Who photographed those bunnies, the fox, and the raccoon?
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2006:
WESTON, Ct.–While mainstream humane societies have mostly
left wildlife issues to nature centers and state wildlife agencies,
individual rehabilitators have gradually built a network of
independent institutions dedicated to extending the humane ethic to
wild animals. Often they work almost in the shadows of the
mainstream organizations that didn’t do the job.
Wildlife In Crisis, of Weston, Connecticut, whose photos
appear on pages 1 and 12, operates within the territory served by
the Connecticut Humane Society since 1881 and the Connecticut Audubon
Society since 1898. Not part of the National Audubon Society,
Conn-ecticut Audubon now operates a statewide string of 19 wildlife
sanctuaries and six nature centers, and does rehabilitation of rare
Yet as of 1989 the region lacked agencies to care for
orphaned and injured wildlife of common species, when Dara Reid
founded Wildlife In Crisis to fill the gap.
Within a year Wildlife In Crisis inherited the home on wooded
acreage that it has occupied ever since, adding facilities as needed.
But the young organization was almost immediately challenged
when the mid-Atlantic raccoon rabies pandemic hit southern
Connecticut. Spreading north from West Virginia, the pandemic
started in 1976, after coonhunters trying to rebuild the trapped-out
local population released a truckload of infected raccoons from
Florida. Wildlife agencies tried to fight the pandemic by urging
hunters and trappers to kill more raccoons, which caused surviving
raccoons in the latent phase of rabies to wander farther, seeking
mates, accelerating the spread.
Coping with public panic, Reid estimates that she handled as
many as 10,000 calls in 1991, and perhaps as many in each subsequent
year, as the reputation of Wildlife In Crisis spread.
The most recent hot issue keeping the Wildlife In Crisis
telephones busy has been the effort of the United Illuminating
Company to exterminate feral monk parakeets who persist in building
nests on power poles. The situation was featured on page 1 on the
March 2006 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE. Reid was prominent in making
the killing a public issue.
Despite Reid’s efforts, and those of many others, including
national publicity generated by Friends of Animals, United
Illumin-ating hired USDA Wildlife Services to kill 179 monk parakeets
in 2005, and destroyed their nests. The killing and nest-smashing
proved predictably futile, as the parakeets rebuilt nests on 76
poles. Each nest houses a colony of up to 40 birds.
Judge Trial Referee David W. Skolnick in early October 2006
ruled on behalf of Friends of Animals that United Illuminating has
not made adequate efforts to discourage monk parakeet nesting, short
of killing parakeets. As alternatives exist, Skolnick wrote, “The
defendant’s failure to implement these measures is likely to cause
the unnecessary destruction of monk parakeets, unnecessary harm to
other species of wildlife, and impairment of the public trust in the
ability of the state to protect its natural resources.”
United Illuminating representative Albert Carbone said that
this year the company would demolish nests without killing birds.