Resource Clearinghouse

Fooling Around with Endangered Species

On Wings, April 1999

Species v. Species

Our Little Laundry Facility, and other Fairy Tales
Dealing With the Seizure of Wildlife and Other Conundrums

In the Best Interests of the Animals
The United States of America takes its duty to its wildlife seriously, but not always consistently. The Endangered Species Act mandates that diverse species be preserved — at any cost — even to the detriment of landowners, and sometimes to the detriment of other less endangered species.

Too often, scientists are finding that mucking with one species can have unintended consequences for another. Years ago, farmers took action to rid themselves of the flying 'varmints' that attacked their chicken houses and newly born stock. Soon the symbol of the nation, the bald eagle, found its population dangerously threatened. So, too, the golden eagle and other raptors, who were also believed generally to have been the victim of the use of DDT, a substance said to weaken eggshells.

So, in its zeal to bring back the raptor population in this country, scientists and politicians banned the shooting of eagles and other birds of prey. They also banned the use of DDT in this country, though it is still in use in Mexico and other countries, particularly to control the mosquito that transmits malaria.

The birds bounced back. Big time.

But now all is not well at the Channel Islands National Park, and Santa Cruz Island, where, On Wings readers know, humans have been removed, but human intervention at the behest of the U.S. Park Service, at its worst, has not.

The Park Service has been soundly criticized for its armed raids on the hunting camp on the island, and its less than humane shooting of non-native wildlife on the island, specifically of the sheep and pigs there (where adults were shot, but not necessarily finished off - and the young were left to die of starvation), but also for numerous other blunders - such as one of its agents' unfortunate 'mistaken' shooting of a resident's horse, which he mistook for a pig. [!!!!????? Oh, come on now!]

Now the once healthy populations of island foxes are in danger. The culprit, say the scientists, is the even healthier population of golden eagles, which for some time have helped themselves to the excess baby piglets on the islands. now that the Park Service has removed the feral pigs, of course, the ever-opportunistic eagles have turned to the young island foxes.

The island foxes are seen by many as the symbol of the wild and free Channel Islands. Although they are descended from mainland foxes, over the years they have adapted to island life. They now are no larger than cats, are almost tame and seem to show no fear of humans.

In the last four years, the number of foxes on Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands have dropped ninety per cent. Only six are left on San Miguel; and only a few dozen can still be found on Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz.

Biologists have blamed the demise of the current populations on DDT, and the loss of the feral pig populations. Their hypothesis: DDT and pesticide poisoning caused thinning eggshells in the bald eagle population, causing failed reproduction and consequent decrease in their population. The golden eagles then moved in to replace the bald eagle populations, who then, with the removal of the feral pig population, turned to the little foxes for their daily fare.

(Scientists, however, have offered no explanation as to why the DDT affected only the bald eagles, and left the golden eagles to flourish. None of us here are holding our breath for answers to that question. EDS.)

Further threatening the foxes is the discovery a variety of heartworm on the island, though it appears not to be a species found in North American dogs. But at any rate, now that things are in a real mess, the scientists are making a last ditch effort to save the endangered foxes.

The Park Service, which has of course has expended its annual funds on essentials like helicopter raids and ammunition to kill feral sheep and pigs, now finds itself in the embarrassing position of asking for funds for a last-ditch `save the fox' campaign.

Scientists are now calling for the removal of some twenty wild foxes from San Miguel Island for a captive breeding program, assuring them a 'safe harbor' from parasites, predators, and malnutrition. They will not be returned until environmental conditions have improved. In addition, golden eagles have been targeted for management. The same scientists and biologists who recommended removal of the feral pigs and sheep are now recommending trapping and removing golden eagles from the islands.

They are planning to replace them with bald eagles, which eat more fish than mammals. The scientists expect the bald eagles to chase away the remaining golden eagles, though no means of persuading the golden eagles to remain on the mainland have been proposed. Biologists admit, however, that chances of recovering the foxes are slim. "We might lose them. The Park Service waited too long," said zoologist Katherine Rails, a researcher for the Smithsonian Institution.

But, gee, isn't the island fox an alien intruder from the mainland, anyway?

It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature...

Letting people vote on conservation measures sometimes seems to have about as good an idea as letting scientists work out the details of saving one creature or another. Both seem, all too often, to just mess things up.

Take the case of the Washington state voters who voted for Initiative 655, which banned the use of bait when hunting bears, and banned the use of hounds in hunting bears, cougars, bobcats and lynx. The animal rights-backed measure, which passed with sixty- three per cent of the vote, is now up for grabs in the State House.

It seems that even after dropping the price of a cougar license from twenty-four dollars to only five dollars and quadrupling the length of the hunting season, hunters last year took only one quarter of the animals taken in 1995.

And the cougars took full advantage of the situation. Complaints of cougar-human encounters soared. One five-year old girl was mauled. Horses and cattle have been mauled by the creatures. A portion of the public feels it is in danger from the increased numbers of the big cats. Other factions, namely the primarily citified, well-financed and well-organized animal rights advocates, are content with the status quo.

It is the rural residents, of course, who are likely faced with the dangers, and they are out manned, out monied, and out-organized. Despite the prospect of an amendment that would delete the cougar from the list of animals that cannot be hunted with hounds, the prospect of a referendum on the issue would likely maintain things as they are now.

Then it is only a matter of time until the animal rights crowd will have to once again explain how nature taking its course is OK even if it is a human that becomes the prey animal.

BUT, of course, there might be exceptions to that rule.

In California, where voters similarly approved a measure banning the hunting of big cats, the Sierra bighorn sheep has been declared an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In California, Fish and Game officers had traditionally shot cougars that had preyed on herds of bighorns, but that came to an end with the 1990 vote. Now federal law will override state law, and problem mountain lions will again be culled.

Animal rights groups are incensed, and have called for relocation programs as an alternative to lethal measures.

And Then Politics Enters the Fray...
In Washington, DC, commuters have seen the construction on the new twelve-lane Wilson Bridge grind to a halt, when government scientists expressed fears that construction to replace the inadequate current six lane structure might disturb `subaquatic vegetation and benthic invertebrates.' i.e. waterbugs and plants. Highway officials, at the behest of Judge Stanley Sporkin, are limiting construction to October 15 through February 15 to ensure the comfort of said creatures.

Human creatures, however, currently daily embroiled in what is esoterically known as 'gridlock,' were not amused. Four senators, seven congressmen and a slew of local pols soon massed at the federal courts to protest the decision.

But true to form, the judge, while paying lip service to the fact that highway administrators had failed to quantify air emissions or other impacts that might have an adverse affect on the environment, drifted off to other issues rather than consider the human impacts.

Judge Sporkin, noticing that the highwaymen had not taken into consideration a smaller, ten lane bridge proposed by another faction, ordered the whole mess back to the drawing board. Residents of the Western states, long familiar with the effects of the ESA and creatures such as the spotted owl on timber harvest and other land use issues, are watching the scenario with a sort of restrained glee.

Meanwhile, Maryland Representative Albert Wynn and others are looking for an exemption so work on the bridge can continue. Even the judge says that the "proposal might require direct intervention by Congress, which after balancing all the public interest aspects could 'bypass' the regulatory gridlock that has developed."

That, of course, would set an interesting precedent.

Protecting Alien Species...
The Service's latest push, or scare, of you will, is the attempt to demonize so-called alien species, pursuant to President Clinton's Executive Order 13112, which he signed on February 2 of this year. This Executive Order is ostensibly designed to protect 'ecosystems' from invasion by species that might prove harmful to the environment, the economy, or to human health or safety.

Because 'native species' means a 'species that, other than as a result of an introduction, historically occurred or currently occurs in a given ecosystem,' many of our domestic pets, livestock and food plants would not qualify thereunder as native species, and would be subject to sanction under the Order.

But some 'alien species' are just that. One that has been in the news of late, for instance, is the Jackson's chameleon Chameleon jacksonii. This chameleon, the males of which resemble the triceratops in that they sport three horns on their noses, is definitely not American.

This species is one of the more common chameleons in the United States. Many of the species now here are descendants of an original population of thirty-six imported into Hawaii to be sold by pet shops as pets. The store owner released the animals into his back yard for a little R&R (to recover from dehydration suffered during their importation) after their long journey from East Africa, and the animals escaped. Soon the tree-dwelling insect and vegetation eaters were breeding successfully, and there is now a sizeable, though inbred, population of Jackson's chameleons in Hawaii.

Adults reach a size of ten to thirteen inches, and enjoy a daytime temperature of between 75 and 82 degrees. They prefer slightly cooler temperatures at night, ranging from 62 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Jackson's chameleons are arboreal; they have opposable toes for grasping, and their tail is prehensile. They have a long, sticky, flexible tongue that extends to one and one half times the body length, which they use to zap their prey.

Jackson's chameleons are solitary in the wild, and in captivity are best kept singly once they have reached adulthood. However, they do make excellent pets if not handled to excess, and they breed well in captivity. Many of the descendants of the original Hawaiian population have been exported to the mainland. There are rumored to be several wild populations on the mainland, around Redondo Beach, Morro Bay and San Diego, California.

But now, with Clinton's invasive species mandate,

Jackson's chameleons have found themselves on the wrong side of the welcome wagon. They, along with day geckos and green iguanas, who have also existed peaceably on the Hawaiian islands for some years now, are now the target of the islands' Department of Land and Natural Resources. (Also non¬native to Hawaii are pineapples, mangoes, and macadamia nuts — products that would adversely affect the economy should their export be halted.)

But the pet trade, or any trade in live animals is a different thing altogether. The Department has, as of March 1998, stopped issuing permits to export these animals to the mainland, and now considers the Jackson's chameleon, along with red-eared sliders, anoles and the aforementioned iguanas and geckos, as 'a potentially harmful pest species' in Hawaii.

No more Jackson's chameleons can be exported to the mainland and thus, the main source of this interesting pet has been cut off. There have even been rumors of attempts at 'population control' on the islands, but they cannot be confirmed at this time.

So-called 'environmental biologists' justify this by stating that if export is allowed, people will be motivated to release even more of the creatures into the wild, so they will procreate for sale to the pet trade. Such is the mindset of these theorists.

But most people scoff at such theory, as the demand for these animals has never been great, and a sufficient supply already exists on the islands, where those interested in the species are allowed to collect to their hearts' content.

If you catch them, they will come...

But one man's invasive species is another man's treasure. Word has come down that the species is, horror of horrors, being smuggled. And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has actually interdicted a shipment of same, though the details of the 'bust' are being tightly held. According to sources, the animals were smuggled in, inside burlap bags, and the majority did not survive their journey. But the agents who confiscated the shipment sometime in April declined to give details of the seizure, or the animals' place of origin.

That in itself presents some questions, particularly for On Wings readers, who are cognizant of the way FWS generally handles news of its busts. In general, when the Service makes an arrest or a seizure, it is announced to the press in such a manner as to indicate that the Service has interdicted a major participant in a huge international smuggling ring - regardless of the fact that the violation is a minor paperwork error in an otherwise legal transaction, or the bust consists of one or two relatively unendangered species, and the importer is a naïve kid who has been virtually entrapped by FWS agents.

We are all familiar with the Service attempting to link the wildlife trade with the drug trade. An On Wings FOIA proved that the Service has never interdicted drugs in conjunction with a wildlife bust.

We further know that the Service allegations of a thriving illicit trade in parrots— one hundred to one hundred-fifty thousand parrots annually smuggled across the Mexican border, they said — was knowingly and intentionally false. Our FOIA request showed that FWS annually was interdicting only an average of one-hundred fifty birds at that border.

When FWS does not trumpet its 'victories,' there is something amiss. Are we in for another of the Service's ill-advised stings? Read between the lines. Reptile people should be vigilant.

But something else is amiss. The subject of the stories of this 'bust' was not the Service's normal PR snow job. Rather, it was a story on an organization that receives seized animals from the Service, the S.T.A.R. Foundation, a Culver City, California 'wildlife sanctuary.'  [Now called Star Eco Station; STAR Sports Theater Arts & Recreation, Inc.  EIN 95-4430228]

"The Fish and Wildlife Service relies on organizations like STAR to take its exotic hand-me-downs, because the agency does not have space for all animals and animal products seized each year from smugglers or from traders who bring in more than their permits allow," writes John Mitchell of the L.A. Times, in his piece on the rescue efforts.

But indeed, there are procedures at hand for dealing with confiscated animals. Birds, for instance, are routinely sold at USDA auction after a required period of quarantine. And in this respect, the Star Foundation had come to our attention in the past.

Over a year ago, we obtained their literature. "S.T.A.R. Exploration Children's Museum is a one of a kind interactive experience which teaches the importance of preserving the environment and protecting our wildlife. Working in collaboration with the Department of Fish and Wildlife as well as the (California) Department of Fish and Game, the Exploration Station has been designated an official Wildlife Sanctuary...

...Our Museum staff has been selected by the U.S. Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife to deliver their educational assemblies to schools. This is a great honor for our organization. As a result of this collaborative effort we have been entrusted a rare collection of Rainforest artifacts that is on exhibit exclusively at our museum."

One of our California operatives furnished photographs of the Star Foundation. The picture is of a small store front in a strip mall. Not what most of us would think of as a wildlife sanctuary. Even the term "wildlife sanctuary" calls up images of earth, trees, water and lots of fresh air - not a drab, stuffy enclosed space.

At this time, we are looking into a reptile seizure. So I called S.T.A.R. to do the appropriate research. A young employee of the Foundation informed me that S.T.A.R. was a non-profit organization. There were, she said, approximately fifteen hundred Jackson's chameleons seized, of which their facility received two hundred. She had no knowledge of the details of the seizure. The animals they got at S.T.A.R. were all 'sick,' she said, and many died, but others pulled through and were already breeding.

I asked about the birds that are resident at the S.T.A.R. Museum location. The young woman was not knowledgeable about birds, but was able to tell me that the facility had several cockatoos and a couple of green birds. In addition, they had four finches. Interestingly, she told me the same story that our investigator had heard earlier when she toured the facility. The Cordon bleu finches had been 'smuggled' in from the Netherlands— allegedly wrapped in tissue paper and stuffed in pvc pipes. Of some fifty birds, only four survived, as the story goes.

Our investigator was told that the birds' beaks were taped shut for their journey. In addition. we were told how 'sick' the birds were, as if to excuse the huge mortality rate, but presumably, this mortality would have occurred after the birds had left the required USDA quarantine.

I was given a name and number of the son of the owner of the facility to call for more detailed information, and I did make that call. I spoke with Erick Bozzi, a young man full of enthusiasm and zeal for his stated mission at the Foundation: that is, education of the public in a collaborative effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. His goal was to supplement law enforcement education, with the hands-on teaching of his family's non-profit, privately funded organization.

But how that is accomplished is the subject of some concern to us here at OW. It seems the young Mr. Bozzi was present, with the USFWS agents, when the Jackson's chameleons were seized. His role there is unclear, and at first look smacks of some conflict of interest.

Are the two hundred Jackson's chameleons he received, some of which his organization will be 'adopting out,' to be viewed as a payoff or some kind of ticket to increased donations? Or is the Foundation taking these animals as a favor to an overextended government agency eager to do the right thing?

The young man's apparent mindset so troubled me that I was moved to I ask him what pets he kept himself. He said he kept none. "I don't believe that animals should be kept as pets," he told me flatly.

He continued to tell me that if it were up to him, CITES would not allow the export of any native wildlife from any country whatsoever. Leave them where they are, he continued. Man has messed up this world enough, and has destroyed enough biodiversity.

This is the mindset of the agency the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is supporting: NO PETS, whatsoever. No zoos, no wildlife parks. Obviously, no bird breeding for the pet trade. Only captive breeding for conservation purposes, and ONLY conservation purposes.

"Education through Preservation" is the motto of the S.T.A.R. Foundation. They are preserving the wildlife from us.

But still, life is never that simple. I told you we were looking at the S.T.A.R. Foundation over a year ago.

The USFWS Supports Cooperative Breeding Programs, Or Does It?

On August 23, 1997, a shipment of sixty-two Yellow- bibbed lories Lorius chlorocercus arrived from the Solomon Islands at the Port of Los Angeles, accompanied by a CI1ES certificate for sixty-two birds. The United States Wild Bird Conservation Act permit allowed for the import of only sixty Yellow-bibbed lories.

Frequently, overseas exporters include several extra birds in a shipment, to compensate for birds dead on arrival, as happened in this case. The Service confiscates these birds — the live ones, that is, not the DOA's. The Los Angeles FWS agent informed the broker meeting the shipment that the USFWS intended to seize the excess two birds after quarantine. The owner of the birds later indicated that he would abandon the birds to the USFWS, as is common procedure in these circumstances.

But with that abandonment form, he included a letter on The International Loriinae Society letterhead, expressing his concerns on the matter:

"November 21, 1997

Walter W. Osburn
Supervisory Wildlife Inspector USDI/USF&WS
Division of Law Enforcement 370 Amapola Ave. – Suite 114 Torrence, CA 90501

Dear Mr. Osborn:

I have enclosed the document which you sent me with your letter dated November the 14th. I have signed and dated it.

Although the two Yellow-bibbed lories were not supposed to have been shipped the exporter felt that the two extra lories would be insured in case there were any deaths. Unfortunately the lories were shipped while I was doing a bird survey or the two extra lories would not have been in the shipment.

Hence, I am very interested in the dispensation of the two lories. If the lories are going to be auctioned off I would very much like to know hat. In addition if the lories are placed with a zoo I would also like to know that. My reasons are very simple. It has taken several years to put this program together. This is an approved Cooperative Breeding program approved by the USFWS. It is the first program where funds from half the young reared will be returned to the Solomon Islands, specifically to the Solomon Islands Parrot Consortium, for use by Solomon Islands college students for avian research in their country and for use in setting up national parks and reserves. So as you can see we have a big program ahead of us.

The above is just a short note for your information. I would very much appreciate being informed of the final disposition of the two Yellow-bibbed lories and will look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,
Jan Roger van Oosten Director of Conservation

And were Mr. van Oosten's wishes honored? Did the Service honor the wishes of the Cooperative, and did the Service do its best to aid conservation programs in countries of origin, as mandated by the Wild Bird Conservation Act?

Long before Mr. van Oosten put pen to paper, the Service had seized the birds from USDA quarantine. By the tenth of October, the birds had been handed over to the S.T.A.R. Foundation, signed for by the aforementioned young Mr. Bozzi. The formal donation process (paperwork) was completed on 1/23/98.

There was no auctioning of the birds. They were not considered for a zoo, and any subsequent breeding situation which might benefit their country of origin. They were donated to a facility that had no knowledge of their husbandry, and no concept of their value in conservation. They were kept in the tiny museum facility we have shown you, and left to become fodder for the entertainment of noisy school children.

As previously mentioned, one of our investigators went to the facility in the spring. There the and inarguably belong in a breeding situation. She was told these birds had been smuggled, which of course, they were not. She was also told the rather far-fetched story of the smuggled finches from the Netherlands - likely similarly forfeited as a count overage.

Unfortunately, when I asked about the lories' condition as of this date, I was told there was only one lory remaining. Indeed, Bozzi informed me that the bird was a Sulfur bibbed lory, which I might have misheard, but nonetheless cannot identify.

I informed the gentleman of the species and origin of the bird, now apparently known as Kiwi, and the circumstance of its acquisition confirmed that this was indeed one of the birds in question. He apparently had been laboring under the belief that the birds had been imported under less than hones circumstances, and I was careful to make clear that this was not the case.

So here we are, back to square one. The S.T.A.R. Foundation given wildlife, specifically birds, that would be of greater benefit elsewhere. And two hundred relatively inexpensive chameleons that have the potential to be 'invasive species' under Clinton's Executive Order, have gone to an institution that not only does not specialize in reptiles, but opening advocates against keeping them as pets. Now they are handing them out for adoption to a school.

This same organization, that advocates captive breeding only for conservation reasons, has taken a pair of birds that rightly and arguably belong in a breeding situation.

Those birds would surely have been placed in one had the agents of the USFWS had the best interests of the birds in mind, Not only has this not happened, but S.T.A.R. has already has lost one of the pair, something that might not have happened had competent aviculturists been handling the birds.

Indeed, the very setup of the facility — the proximity of a large number of reptiles alongside these birds, — likely facilitates the transmission of non-species-specific bacterial pathogens common among reptiles that might adversely affect not only the resident birds, but the schoolchildren that frequently tour the facility.

Clearly this is not a place for rare birds.

Something is very wrong with the mindset of the Service that they care so little for the captive propagation of endangered species that they proceed with so inappropriate a placement. They, in their disregard for the welfare of the animals they are charged with protecting, stand in brazen violation of the very spirit of the Wild Bird Conservation Act.

They stand in brazen violation of the laws of simple decency as well, and until a workable formula for the proper placement of seized animals is developed, animals will be the losers for it.

Congress charged the Service with ensuring that the Wild Bird Conservation Act did not deter captive breeding. Yet I can think of no more apt description of the Service's decision to turn this rare pair of birds over to an institution so ill-equipped to handle them, than as the blatant and reckless deterrence of captive breeding.

The Service knowingly and deliberately put rare and valuable birds in a clearly unsatisfactory situation. There can be no reasonable explanation for this other than that the Service does not respect aviculture's captive breeding efforts. But that isn't news, is it? We have hearings coming up. Let us use them wisely. Regards, Judy

Reads the party line propaganda: Invading non-indigenous species (NIS) cause major environmental damage and public health problems in the U.S., costing taxpayers more than $122 billion yearly. More than 30,000 species are foreign to our country and the num¬ber is increasing as the human population grows and trade and travel increases.Nearly 42% of the species on the ESA threatened and endangered species list are at risk because of these NIS. So reads the beginning paragraph of a report written by several authors with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.

The alien species scare is the latest gimmick in the green bag of tricks. This new "catastrophe," endorsed by President Clinton's own Executive Order 13112, is sure to cause the politically gullible to once again blindly leap aboard the green bandwagon.

Whether they are called exotic, alien, introduced, non-indigenous, non-native or invasive species — they are all synonyms for species that humans have intentionally or unintentionally introduced into an area outside of a species' natural range. Following the example of our own chief executive, we must ask that he define what a "natural range" is. What exactly does "not native to that ecosystem" mean or rather, how will the courts interpret those words? Therein lies the real threat and danger to our land.

I can't help but think of the convoluted way in which, under the ESA, a small population of a specie is considered a separate sub-specie merely because it has made its home in a specially separate and human-defined habitat. Never mind that the specie is thriving and has stable, healthy populations elsewhere.

EO 13122 defines "alien species" as any species including its seeds, eggs, spores or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that is not native to that ecosystem." "Ecosystem" is defined as "the complex of a community of organisms and its environment." This very vague language leaves the door wide open for all manner of absurd legal rulings and maneuverings.

What exactly is an invasive species? Federal legislators and overzealous FWS law enforcement agents immediately come to mind. But that is just me. Come to think of it, technically aren't all of us in the United States — with the exception of the Native Americans — invasive species?

Wasn't it the white settlers who brought scores of non-indigenous species with them to the New World such as domesticated animals, seeds for non-native crops and even the diseases prevalent to Europeans during that time? In fact, this exchange of "alien species" between countries and cultures has been going on since the dawn of civilization.

Executive Order 113112 is dangerous because it is so overly broad in scope that it is subject to any interpretation the environmental lobby chooses to give it. Traditionally, eradication of noxious plants and dangerous insects and animals has been taken care of under numerous state and federal and local laws that have been proven effective for safeguarding our native plants and wildlife.

Let me emphasize that statement. There are numerous laws already on the books to take care of any problems caused by alien, invasive species.

As with many of Clinton's previous executive orders, I predict that EO 13112 will be used to usurp more power for the federal government. This time more federal controls will be imposed over all public and private land use. What will be the roles of the "stakeholders," defined as state, tribal and local government agencies, academic institutions, the scientific community, non-governmental entities including environmental, agricultural and conservation organizations, trade groups, commercial interests and private landowners!

What will happen when an invasive specie, such as a nonnative weed, is found on someone's private property? Who do you suppose will be held responsible for the expensive, federally implemented eradication procedure? What happens if the landowner cannot meet the imposed requirements? Will he be fined or imprisoned? Will his land be forfeited to the government and then be allocated to applicable buffer zones and t regions? If the history of past federal laws pertaining to the environment are reliable indicators, these scenarios are very likely.  [There are cities where the common hedge, or privet, has been deemed invasive and illegal to grow!]

Some even speculate that EO 13112 could eventually outlaw ownership of domestic pets, exotic or otherwise. After all this Order does not define "domestic species" whatsoever. Dogs, cats and livestock could be considered alien since technically, they are not native to this hemisphere.

The Invasive Species Council, established by Clinton's executive order, is comprised of the secretaries of the State, Treasury, Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Transportation and the administrator of the EPA.

This is serious business, folks. The council will prepare an Invasive Species Management Plan in the next 18 months which will "detail and recommend performance-oriented goals and objectives in specific measures of success for Federal agency efforts concerning invasive species."

If that last sentence sounded intimidating, wait until you read this one: "If the recommended measures are not authorized by current law, the Council shall recommend to the President any legislative proposals for the necessary changes in authority."

Our federal government, ever eager to expand its authority and control, is actually encouraging the council to make even more laws! We should all be greatly concerned how future "invasive species laws" will affect the Interstate Commerce Clause, especially for our domestic animals and pets.

This executive order doesn't just seek to regulate federal land either. It encompasses state, federal, Indian and private lands. The Invasive Species order will seek to extend its management plans across huge areas of land, no matter who it belongs to.

Of the 28 people of the Council, all are federal employees with the exception of one individual from the private sector, who happens to also be a private land owner. Who do you think will be most affected by the Invasive Species Order? Who is under-represented in the committee? Whose rights and freedoms will be sacrificed?

Time will prove my predictions right or wrong, but don't be surprised if you one day read about such things happening in our country.

This Trojan Horse looks good on the outside as it rolls along the road paved with good intentions. However, you have been warned, so don't be shocked when these invaders crawl out of the woodwork to once again bind and gag the unsuspecting American public with even more red tape.

FWS in the Classroom: Operation: Green Outreach
Imagine my surprise when I ran across a post from a woman who taught at a U.S. university. She wrote that the FWS took over instructor's classes in science methods for several weeks in order to "make the subject easier for future science teachers." FWS employees actually provided the instruction and the class room materials.

What have we here? Government agencies administering what will and will not be taught? It appears that is exactly what is happening and I find it quite disturbing.

Here is what I found on the FWS Division of Education netsite:

"The Division of Education provides technical assistance in environmental and conservation education for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal, state and tribal governments as well as not-for-profit institutions and private enterprise."

"Conservation Education Packs are available for teachers and are developed and produced in cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and field tested by teachers. These packs are designed to provide teachers (4th - 7th grade level) and other educators with factual information about wildlife, habitat and resource management. CD-ROMs will soon be available from the Division of Training & Education Materials Production."

One FWS Education and Outreach netsite listed numerous courses. Here are a few of the titles: Advanced Media Relations; Basics of Working with the News Media; Congress and the Field Office; Public Outreach, Dealing with Controversial Issues; Developing Festivals and Special Events; Environmental Education Methods and Training the Trainer to Use the Environmental Education Materials Guideline.

Let us only hope against hope that their educational materials are not as misleading and full of misrepresentations as the FWS LE press releases have been! This bad boy has cried "Wolf!" so many times that it is difficult to believe anything the Service would print.

For instance, let's examine Course #OUT8161:
"Developing Teacher Training. This course presents the essential components of working with schools, specifically on conducting teacher training and implementing education programs through school systems. The course culminates with participants applying their skill at an actual teacher workshop. Upon return to their duty station, participants are also expected to plan and conduct a workshop for teachers within one year."

I wonder if it is mandatory for FWS employees to take a number of these courses? If not, I bet they are "encouraged" to do so. This is social engineering by our by our government at its most efficient.

First they brainwash their drones, and then they send them out into the community to infiltrate our schools and colleges in order indoctrinate teachers into their party line. The trickle down affect eventually reaches the main target — our future generations.

The main objective of the previously described 32-hour course, is to "assist teachers in integrating environmental education into their curriculum." Interesting, but vague. What they are doing is providing teachers with the Service's own peculiar and biased brand of environmental poppycock. Remember, the FWS is in charge of propagating and enforcing rules and regulations under numerous Acts and U.S. Statutes. Their "educational" materials cannot help but reflect information that would further their agenda and insure their agency's continued budget allocations.

What about Course #OUT8165: Earth Stewards - An orientation?
"This course provides an orientation to the Earth Stewards program, a con¬servation education partnership program jointly developed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Conservation Training Center. Central to the program is the partnership between a FWS or USGS site and a neighborhood school. One of the objectives is to outline a plan for promoting the program with local media."

Here is another course which is offered. Course #OUT8162: Education Programs for youth: After-School, Weekends and Summers. "You will design comprehensive ecosystem/wildlife study programs for youth in non-formal settings such as wildlife refuges, outdoor camps and after school/week-end/summer programs. Learn about available teaching materials, refining teaching techniques and designing complete study units and developing programs. This course is offered in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation's NatureQuest program, which provides camps and youth programs with specialized environmental awareness program certification and accreditation."

The National Wildlife Federation? Well, why not? They certainly have the money to contribute to the FWS Education and Outreach Programs and they have partnered with FWS on numerous school projects. They have also sued the FWS and other DOI agencies on numerous occasions in order to list a new "endangered" specie or to accomplish other matters in accordance with their agenda. They too, have numerous "educational outreach" programs such as the Backyard Wildlife Habitat, the Schoolyard Habitat, Teen Wildlife Camp and the Green Home is a Healthy Home campaigns.

Like the Audubon Society, the NWF has headquarters in every state and regional field offices to further strengthen their organization. They receive thousands of tax free contributions yearly. Two of their separate branches are highly effective to promoting their green philosophy — NWF Productions and the Communication Department. Both are involved with TV and mass media productions as well as interfacing with all levels of the media.

The green groups are powerful, well-funded and wield great influence on governmental agencies. In fact, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell them apart from the governmental agencies they all but influence and control. The FWS has integrated many of the green movement's tactics into their own day-to-day operating procedures. Now the Service is following the environmental movement's lead by implementing their own educational outreach programs.

Though most of the Service curricula for educator "training" sounds harmless enough, is it just a camel in disguise trying to find a way under the tent? Once these types of programs are permanently entrenched in our class rooms, it is very likely the educational content will become even more extreme and self-serving to the FWS.

Green for the Greens from the Greens

Not to be left out, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation also awards challenge grants for conservation programs using federal appropriated funds. During 1986 to 1998, NFWF has awarded 2,550 grants using over $100 million in federal funds that were matched with nonfederal dollars of over $300 million. This nonprofit organization, by law, cannot use federal appropriations for any of its operating expenses.

One of their primary projects is "The Conservation Education Initiative." This program provides educators access to conservation materials, funds community-based conservation programs and encourages youth to pursue conservation careers. It also brings first-time conservation education to multi-cultural communities.

You might find the NFWF Wildlife Links program extremely intriguing. The NFWF has formed a partnership with the U.S. Golf Association, which in turn, contributes about $200,000 annually to the program. Since the program began in 1996, eight projects, committing nearly $500,000 have been funded to enhance wildlife conservation on golf courses.

Though the program has little to do with the government sponsored education issue, I though you might find it interesting. You cannot say that our bureaucrats lack creativity and imagination when it comes to find¬ing ways to spend our tax dollars.

The FWS Has Many Allies
One of the allies they cultivate are zoos. At one American Zoo and Aquarium Association's (AZA) annual conference, USFWS Director Jamie Rappaport Clark, AZA President David Towne and AZA Executive Director Sydney J. Butler signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would help provide wildlife protection in a new ways. Towne was quoted as saying, "The AZA has long worked with dedicated professionals at the Service toward species recovery. This MOU will strengthen the ties of science-based programs and the potential for development of public education and outreach programs is enormous when approached cooperatively."

Jamie Clark added, "It is appropriate that this MOU is being signed at the beginning of the school year because the partnership among zoos, aquariums and the Service is of particular benefit to educators and students. As children head back to school, they can look forward to increasing educational opportunities on critical issues facing our Nation's fish and wildlife."

Indeed. Or is it that our nation's Fish and Wildlife Service can look forward to increasing their own opportunities to establish educational curricula within our schools?