Animal Talk: This loophole needs to be closed
By Jae Marciano
Until recently, Corey Cogdell is not someone that you would know unless you are into the sports hunting scene.
Cogdell, a U.S. Olympian trapshooter, has become quite the center of controversy since she had her picture taken with an endangered Hartmann’s mountain zebra that she shot and killed in Africa.
The zebra’s body was nicely posed (so you don’t have to see the gore and violence behind it) as Cogdell sits proudly smiling with her kill. Well, the zebra isn’t exactly endangered, it’s vulnerable.
What’s the difference, really?
For some it makes a huge difference, for others it’s just the difference in a few more dying before they are on the endangered species list. So what? Loopholes, that’s what.
There is a loophole in the law where, if an endangered or vulnerable listed animal is taken out of the wild, then it is not considered a viable member of the species for propagating, and a special permit can be obtained to kill it for sport hunting. You can actually shoot these vulnerable species legally because of this loophole in the law.
Right now many animals in this spot are trapped and taken to safari parks to be hunted and killed for sport. The zebra that Cogdell shot was a mature mare that could have produced 8 to 12 babies in her lifetime, just what we need to prevent them from becoming endangered.
Vulnerable is just one click away from endangered. Without question, this loophole needs to be closed.
Now the story gets better.
Our local zebra whisperer, Nancy Nunke, who rescues and rehabilitates zebras, decided to contact Cogdell and give her an opportunity to redeem herself. She invited her to come and visit the Spots and Stripes Ranch in Ramona and meet the zebras to help her understand their plight and just maybe get behind the endangered species act loophole so that these animals cannot be trapped and taken to special interest safari parks to be shot and killed.
Nunke offered her a way out, a sort of forgiveness for her ignorance peace offering. She did not respond to Nunke. No big surprise. Apparently, killing an endangered species is higher on her priority list than saving them. Maybe that Hartmann’s mountain zebra she killed is hanging on her wall or being used as a floor rug as we speak.
The latest zebra rescue at the Spots and Stripes Ranch is a baby Grevy’s zebra, which is on the endangered species list and came in as an orphaned animal. She arrived very weak and skinny and dehydrated because the mother stopped caring for her.
Rehabilitating an abandoned wild animal is not easy and takes an enormous amount of time, patience, and energy. They have to feed and monitor her on the hour 24 hours a day. If she hadn’t been rescued she would have died of starvation.
“The little Grevy’s girl is going to grow up here and we are going to breed her and send her yearling babies back to Africa,” explained Nunke.
But, we want that law enacted first so that this effort and money is not wasted. Why try and save them if they are just going to be taken out and killed and end up back on someone’s living room wall. Or used for purses, floor rugs, and shoes.
Nunke’s animal rescue Hearts and Hands Animal Rescue is doing something about it.
They actually have pairs of Hartmann’s mountain zebra and Grevy’s zebras at her ranch ready to breed and ship back to Africa to help re-populate them. But why go through all of this when they can simply be trapped and removed and fall under an “OK to shoot and kill” loophole? It just doesn’t make sense.
Nunke has big plans for an educational center on the ranch when the funding comes through.
She plans to help educate the public and provide an opportunity for people to meet and see for themselves the beauty and majesty of the zebras and become educated on saving endangered animals. When she starts the two new breeding programs, you may just meet a zebra that will be released back into the African ranges.
But first we have a lot of work to do. We need to petition to close this loophole so that Numke’s and other’s efforts are not in vain.
As always, if you would like to help in any way, either through donation or volunteering you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The educational center is ready to break ground, but there are still many needs. You can find out more at www.hhar.org.
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