WILDLIFE AGENCY UPDATES
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2000:
A December 1998 training exercise came back to haunt the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement data base (LEMIS) when Tennessee activist Don Elroy in March 2000 found a data entry indicating that 1,012 orangutans valued at $850,000 had come through Miami on a single day, en route from the fictitious firm “Quong’s Orangutans” to an address which turned out to belong to a real-life leather goods importer in Hershey, Pennsylvania. USFWS Office of Law Enforcement Branch of Technical and Field Support chief Circee Pieters told ANIMAL PEOPLE that the alleged deal was one of 29 included in the exercise, with hidden red flags indicating that they were to be deleted when the exercise was done––and they were, she said, but were later restored to the system when a power failure obliged LEMIS to restore files from a backup tape.
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters in March 2000 sent to secondary schools across the province a 300-page hunter education manual produced in 1982 by the Ontario Natural Resources Ministry and the U.S.-based National Rifle Association. It includes about 50 pages showing how to load, aim, and fire weapons including handguns. “If the schools don’t like it, they can just send it back,” said OFAH spokesperson M a r k Holmes, denying that it might help students to commit murder.
Gaia Institute director Mary de La Valette on March 28 announced formation of the Massachusetts Network for Animals, a 38- member coalition of humane groups seeking reform of the hunter-controlled Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. The Massachusetts Network for Animals may be contacted c/o P.O. Box 852, South Lynnfield, MA 01940; telephone 978-535-4203; fax 978-535-4107. Conspicuous nonparticipants include the Massachusetts SPCA and the Animal Rescue League of Boston––the two wealthiest humane societies in the U.S.
The $2.8 million Michigan Department of Natural Resources Millenium Education Project promotes hunting and fishing by distributing workbooks to all 6,000 fourth grade classrooms in Michigan, but Michigan United Conservation Clubs director of education Kevin Frailey is reportedly demanding that the cartoon art be changed. “We don’t want it to portray animals as tame, cute, and fuzzy,” Frailey told Detroit Free Press writer Hugh McDiarmid Jr., reportedly expressing concern that children won’t want to kill species they identify with.
Steve Oliver, of Brookhaven, Pennsylvania, will have his painting of a bear displayed on the 2000 Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp, as winner of a contest sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Fund for Animals, the Humane Society of the U.S., and the Anne Arundel County SPCA. Runners-up, all from Maryland, were Jack Mills of Chesapeake Beach, Patti C. Shaffer of Greensboro, and M. Joyce Zeigler, of Ridgely. “The stamp generates funds to compensate farmers for crop damage caused by bears,” about $40,000 worth since the program began in 1996, said Fund executive vice president Michael Markarian.
Husband-and-wife Martha Ann Messinger and George Patton, of Bastrop, Louisiana, in March received the 36th annual Governor’s Award as Louisiana Conservationists of the Year in recognition of a decade of work to secure a state law banning the collection and sale of three-toed, ornate, and Gulf Coast box turtles.