Make your own free website on Tripod.com
NEWSFILE: OTHER STORIES Part 2

RESILIENT RHINOS

NAIROBI (Reuters) - The northern white rhinoceros, one of the world's most threatened sub-species, has survived last year's civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF) said in Nairobi Sunday. A survey of a remote northeast area of the country has revealed at least 24 northern white rhinos, WWF's Dr Sheila O'Connor said in a statement. The Garamba National Park in this area is the only known place where the northern white rhino -- a separate sub-species from the southern white rhino found in South Africa --survives in the wild. The white rhinos formerly found in neighbouring Uganda and Sudan have already died out, the victims of poaching and civil wars. WWF conservation specialists were evacuated from the Garamba park when fighting broke out in the Congo -- then Zaire -- in 1996. They were able to return there only recently, fearing that the last white rhinos had been hunted out by poachers. O'Connor said the animals surveyed included at least four young ones, born within the last year. Further surveys are to be carried out to establish a more exact figure for the rhino population. O'Connor said the authorities in the Garamba park had a "commitment to conservation. " The WWF was assisting the Congo government to re-establish conservation programs in the Garamba park and elsewhere. She said that when WWF began its rhino project in Garamba in 1984 there were thought to be only 13 rhinos left. The latest survey provided a great source of encouragement, and was evidence of the rhino’s powers of endurance, she added.

CHICKENS LIKE WATCHING TV

Or so claim researchers at Roslin Institute in Scotland. Battery chickens allowed to watch the box for half-an-hour or more each day grow faster, lay more eggs and are "generally a lot happier". Except when forced to watch the World Cup, of course. After overcoming initial suspicions chicks will flock to watch the screen and they grow up to be "more sociable with nice, well-rounded personalities" reports PC Format magazine (June 1998) which adds that the chickens' favourite viewing is a Flying Toasters screensaver.

PUT ON YOUR RUBBER CHICKEN SUIT........

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) Two animal rights activists wearing yellow chicken costumes were arrested after staging a protest on the roof of a McDonald's restaurant. The female activists unfurled a banner Tuesday reading "Did Somebody Say McMurder?" One of them shouted through a bullhorn for customers to "go vegetarian if you care about animals." Susan M. Perna, 38, of Chesapeake was charged with trespassing and disturbing the peace, police said. Shannon B. Piercy, 21, of Virginia Beach, was charged with trespassing. Both women belong to Tidewater Animal Defense and are former employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a Norfolk-based animal rights organisation. The two groups are not affiliated. A McDonald's manager said the restaurant would press charges but declined further comment.

TURNING TURTLE

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican police have arrested two men and seized 14, 000 sea turtle eggs, which poachers have been known to sell as aphrodisiacs around the world. Jorge Garcia Avendano and Antonio Olmedo Garcia were caught transporting the turtle eggs in a truck along the highway between the Pacific resort of Acapulco and Oaxaca state, the federal Attorney General's office said Monday. Mexico's Pacific beaches are prime nesting grounds for sea turtles, which along with their eggs are protected by a 1990 law. Biologists have tried to persuade poor villagers from scavenging the eggs by giving them other means of support, including cleaning up beaches and gathering fire wood.

DOES IT COME WITH WAFERS?

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Penguins, sea gulls, albatrosses, and other birds were among 214 animals found dead along an Argentine coast, ecologists said Wednesday. The cause of the deaths, which occurred over the weekend in Miramar, 265 miles southeast of Buenos Aires, is still under investigation, authorities said. Ecologist Gil Conners was quoted by Perfil, the Buenos Aires daily, assaying that he believes pesticides dumped in the ocean caused the deaths. The levels were too low to affect most aquatic life but were devastating to birds with weaker immune systems, he was quoted as saying.

HOW DO THEY DO THAT????

SCORES of buffalo trapped in boiling mud caused by underground fires set by hungry tribesmen in Namibia are to be shot by park wardens to save them from further agony. Philemon Malima, Minister for the Environment and Tourism, said 70 buffalo with burnt hooves are to be shot over the next few days in mercy killings that could reach 150, half the Mamili National Park's buffalo population. Hunters started the underground fires in an effort to trap the animals for meat. Mr Malima said that the buffalo, held in boiling mud by burning seams of coal and peat under the Caprivi Strip in northeast Namibia, had often fallen prey to the local people, who had been given meat from culled animals by park wardens. Many of the calves died on the spot because they could not move after their hooves and other body parts were "cooked" in the mud.

"The situation is very bad at the Mamili National Park, many buffalo are stranded in the boiling mud in the wetland of Mamili, " Mr Malima told The Namibian newspaper yesterday. He said the boiling of the buffalo had provided a bonanza for prides of lion that had wandered into the park and were feeding on the beasts as they writhed in the scalding mud. Mr Malima described the loss of the buffalo as a national disaster and said that chiefs had been told to track down those who set the fires, so that they did not "destroy the heritage of the Caprivi". The fires have been so severe that all the wetlands of the Mamili Park have been turned into an inferno of burning reeds while peat and coal burning beneath the surface has caused the earth to boil. Park wardens are surprised that few animals other than the buffalo had been trapped in the boiling puddles, although they said this may be because the animals had an early warning system for fire. Source Unknown via Internet, 29. 5. 98

HEART`S FILTHY LESSONS

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Ghost Boy, a rare albino koala, made his debut at the San Diego Zoo to oohs and aahs from adoring animal lovers. The only known albino koala in captivity, the tiny marsupial clung to its mother's back in its first public display Friday, showing off snow-white fur, a cute pink nose and matching eyes as it munched eucalyptus leaves. The koala — named Onya-Birri in Aborigine because of its unusual lack of pigment — was born in September, roughly the size of a jelly bean. Now about 2 pounds, it will reach 18 pounds when full-grown. Ghost Boy spent its first six months of life tucked safely inside his mother’s pouch. When he first poked his nose out in March, zookeepers couldn't believe their eyes. "There were three of us, and no one would believe it on their own, so we'd go and get the other one just to make sure," said keeper Chris Hamlin. Visitors to the zoo — young and old — gushed as Ghost Boy crawled atop his mother's head, using her ears as steps. As the mother, named Banjeeri, navigated a branch, the crowd gasped as one when Ghost Boy slipped briefly from her neck before latching onto her stomach.

Two-year-old Abigail Shrader loved the show. "He was holding onto mommy!" she exclaimed. "That's exactly the way she sleeps on top of my wife, so I think she appreciates that," said the girl's father, Tom Shrader, a visitor from Connecticut.

Albinism, or a lack of pigmentation, can be present in genes but not show up for generations, Hamlin said. Ghost Boy's mother has had other offspring — a koala baby is called a joey — but all had normal light gray fur. The animals native to Australia are known worldwide as the cute, fuzzy symbol of the country. Ghost Boy will spend his life at the zoo. Koalas usually stay with their mothers until they are about a year old, becoming solitary animals when full-grown. He will eventually be allowed in some of the outdoor enclosures, but only on overcast days. He's perfectly healthy, keepers said, but because he has no pigment his eyes are extremely sensitive to light and his skin could burn easily. "We'll just have to keep him inside on sunny Southern California days," Hamlin said.

I GOT A FELINE (A FELINE DEEP INSIDE OH YEAH)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Russ and Debbie Brown had been waiting four months for their calico cat to return home. As it turned out, the cat was at home - the Browns’ former hometown, 300 miles away. The couple moved from Ashland, Ohio, to Louisville nearly five months ago, when Russ Brown was transferred from a Ford plant in Lorain, Ohio, to the Kentucky Truck Planton Chamberlain Lane. They were returning from Ohio last weekend after a Father's Day visit with relatives when they encountered slow traffic, and a familiar feline. "We were on Route 58, near Ashland," Debbie Brown recalled. "We're about a minute from where we used to live in Ashland, and I see this animal. And then I see it's a cat and she's just taking her good old time. She's going away from me, and I'm looking and looking. And I say, `Russ, that's Jasmynne.'" The Browns have no idea how Jasmynne travelled the 300 miles, especially considering she had to cross an Ohio River bridge. "I call her my miracle kitty," Debbie Brown said. Her husband jumped out of the truck and yelled the cat's name. "She just came running right over to him," Debbie Brown said. "She laid in the grass and rolled and was as happy as she could be." After a trip to an Ashland-area store for $42 worth of cat items, including a bowl, food and a pet carrier, the Browns began to consider Jasmynne's incredible journey. Aside from being a little thinner and having a new notch in an ear, Jasmynne seemed no worse for her trekking.

FOOTBALL CRAZY

The summer of 1998 has been centred, for many (including Graham, but not me and Rich), about football so it seems appropriate that A&M include a soccer story. It appears that Marc-Vivien Foe, a star player from The Cameroon was being courted by Manchester United....

"the deal, which will cost united upwards of £3 million, is dependent on how the 23-year-old recovers from his injury [he fractured a fibula]. Bizarrely, that in turn depends on the healing power of gorilla bones and hedgehog-hunting. Foe said: "they are taking off the plaster on June 23, but in Cameroon, healers have said they will be able to cure me in three days by burying my leg in the ground and putting fire around it. They have also recommended massage with gorilla bones while invoking the spirits of my ancestors. Physiotherapy would include going on a hedgehog hunt." The Guardian 11.6.98

BIGGLES BREAKS HIS DUCK

LONDON - A duck that cannot swim has become an honorary flight lieutenant at a British air force station and, been outfitted with a life jacket. The June edition of the Ministry of Defense's house journal reports that Jemima was found by airmen in the-emergency water supply lagoon at the Royal Air Force's Marham base in eastern England. Suffering from a shortage of oil in her feathers, she was paddling furiously to try to keep afloat. The Aylesbury duck, which has now become a station mascot, is pictured wearing a bright red inflatable life jacket, designed to keep her head above water.

BEARDED CLAM

A Massachusetts state appeals court cited the Treaty of Falmouth of 1749, signed by Britain's King George II, when it ruled Thursday two members of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe were within their rights to clam whenever they wanted. The Cape Cod town of Bourne criminally prosecuted two tribe members for violating its ordinance prohibiting recreational shellfishing on certain days of the week. The pair, who were gathering clams by hand and rake to feed their families, claimed they were exercising their rights as Native Americans to fish for sustenance without restriction by town ordinance, according to court papers. Thursfield Infestation of rabbits is no laughing matter - by Sean Mac Connell A Co Westmeath farmer and his neighbours are being put out of business by rabbits which are eating all their grass and leaving none for their farm animals. The rabbit population has reached crisis level at the town land of Culleen, Horseleap, Moate, Co Westmeath, where Tom Darcy is attempting to make a living. "It has been so bad over the last few years that I have been driven out of tillage altogether because I could not grow anything green or the rabbits would destroy it. In fact all the farmers around here have been driven out of tillage because of the rabbits: they could no longer afford to compete with the rabbit population. It is also impossible to have a vegetable garden around here either because they would clean that out too, " he said.

Mr Darcy said that his main problem is that most people think it’s funny: they don't understand the implications. "For instance, on the best two acres I have for grass production, the rabbits have taken over and there is no grass, only nettles and thistles. Where I should have been taking 20 wrapped bales of silage this year, there was only literally a bagfull of grass. "He said experts from the Department and Teagasc had advised him that myxomatosis, which wiped out most of the Irish rabbit population in the 1950s would recur and deal with the problem. "They get it every year but they get it in the autumn when they have already eaten all the grass and a lot of them survive it and seem to be immune. Chicken wire fencing is very expensive and so is putting up the electric fencing. They have myself and my neighbours driven mad, " said Mr Darcy.

He said he had visited one field on his 57-acre farm at the weekend to find total infestation. "The field looked as if there had been a hailstone shower there were so many white scuts in it. They are doing awful damage. "It would take an army of hunters, he said, to kill all the rabbits in the area and they would never fully succeed. Poisoning had proved to be equally unsuccessful. "I just hope there is someone out there who will be able to help and come up with a new solution to a very difficult and a very serious problem, " he said. UK News Electronic Telegraph Tuesday 7 July 1998 Issue 1138

FISH SUPPER

Why Thai Guys Apply Fry: - Two Thai workers are in jail after cooking and eating a $2,800 koi fish from the fish pond of their employer, the director of a Singapore engineering firm. They said the fish looked like common fish from back home. A second koi was found under the suspects' bed.

INNOCENT VICTIMS

June 2, 1998. JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — About 2,500 animals at an Indonesian zoo are on the brink of starvation because their keepers can no longer afford spiralling food costs, a result of the country's severe economic crisis. Animals at the Safari Wildlife Park in Cisarua, West Java, have to go without food for as many as three days at a time, zoo officials were quoted as saying in today's Jakarta Post newspaper. "I hope that international animal welfare groups can temporarily help us fund our operations," Tony Sumampauw, one of the park's owners, told the Post. The paper ran a photo of an emaciated baby chimpanzee being fed milk from a bottle. The zoo is home to 225 species of animals from five continents and houses the largest collection of tigers in the world, including 27 of the endangered Sumatran tiger. Indonesia's currency, the rupiah, has lost 70 percent of its value against the dollar since July, when an economic crisis began to roil Asia.

Much of the meat needed to feed the carnivores is imported, but even the cost of locally produced substitutes such as chicken have risen sharply. The zoo's daily operating costs, consisting mostly of food expenditures have jumped from $600 to $1,525, while ticket sales have plunged to around $340, the Post quoted the owners as saying. "We have no idea what will happen to our animals if the situation worsens," Sumampauw was quoted as saying.

THE LITTLEST ECO WARRIORS

A COLONY of giant wood ants has put the brakes on a new car park for visitors to the Coed y Brenin Forest, near Dolgellau, North Wales. A huge nest housing more than half a million of the ferocious insects was discovered by workers clearing undergrowth at the proposed site. Forestry Enterprise Wales are now sending their design plans back to the drawing board so the project can go ahead without harming the ants.

WE THOUGHT IT WAS A HUMMING BIRD SO WE DID

The latest attraction in the county is a rotting whale, which is drawing crowds to the huge and hazardous cliffs in the Fanadarea. Hundreds of locals are risking life and limb to get a look at the 30-foot whale carcass, said the Donegal Democrat. "Already some local youths have climbed down the cliffs and taken a tooth from the animal with the aid of a lump hammer and Visegrips!" A local farmer, Johnny Gallagher, said: "There are people coming from everywhere. I am thinking of opening a souvenir shop myself. "

CUE FOR A STRING OF PUSSY JOKES

Two more houses were revealed in March to be public-health problems because owners had allowed cat-breeding to get out of hand. 54 cats were found in a house in a neighborhood of semi-luxury homes in Tarpon Springs, Fla., and 34 were found in an Edmonton, Alberta, house whose owner insisted, "There is no smell. The neighbours are simply neurotic." Meanwhile, authorities in Vietnam said they are being overrun with rats (despite having exterminated 55 million last year) and blame the problem on the number of cats being taken out of circulation as food delicacies bound for China.

RETURN OF THE SPACE CHIMPS

DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE WASHINGTON DC 20330-1000

Office of the Secretary 23 JUNE 1998
SAF/LLI
1160 Air Force Pentagon
Washington DC 20330-11

Dear Mr. Barney

Thank you for your letter to President Clinton regarding an extension to the proposal period for divestiture of the Air Force-owned chimpanzees at Holloman Air Force Base (AFB), New Mexico. As much as he would like to, the President cannot reply personally to all his correspondence. Your letter, therefore, came to the Department of the Air Force for response. The extension you referred to was already approved by the time we received your letter. However, we have provided some background on the Holloman chimpanzees for your information.

The Air Force began the primate colony at Holloman Air Force Base(AFB), New Mexico, during the beginning of the space program in the 1960s. Presently, the Air Force owns 144 chimpanzees. None of the current Air Force chimpanzees were used in the space research program, nor are any of the chimpanzees descended from the only two chimpanzees that actually flew in space. In 1972, because the Air Force no longer had research requirements, it began leasing Holloman's laboratory facilities for use in medical research programs. The Primate Research Complex (PRC), including the Air Force chimpanzees, is currently under lease to the Coulston Foundation. This five year lease began in October 1994. The Coulston Foundation is responsible for care of the chimpanzees. Its lease expires on September 30, 1999.

Over the years, funding for medical research programs has come primarily from the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies. Congress assigned statutory responsibility for oversight of laboratory conditions to the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA). USDA continues to conduct periodic inspections of the Holloman facilities to ensure required standards of animal care and welfare are being met. The Air Force works closely with Congress and other government agencies to ensure this invaluable colony is properly and humanely cared for. Several years ago, Congress funded Phase I of a new primate research center at Holloman AFB and beneficial occupancy of anew state-of-the-art primate building occurred in 1994.

The Air Force is in the process of divesting itself of its chimpanzees. The Air Force intends to transfer ownership of its chimpanzees to responsible organisations or individuals in a timely manner. Section 2842 of the National Defense Authorisation Act for Fiscal Year 1997, Public Law 104-201, authorizes the Air Force to "dispose of all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to the primate research complex at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. "This law requires any divestment be conducted using a "competitive, negotiated process, " that the recipient(s) "take such chimpanzees, or the primate research complex, subject to any existing leases or other encumbrances at the time of the disposal, " and that the recipient(s) of any chimpanzees:"(A) utilize such chimpanzees only for scientific research or medical research purposes; or (B) retire and provide adequate care for such chimpanzees. "

In order to comply with this law, the Air Force published the United States Air Force (USAF) Chimpanzee and Primate Research ComplexDivestment Plan, dated April 10, 1997, and initiated efforts to implement this plan. On June 17, 1997, the Air Force hosted a Chimpanzee Divestment public meeting in order to enhance public knowledge about the Divestment Plan and to receive input from the public. On June 25, 1997, the Air Force issued a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for public comment. The Air Force received and considered comments on the draft RFP. Additionally, the Air Force completed a review of a National Research Council study on "Chimpanzees in Research: Strategies for Their Ethical Care, Management, and Use. " The Air Force modified the draft RFP in order to accommodate some of their commendations and issued the final RFP on September 30, 1997. Due to the complexity of the chimpanzee divestiture and requests to extend the schedule, the Air Force has twice extended the response period for proposals. The cut-off date for accepting written proposals from potential offerors was June 17, 1998.

In order to qualify for ownership of the Air Force's chimpanzees, respondents must propose to use the chimpanzees for research or for retirement. The Air Force will not discriminate between proposals based on which of these two use options is proposed. Award of ownership will be subject to the leasehold interest, but title will pass to the new owner when the Air Force makes the award, not when the lease expires. The Air Force currently plans an award date in mid August 1998, more than one year after the Air Force published the Notice of Intent to divest the chimpanzees.

While this paper should help answer general questions, additional information about the Air Force chimpanzee divestment plan is available on the Air Force Chimpanzee Divestiture Homepage on the World Wide Web at http://www.brooks.afmil/HSC/PK/divest

We appreciate you taking the time to express your concerns and trust you will find this information helpful.

Sincerely,

JEFFREY A. RAMMES, Maj, USAF
Chief, White House Inquiry Branch
Office of Legislative Liaison