The longest blog part deux.

4. January 19 LATIMES

The Catalina Island Fox has made a remarkable recovery from near extinction in 1999 (only 100) to 1542 foxes today. They numbered about 1300 before their population was decimated by distemper probably brought to the island by a pet or some mainland wild animal that hitched a ride over to the island on a boat. The foxes are super-cute: six pounds, gray, pointed noses, reddish ears and feet, black tipped tails. They are omnivorous and have no natural predators on the island.

Their enemies now are pet dogs and feral cats, all of the latter reportedly now gone after the recovery team went after them. The naturalists/scientists that have been working with the foxes continue to trap them and monitor them for diseases, but they are exultant with the results of their dogged (oops!) determination.

5.

Animals in some British zoos are kept in conditions little better than those in former Soviet Bloc countries, it was claimed last night.[two months ago] Targeted zoos: Dudley Zoo in the West Midlands, Drayton Manor theme park in Staffordshire, Exmoor Falconry and AnimalPark.

A major undercover investigation of zoos, wildlife parks, bird of prey centers and aquaria, revealed numerous cases of agitated animals and repetitive behavior.

Other animals were in a state of apathy, while many enclosures were dirty and drinking water was stagnant or dirty.

A Bornean orangutan living in ‘horrendous’ conditions and an Asiatic bear huddled against the wall of a bear pit at Dudley Zoo.

A panther, an elusive and private creature, was pictured in a barren enclosure at the zoo at the Drayton. Although the panther did have access to some inside space, the charity is still concerned about the lack of stimulation for a breed that thrives on swimming, climbing and hunting.

And at a kookaburra was seen housed in a ‘dilapidated garden shed’ at Exmoor.

6. Things have been tough of late at the Guzoo, one of Canada’s largest private zoos.[this story is two months old also]

Located at the intersection of two unpaved roads about a 90-minute drive northeast of Calgary, Guzoo lacks the frippery of modern, publicly funded zoos. For almost a year, the owner Mr. Gustafson’s attraction has struggled to survive amid a legal limbo sparked by a heated social media campaign. His family has even received a threat in the mail saying “We know where your grandchildren live.”

Because of court-ordered restrictions placed on the facility, Gustafson has been forbidden from bringing in dead creatures to feed his coterie of 500 animals. As a result, he has had to slaughter his own livestock, about $20,000 worth of meat, to feed the beasts. Normally, he says, passersby would bring in road kill, or local dead horses and chickens to help fill out the animals’ diets.

Many of his animals here have names: Jacob the camel; Wallace the African Lion; and the Bengal tiger who paces, rubs her face against the chain-link fence and grunts — Gustafson says that’s like purring — when the owner comes near.

Gustafson says bureaucracy has become so strict that it’s nearly impossible to import flesh from local farms before it rots.

His troubles began in March of last year, when pictures of his zoo began to circulate on Facebook. Hundreds of complaints alleged his animals were poorly treated, goats had bloody horns and water dishes were left frozen in the snow. One of the biggest concerns was the threat of a zoonotic disease outbreak as the free-roaming pet dogs that wander among lions and lemurs could spread a dangerous pathogen.

The allegations began to circulate right around the time Mr. Gustafson had to apply for his annual permit renewal.

The provincial government gave him a two-month permit and said it was going to conduct inspections. Then, in June, the zoo was granted a decommission order along with another two-month permit.

“The public got behind me in June. We held fundraisers,” he said. In July, the family hired a lawyer, who then requested a judicial review of the shutdown order. That was scheduled for the fall, but was later postponed indefinitely.

In the meantime, a court order allows the zoo to operate as long as it meets certain conditions: among them that no living animals be transported on or off Mr. Gustafson’s property.

Wandering the zoo in his rubber boots, jeans and thin-rimmed glasses this week, Mr. Gustafson insists the real victims are the animals in his care.

“The animals really suffer when people don’t come. That’s what they live for, to see people,” he says.

Several conservation groups offered to help the owner find other homes for his animals, but even facing dwindling numbers of visitors, Mr. Gustafson refuses to let his creatures go.

Instead, he threatened to stuff or euthanize them.

“These conditions were meant for a decommissioning order, not for a lifetime,” he says. Whenever the government comes to inspect his attraction, “they always say the animals appear to be in good condition and healthy.”

In addition to visitors, the Guzoo maintained a side business selling tiger and lion cubs. Mr. Gustafson estimates he has sold between 30 and 40 of them over the years, but only to those with the proper permits.

The market for exotic creatures remains steady, he said.

“If you want to buy a tiger or another animal, within an hour I could find one,” he said.

The Guzoo also sold a black and white lemur last year.

I’m discontinuing my webpage for my eBook “Bad Moon Rising” http://www.snowmobilewerewolf.com isn’t getting enough hits and I’m trying other ways to get the book onto folks’ radar. If you know of any jr or sen high school boys it’s a book targeted for their age group. It’s also free to librarians: they can email me and I’ll show them the way to download it for free for their libraries and readers.

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