Mary Cummins Animal Advocates Los Angeles California Wildlife Rehabilitation Real Estate

Thursday, November 6, 2014

California Dept of Fish and Wildlife giving (selling?) healthy wildlife to zoos - Mary Cummins, Animal Advocates

Sea otter pup, Fish and Wildlife, California, wildlife rehabilitation, selling animals to zoos.
UPDATE: Even worse news! Monterey Bay Aquarium is only permitted sea otter rehabilitator in the United States. They stated in the last 30 years they've taken in 681 ill, injured and orphaned sea otters. Before 2001 they NEVER rehabbed and released pups stating they bonded too strongly with humans. They gave them to zoos. They only started using surrogates to raise pups in 2001. Since then they released 30 pups via surrogate. The rest went to zoos. They brag that 40 of the current sea otters in zoos across the US came from them as pups.

We rehab orphaned raccoons. If you don't know what you're doing and treat them like a human baby or puppy, yes, they will bond to you. That is why we only handle them while they are nursing. As soon as they can feed themselves we leave them alone. They only interact with other raccoons from then on out. We've never had a rehab failure. They all went on their way back to nature. I've posted videos of our raccoon releases where they don't even look back at us.

Monterey Bay Aquarium takes in $66 million a year. They also have over $300 million in assets. Julie Packard Director makes about $300K/yr. 12 other people have over $150K and even $200K/yr. They spend $1.2 million on animals. The aquarium turns a nice profit. They have $80 million in cash. $150M in stocks and bonds. If you look at the end of their 990, you can see their sea otter activity. They even work with SeaWorld. They give them pups.

ORIGINAL STORY: Many of you have seen this orphaned sea otter pup which was taken to the Monterey aquarium to be rehabbed and released. I was very happy about this and spread the news. They have rehabbed over 600 sea otters. I later found out that the California Department of Fish & Wildlife gave the pup to the Shedd aquarium in Illinois. I thought that was odd when Monterey aquarium rehabs sea otters. Why send him across the country to be rehabbed when he must be released back here? That'd be like me sending baby squirrels to be rehabbed in New York. Here is the story from Monterey Bay Aquarium. They did not habituate the baby to humans. The finders were rehabbers, not the public. There was nothing wrong with the pup. Fish & Wildlife "deterimined" the pup was unreleasable with no reason given. They ordered MBA to give it to Shedd.

I went to the Shedd Aquarium's page where they have featured this pup. They said they will raise him and teach him how to be a sea otter. I thought "good, they will release him." I read further and they said they will "provide him a home for life." They posted "read this sea otter's rescue story and why she needs your help." They are keeping this otter who legally and ethically should be released back to the wild after proper wildlife rehabilitation. They are asking for donations for the pup! If they don't have the money to raise him, why did they take him?

The Shedd aquarium may legally be a non-profit but it is definitely a for profit zoo. People pay to visit the aquarium and can pay extra to play with a beluga whale or penguin, very SeaWorld'y. They state they need donations to care for this tiny pup. They make $73,000,000 a year from their zoo/aquarium with $350,000,000 in assets, $177,000,000 in cash. They don't need money for this pup. He should have been rehabbed here for release back to the wild. He's being used to make money. They have $22,000,000 in salaries, CEO makes $3,500,000 per year! They turn a big profit every year over $20,000,000. Zoo masquerading as a non-profit sanctuary. Here is their 990 for 2012.

Nicole Carion of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife has repeatedly given (sold?) orphaned wildlife to zoos and aquariums. She gave a wild orphaned bobcat kitten to a college to use as their mascot. We rehabbers have been told we are never allowed to show wildlife in a pet like manner and here they are giving wildlife away as pets to be shown as pets! That goes completely against everything they stand for.

I once had a baby skunk that I thought had a major neurological disorder. I told the wildlife rehabilitation coordinator about the skunk. Nicole Carion responded saying she wanted to give that skunk to her local zoo where she said she once worked. That skunk had to be euthanized because it kept attacking itself. Even if it were healthy why give it to a zoo? They are supposed to buy wildlife from domestic breeders or get only unreleasable ones from rehabbers, not from the department.

Last year there were two orphaned mountain lion cubs. While rehabbers were thankful that they weren't killed we were upset to learn that they were given to yet another sanctuary/zoo called "Zoo to You." This place shows a man giving milk to an adult mountain lion out of a wine glass and people holding all types of wildlife like pets. They should have been rehabbed and released back to the wild. They say that mountain lion can't be rehabbed because they bond to humans...not if you do it properly. None of our bobcats ever bonded. They were wild as all hell.

Why is the California Department of Fish & Wildlife giving away, selling our native wildlife which is collectively owned by all the citizens of the state of California to zoos to incarcerate for life on display? This is the opposite of their purpose, i.e. "The primary responsibility of CDFW is to protect and conserve the natural resources within the State." It is not to take healthy orphaned wildlife and give/sell it to zoos to keep in a cage for life clear across the country.

It's bad enough that the Department will give a permit to SeaWorld to operate the largest non-native fish farm in the United States off our coast.  It's bad enough they gave SeaWorld permits to operate when they are harming the animals and not keeping them in proper enclosures. Why is the California Department of Fish & Wildlife not protecting our natural resources? They should not be giving healthy releasable wildlife to zoos.

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the USDA. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.

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