Endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles

During the Thanksgiving Holiday, Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA's) rescue team responded to two separate incidents involving highly endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles. Glenn Harman, Director of Animal Programs for CMA, reported a rescue at Crystal River Power Plant where one of the turtles was seriously damaged in the intake flow and a second response to a dead turtle at Sunset Beach in Treasure Island. That turtle was entangled in a discarded lawn chair.

The adult female Kemp’s Ridley most likely swam into the chair while looking for food and became stuck. Unable to extract herself from the chair, she drowned. She had no tags or previous wounds apparently healthy she was lost to needless pollution.

The juvenile Kemp’s Ridley dubbed Pilgrim in honor of Thanksgiving was caught in the Power Plant intake flow and also suffered from a shark bite. The bite injured both the plastron (the underside of the shell) and the carapace (the topside of the shell). The entrapment in the intake flow exacerbated the injuries. Pilgrim will require surgery to repair his plastron.

“Pilgrim needs a good year of nursing care,” said Dr. Janine Cianciolo, staff veterinarian at CMA. “He will be on antibiotics for at least two months.

“These turtles represent two of the most common problems to which we respond,” Harman said. “Each year we see at least ten turtles caught in the intakes at the power plant. They are almost always seriously injured because they get caught in the grates and hurt themselves thrashing about to try to get free. And, of course, debris dumped in the coastal waters is a significant problem. Many marine animals become entrapped and drown because careless people pollute the animal’s home environment.”

The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are the most endangered of all sea turtles. They primarily live in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Eastern seaboard of the United States. They are the smallest of all the sea turtles ranging in size from 80 to 100 pounds. They are one of only two species that nest in large groups and are the only species to nest exclusively during the daytime.

Working to rescue and rehabilitate these endangered sea turtles fulfills the mission of Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The marine animal rescue organization is dedicated to preservation and public education.

And from Oceana.org: "The Marine Mammal Protection Act has successfully protected dolphins, whales, and other marine mammals for more than 30 years..." read more.
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Dr Nancy Swift and the Elephants of Aberdare

Dr Nancy Swift and her team travel to Aberdare National Park in Kenya to assist the local anti-poaching rangers, led by Jan Freelander, as they fight to protect the Elephants of "Aberdare"

If you would like to help Dr. Nancy and her team you can consult with the experts at The African Wildlife Foundation for a closer look of all the animals of Africa's wild preserves.

Then choose your animal and capture its' picture for your own 'Safari' note book. Send your completed drawings and notes to Dr. Swift and we'll publish them in upcoming editions of The Adventures of Dr. Nancy Swift.
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MPs out fox the House of Lords

For just the third time in half a century the British Parliament has invoked the Parliament Act to force approval of a long and hard-fought measure banning fox hunting in England and Wales by the use of hounds.

Fox hunting is a long standing tradition in England and has been, for the most part, the reserve of the landed gentry, wealthy titled land owners whose inherited estates often provide a venue for the 'sport'. The House of Lords has vehemently resisted any attempt by their counterparts in the House of Commons to institute such a ban even though they no longer hold sway over the law lower house when it comes to law making. The passage of the bill quickly received Royal approval and will become law in February, 2005.

Spokespersons for the opposition vow a determined resistance to the ban saying they intend to appeal through the courts; first on the basis that use of the Parliament Act is unprecedented and spurious, secondly with regard to the more likely argument that the ban injures prevailing human rights legislation.

RSPCA director of animal welfare, John Rolls, said the bill was a "watershed in the development of a more civilised society for people and animals".

According to the BBC, "The pro-hunt Countryside Alliance has already written to Attorney General Lord Goldsmith saying it will challenge the legality of the 1949 Parliament Act in the High Court as soon as a ban gains royal assent".

Whatever happens in the next three and one-half months it must be said that The British House of Commons has more than succeeded in accomplishing the will of their constituents they have raised the benchmark of human civilization and with it the possibility that as a species we may yet come to address equal rights for all creatures.
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Preserve hunts on the increase

Trying to stay a little under the radar private hunting preserves have grown quickly and quietly over the last 4-5 years. After 911, as overseas travel began to entail a certain amount of risk, hunters in the United States became an attractive clientele base for land owners wishing to turn a quick profit under newly relaxed regulations governing the import and ownership of game animals both domestic and exotic.

Preserve hunting - called "Canned Hunts" because the animal is kept fenced in and unable to escape - is nothing new; other nations have allowed private hunt clubs and member preserves for decades going back to the mid 19th century. The tradition of the hunt in modern times takes its cue from the private preserve hunts of the wealthy landed Maharaja class in British protectorate India, and then moved west as far as Europe by the end of the First World War.

Never considered sportsmanlike in the United States private preserve hunting, behind fences, seemed classist and foreign to open-range-minded Americans in the tradition of the Davie Crockets and Teddy Roosevelts of our time.

Not until the land became less available to the hunter did a sea change occur that has entirely altered the way hunters view their "sport." As more and more citizens began to object to people tramping around in the woods, usually on private lands, shooting - sometimes indiscriminately - did hunters began to look for land owners who would willingly accede to the use of their land and allow the hunt, usually for a fee.

The USDA has long since abrogated its jurisdiction over what it calls the ownership prerogative of citizens regarding private property and animals. Opting instead for the somewhat more lucrative role of licensor and fee collector, from the USDA website:
Animal Preserves--Game preserves, hunting preserves, and similar enterprises that keep animals in the wild state are exempt. However, if you maintain special exhibits for compensation or promotional activities, you must be licensed or registered as an exhibitor. If you sell animals to exhibits, research, or the pet trade, you must be licensed as a dealer.

Hunts--Hunting events are not regulated. Sponsors are not considered exhibitors if they keep animals only for sport--not for exhibition purposes. Hunting is not considered animal fighting, even if dogs, falcons, or other animals are used to help bring down game.

The Captive Mammal Protection Act (H.R.5242) in the House of Representatives and the Captive Exotic Animal Protection Act (S.2731) in the Senate would ban the interstate transport of animals for the purpose of shooting them in canned hunts. For more information regarding the status of these proposed bills visit The Fund for Animals and hunt down your local Representative in Congress.

The following site list of "Canned Hunt" preserves in Florida was found after a brief search of the internet.

Suwannee River Ranch
Bienville Plantation
Carter's Pasture
T & T Ranch (no web site)
Dixie Sportsman's Hunting Lodge
Cracker Swamp Hunting Preserve
Double H Exotics (no web site)
Ross Hammock Ranch
Brahma Island
FX Bar Ranch
Elk Hammock Ranch
Outwest Farms
Brady Ranch
J & R Outfitters
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The Adventures of Dr. Nancy Swift

The Animal Broadcast Network today begins carrying the "Adventures of Dr. Nancy Swift" as a regular addition to our publication. Dr. Swift, a renowned scientist and photographer, will report to children as her team studies the myriad of amazing animal species across the globe.

If you would like Dr. Nancy to answer your questions about a particular animal or if you want to contribute your own animal study photos, please write to Dr. Nancy, c/o ABN dolph1n@tampabay.rr.com.

The answers to today's questions will be posted in Dr. Swift's next report... if we hear from her!

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