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Old 07-19-04, 11:02 AM   #59 (permalink)
TPiorun's Avatar
Join Date: May-2003
Location: Mission
Posts: 65
Rainforest Reptile Refuge enters Damage Control Mode

I have never seen such a back peddle and now blaming everyone that we are not lifting a finger to help. My question is this "Why are you not taking the help offered?" WSPCR have on numerous occasions asked about helping, theyíre offers refused.

Also, .. I didnít know Snakes could reproduce without a partner? Is this a new scientific discovery the RRR has found? I would like to read the paper on this... I think they are confusing sperm retention and calling it spontaneous fertilization which there is no proof of...

I find it all finger pointing and the big blame game. Sad that they canít take responsibility for the chaos they have created.

T. Piorun

Refuge defends Curvy's care Critics question why African rock python allowed to breed in the first place
Rainforest Reptile Refuge Society's Paul Springate checked on Burmese python Hiss Thursday.

By Tracy Holmes
Staff Reporter

A storm of criticism has flooded the Rainforest Reptile Refuge this week, following operator Paul Springate's highly publicized removal of an African rock python's eggs from one of the refuge's longest residents.
Since taking the event to media last week, Springate, has been inundated with letters and phone calls from across the country.
Some accuse him of "inhumane practices" and claim he is irresponsible and uninformed about the creatures he is caring for.
Others chastise the 29-year-old for allowing the snake to breed in the first place. The 42 eggs removed from under Curvy's coils were at least the python's fifth clutch since her arrival at the refuge 10 years ago.
Still others contest his statements that the snakes can't be tamed, and don't belong in captivity. Prior to removing the eggs, Springate described Curvy's species as the "second nastiest snake in the world," and emphasized one wrong move with her "could be my last."
"Mr. Springate is totally incorrect about reptiles not being friendly, nor tameable," wrote one critic.
Another stated: "The RRR has long been known to keep their animals in unhealthy, overcrowded conditions and are clearly irresponsible stewards of these animals."
Springate said Thursday the backlash went beyond what he'd expected, and defended his actions.
He noted the majority of critics are those who support the exotic pet trade, and own reptiles themselves.
Many he'd never even heard of before Curvy's situation hit the air. Not one has ever called or stepped forward to help with any of the animals' care, he said. Not before, and not now.
He is, however, receiving calls of support from people who've seen presentations by the refuge, and others who admit they don't understand what goes into caring for such animals but nonetheless appreciate his efforts.
The number of visitors to the refuge has increased since the situation was broadcast, as have applications to volunteer.
As for Curvy being allowed to breed, Springate said the python would've laid eggs with or without her male partner, Nigel, in her enclosure. The snakes lay eggs periodically. The only difference is, with Nigel's help, they were fertilized.
He said the snakes can't be "fixed" like cats and dogs.
He admitted, in the hustle and bustle of taking over the refuge, separating the snakes to prevent breeding never occurred to him.
Former operators Clarence and Christine Schramm had kept the snakes together at least six years, he said.
Curvy and Nigel have never fought, and despite reports they are solitary animals, seem to enjoy each other's company. They often sit on and with each other, Springate said.
"I'd never spent the time to think it was wrong to keep the rock pythons together," he said.
"I was simply following protocol. When these animals are imprisoned and all their rights are taken away, at least they have each other."
University of Victoria herpetologist Pat Gregory has studied snakes for 47 years. Unfamiliar with the week's chaos, he said Friday he doesn't see an issue with the two snakes being housed together.
In fact, he said he's contemplating research on the social benefits of snakes living communally.
Springate noted in captivity, it's impossible to replicate a snakes' natural habitat.
The refuge, which has a no-kill, no adoption policy, is home to 400-plus animals from 66 species. Some arrived in critical condition. All were abandoned by people who bought into the novelty of owning an exotic pet.
Though the refuge stopped accepting the unwanted animals a year ago, Springate said they continue to field hundreds of calls from people wanting to get rid of their pets, and often find reptiles dumped at their front door.
Care of the animals is a dawn-to-dusk job, he said.
He went public with Curvy's story for two reasons: to help raise the refuge's profile and possibly get some help running the non-profit refuge; and, to show the public damage caused by the exotic pet trade.
"No endangered species, for any reason whatsoever, should be owned by a private person," he said.
"No one can give these animals the proper care outside the wild. We're doing everything we can. If these people have such a problem with it, then come help me. They're all willing to point the finger."
On another note, the publicity has brought something positive out of destruction of Curvy's offspring.
Media coverage alerted University of B.C. scientists to the opportunity to study the embryos at different stages of development.
The facial embryology will be compared with other animal embryos, like chicks, and contribute to advancing knowledge on development.
"These eggs are not going to waste," Springate said.
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