by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate
Born Free USA's Canadian Representative
Barry is an artist, both with words and with paint. He has been associated with our organization for nearly three decades and is our go-to guy for any wildlife question. He knows his animals — especially birds — and the issues that affect them. His blogs will give you just the tip of his wildlife-knowledge iceberg, so be sure to stay and delve deeper into his Canadian Project articles. If you like wildlife and reading, Barry's your man. (And we're happy to have him as part of our team, too!)
First take on the Ikea Monkey Trial
I am guessing that Yasmin Nakhuda has never heard of "acquisitive mimetic desire", even though she displayed it to an absurd degree, thus contributing to an odious form of animal abuse: the exotic pet trade. It's the desire to have something because someone else has it, and is often used by advertising agencies and marketers to push products that people don't really need.
A Tale of Just Two Innocent Creatures
My last two blogs dealt with the days spent in a boat anchored just offshore of Middle Island, in the southern end of Lake Erie, the very southernmost land still in Canada, mere yards from where the country ends and the United States begins. I was there with my colleague, Liz White, to monitor and record Parks Canada's deadly assault on nesting double-crested cormorants. Staff armed with small calibre rifles and accompanied by spotters would walk up and down the island's length, usually hidden from our view by thick vegetation, shooting the nesting cormorants, and in the process causing havoc among the great blue herons, black-crowned night-herons, Canada geese and herring and ring-billed gulls also trying to make nests, lay eggs and raise babies on the otherwise uninhabited island. Great egrets were there, too, but the shooting has driven them completely away, even though they are noted for "nest site tenacity", the quality of staying with their nest even under duress.
Parks Canada Shows How Not to Conserve the Natural Environment
This is not the place to go into details, but in April and May I found myself on four occasions living in the 21st century, benefitting from GPS navigation, cellphones and my new digital camera, while viewing the bloody results of early 19th century thinking.
Or How I Spent the Past Few Days
OK. I’ll fill in the details in a later blog, but I here I want to talk about just getting back from Middle Island, a tiny 46-acre island in Lake Erie. I was anchored offshore, meters from the U.S. border, the most southern place one could be and still be in Canada. I was there with colleague Liz White to monitor gunmen as they shot hundreds of double-crested cormorants off their nests.
And Even The Critics Are Unaware
To understand the reason even the critics are ignoring why proposed use of jet planes at Billy Bishop Airport by Porter (or any other) Airlines is a bad idea, one has to first know the geography. The tiny airport is located at the west end of a crescent-shaped island and adjoining islets that roughly run east and west, parallel the shoreline of downtown Toronto, North America’s third-largest city by population, located on the shore of Lake Ontario. Toronto Island consists of about 230 hectares (about 570 acres). The island curves north at its western end and embraces the Inner Harbor, which is kept from being land-locked by a narrow channel, or gap, at each end.
Coyote Killing Appeals to Irrationality, Always
The “Living With Coyotes Information Night” in the stylish area of Toronto called “The Beach,” held last March 19, started with a group of speakers with various levels of expertise about coyotes presenting information about these wild canines who live among us, not always amicably. Two small dogs have been killed by coyotes, and there has been a reported spike in missing cats. With cats you can’t rule out some being caught by great horned owls, common but largely unseen in Toronto. Cars and dogs take their toll, coyotes getting the blame.
This Will Not Conserve Elephants
(Find out here what special steps Born Free USA is taking this month to help animals such as elephants.)
There is a wave of apprehension at least, if not outright fear, permeating the internal communications of the zoo industry. They have created an enemy, and the enemy is us, the animal protection movement, which they have elevated to near-mythical proportions, a commanding force poised to destroy them.
New Kids’ Book Is About Animal Sanctuaries
OK, first the requisite disclaimer. The author of “Saving Lives & Changing Hearts: Animal Sanctuaries and Rescue Centres,” Rob Laidlaw, is a close friend and colleague, and the back cover has a blurb by another close friend and colleague, Adam Roberts. The book mentions Born Free USA’s own primate sanctuary, in Texas. That said, the fact is that this is a book I’d praise even if I had no connection to it in any way, because it is something I have longed wished to see, well done. I just wish there were a version for adults.