Re: Re: Re: Goats gone

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Posted by Dr. Bill on December 28, 2005 at 09:27:42:

In Reply to: Re: Re: Goats gone posted by Cynde on December 27, 2005 at 08:04:40:

Understand why the goat removal process by hunting would make you sick. I haven't hunted myself for over 30 years now. However, live capture and removal of the goats was attempted several times. It was a very slow process and did not keep pace with the reproductive rate of the population. Over 100 goats were safely removed while I was V.P., but there were other issues.

The Catalina Conservancy has no legal mandate either in its Charter or by California law to work on the issue of marine reserves. However, the Catalina Conservancy Divers (CCD) does work on marine issues and I supported them strongly during my tenure as an administrator. I am a serious proponent of marine reserves and the MLPA process.

The endemic island fox population underwent its catastrophic drop (from about 2,000 to just over 100) while I was V.P. Prior to that the fox population was the healthiest I'd ever seen, quite possibly due to the continuing removal of goats which improved habitat quality and food supply.

The fox dropped due to a canine distemper epidemic on the island. Animal rights groups were quick to point the finger at the hunting dogs as the cause. However, they had all been innoculated TWICE for canine distemper. In addition, the hunting program was focused on the West End at the time and the outbreak apparently initiated on the East End. The West End had the healthiest fox population, which seems to be pretty good evidence the hunting dogs were not the culprit. The worst decline was on the East End near Avalon. We know there were dog puppies that had canine distemper in Avalon about the time the outbreak occurred.

Fortunately the Conservancy acted quickly and I was able to get strong support from the Board to fund an immediate island fox recovery program in 1999.

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