Wildlife Society to investigate biologists' actions in fur flap
The GreenWire Service
E&E Publishing
April 23, 2002

The Wildlife Society, a non-profit association of wildlife biologists, will investigate the actions of three federal and Washington state employees who two years ago inserted sample hairs of the threatened Canada lynx into habitat surveys.

Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.), chairman of the House Forest Health subcommittee, requested the investigation in an April 16 letter to the Society. McInnis yesterday praised the investigation. "The grossly unethical actions by certain members of their organization have substantially undermined the public's confidence, and I hope the Wildlife Society will show zero tolerance if it draws the same conclusion the General Accounting Office and the administration have drawn," McInnis said.

Jack Ward Thomas, Forest Service chief during the Clinton administration, said at a Wildlife Society conference last week that the lynx scandal could not be ignored. Thomas: "There is an elephant in the room. It is standing there in the back, swaying back and forth, flapping its ears and exuding foul odors from time to time. A blaze orange sign hangs along its sides with 'lynx scandal' in large black letters. We could continue to ignore its presence or pretend that having joint occupancy of the room with an elephant of such size is no big deal. But that elephant is a big deal, and we can't ignore the beast because it is big and ugly and smells bad" (Audrey Hudson, Washington Times, April 23).

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