From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2008:
Charlton Heston, 84, died at home in Beverly Hills,
California, on April 6, 2008. Heston had disclosed in 2002 that he
had symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease. An avid hunter in
boyhood, Heston from 1941 until late in life was chiefly an actor,
except during service in the Army Air Force, 1943-1947. Except for
several late-career cameo appearances, Heston played mostly starring
roles in 126 feature films made between 1941 and 2001, including Ben
Hur, The Ten Commandments, El Cid, Planet of the Apes,
Earthquake, and A Touch of Evil. Heston became involved in civil
rights activism in the 1950s, and later served as president of the
Screen Actors Guild and chair of the American Film Institute, but
had his biggest influence on public affairs as president of the
National Rifle Association, 1998-2003. Heston personally led the
aggressive NRA campaign against Democratic U.S. presidential
candidate Al Gore in 2000, after Gore expressed support for gun
control. Wrote Calvin Woodward of Associated Press, “As he had once
lifted Moses’ staff in The Ten Commandments, Heston held a musket
above his head and dared Gore from afar to pry it ‘from my cold dead
hands.’ Gore lost blue-collar votes to Bush in an election so close
any setback was perilous. The key finding: About half of voters
were from gun-owning households, and they voted for George W. Bush,
61% to 36%. Voters from households without guns backed Gore 58-39.
Ever since, Democrats in presidential and many Congress-ional and
governors’ races have scrambled to establish their bona fides as
hunters, if they can, or as admirers of firearms or the Second
Amendment if they can’t.”

Malam Musa, 80, longtime keeper at the Kano Zoological
Garden in Abuja, Nigeria, died in early March 2008, four months
after losing a leg to a hyena who bit him as he turned to shovel dung
after leaving the hyena’s food. His death was attributed to a
bladder problem.
Violet Soo-Hoo, 90, died on March 11, 2008 in San
Francisco. Born Violet Howard, in Oak Park, Illinois, she had
already enjoyed a long career teaching English and drama at Balboa
High School in San Francisco when she met electrical engineer Carroll
Soo-Hoo on a 1966 visit to Africa to observe wildlife. One of 11
children of a Chinese immigrant family, Carroll Soo-Hoo spent 28
years as a senior technician and instructor of instrumentation for
submarines at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California.
During that time he donated the equivalent of 10 years’ worth of his
wages to acquire 40 animals worth more than $350,000 for the San
Francisco Zoo, then called the Fleishacker Zoo, beginning in 1958.
Among them were “gorillas, Barbary apes, cheetahs, Siberian
tigers, a jaguar, zebra, hippopotamus, orangutan, spotted hyena,
wild dogs, wolves, ostriches, and kookaburras,” recalled Irma
Lemus of the San Francisco Examiner after his death in June 1998, at
age 84. All were bought, Lemus wrote, “with the understanding
that he could visit and play with them. Mr. Soo-Hoo had his own key
to the gorilla compound.” After marriage to Carroll Soo-Hoo in 1967,
Violet Soo-Hoo helped to raise many of the animals. Among the
animals she helped to care for was an orangutan born at the San
Francisco Zoo in November 1977, named Violet in her honor, residing
at the Honolulu Zoo since 2005. The Soo-Hoos also actively
participated in dog and cat rescue and multifaceted animal advocacy.
The Soo-Hoos were strongly critical of many zoo practices, including
culling older and genetically redundant animals in the name of
conservation, and came to oppose wild captures. Eventually they
split with the zoo community, but became major supporters of the
Primarily Primates sanctuary, the International Primate Protection
League, and many other pro-animal projects. Learning of ANIMAL
PEOPLE from an obituary for Carroll Soo-Hoo, Violet Soo-Hoo became a
frequent caller and writer of letters to the editor in her later

Ursula Bates, longtime secretary of Solihull Animal Aid,
and West Midlands representative for Vegetarians Voice International
since Juliet Gelately founded the organization in 1994, died on
March 6, 2008 of cancer. A leading campaigner against live exports
of British calves in the mid-1990s, Bates in 2005 was instrumental
in organizing a memorial for fellow activist Jill Phipps, who was
crushed by a cattle truck during a 2005 protest.
Val Plumwood, 68, was found dead on March 1, 2008 of an
apparent snake or spider bite at her home near Braidwood, New South
Wales, Australia. Plumwood, who changed her surname from Routley
in honor of a local tree species, wrote influential books entitled
Feminism & the Mastery of Nature (1993) and Environmental Culture:
the Ecological Crisis of Reason (2002). She had been “a leading
campaigner against logging Australia’s native forests and for the
preservation of biodiversity since the 1960s,” recalled Associated
Press. Attacked by a river crocodile in the northern Outback in
1985, Plumwood “escaped with terrible wounds to her legs and groin
after the animal dragged her underwater three times in a death roll,
the maneuver crocodiles use to drown their prey,” Associated Press
continued. “She said the near-death experience constantly reminded
her of the wonder of being alive and gave her a better understanding
of our place in nature.” Wrote Plumwood herself, “As I began my
13-hour journey to Darwin Hospital, my rescuers discussed going
upriver the next day to shoot a crocodile. I spoke strongly against
this plan: I was the intruder, and no good purpose could be served
by random revenge.”

Phillip Terry Hagar, 45, of Bakersfield, California, out
for a twilight walk on March 6, 2008, was killed by a car while
trying to rescue an injured dog from the Rosedale Highway. The dog
was also killed.

Bonnie Turner, a retired veterinary technician, died on
March 15, 2008 when a tornado struck her home in Aragon, Georgia,
and hurled her 50 feet through the air. Her husband Michael Turner
was critically injured. About 35 of her dogs were killed as well,
and as many as 100 more dogs were missing. Known locally for doing
animal rescue and wildlife rehabilitation, Turner was also known
nationally as a breeder and exhibitor of championship Norwegian
elkhounds and wirehaired terriers. A photo from the Turner home was
found the morning after the tornado in Cornelia, Georgia, 130 miles

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.