1979 and Atlanta during a family vacation.
Shasha, 33, a giant panda, died
circa July 1 at the Taiyuan Zoo in northern
China, a month after the death of Zhuzhu, 32,
at the Guiyang Zoo. The oldest panda, Dudu,
36, remains at the Wuhan Zoo.
Jeannerry, 6, a Masai giraffe, died
suddenly on July 15 at the Kansas City Zoo,
the 28th victim of a mysterious syndrome
afflicting giraffes in North America for 20
years. Her mother, Damita, died in January
1998 from the same affliction, which may
have a genetic origin. There are only 47 Masai
giraffes left in North America. Masai giraffe
keepers are to meet in Tulsa in September to
discuss whether to broaden the gene pool by
bringing new stock from Africa or foreign
zoos. Giraffes tend to adapt well to captivity,
but are notoriously difficult to transport.
Maui, a 21-month-old Newfoundland,
drowned on July 28 near Propriano,
Corsica, after dragging to safety two swimmers
who were caught in an undertow. Maui’s
owner, Pascal Brockley, 29, was decorated
for courage by the Prefect of Corsica, after he
and a friend, Bruno Vytter, completed the
rescue of three swimmers in all, including a
small child, but at the medal ceremony
Brockley lauded Maui as the bravest.
Sam, at least 39, a harbor seal rescued
in 1959 by California Department of Fish
and Game officers who found him beached
with an injury, was euthanized on July 27 due
to conditions of age at the Happy Hollow Park
Zoo in San Jose, Calif., his home since 1967.
King Redoubt, Alaskan malamute
mascot of the University of Washington
Huskies football team, died August 1. He was
fifth of a series of malamutes taken to Huskies
home games since 1958 by Kim Cross, who
continues the tradition with a son of King
Redoubt owned by Jim Robinson of Seattle.
C.J., a silver leaf langur who with
his companion Petey loosened two screens and
crawled through a vent to escape from the
Akron Zoo on July 27, was euthanized two
days later due to a spinal injury suffered when
he fell from a tree during a wind storm as zoo
staff shot tranquilizer darts at him. Petey,
who leaped into a net, was recaptured unhurt.