Thursday, August 02, 2012

A cry from the heart

Sign at the GREAT LAWN dated July 27, 2012, cautioning the public about PESTICIDE application. If only rats and hawks could read English!

On his popular blog Lincoln Karim has been posting photographs and news about
Pale Male and the Fifth Avenue Red-tailed Hawks for more than ten years. Copied below from today is a letter he sent to the powers-that-be at the Natural History Museum [AMNH]:

To: Karen Quigley, Office of the President, AMNH:

After years of wildlife disasters in NYC, too little has been done to show that we are deeply affected by the past. We continue to have rat poison, pesticides, fishing line, kite strings, trapping and shooting and not enough has been done.

I am not going to continue posting new pictures until I see some reasonable progress in the way we treat our animals.
I'll continue to photograph and document them each day but I cannot go on taking compliments for photographs I take of animals that are getting such mistreatment from people who don't consider themselves to be evil dictators yet they behave like ones.

I do not want to be part of a city that does not care. I also do not want to be associated with passive observers.

When the passive observer shows themselves at a scene where action is so desperately needed they give the false impression that they can be depended on.

In Central Park when I look around me at times I see so many faces and so many lips jabbering that I am deceived that these large groups of onlookers can be counted upon. But when I see what is happening to our precious wildlife I get a sobering reminder that not everyone is willing to make an effort to do anything about it.

When our baby hawks got sick for the second year in a row due to rat poison--and not just baby hawks, but the babies of Palemale--the hawk everyone claims to love so much, I asked myself; where are all the people who wrote books about him and made documentary films about him? Why haven't any of them come to his defense? Where is the school that made him their mascot?
Where is the NYS DEC who just a few months ago gave everyone the impression that they cared so much for hawks that they arrested me for picking up even a dead one.

After eleven days since the baby hawk was poisoned at the Museum of Natural History they still have not removed the bait boxes from around the museum? It doesn’t appear that we have as strong a group as we think we have.

The Museum of Natural History? These people are supposed to be concerned with the wellbeing of nature past and present. They claim to be concerned with the fate of the dinosaurs but they don’t care if they kill the present-day ones.

Someone needs to tell these people to snap out of their phony world and pay attention to the real world in which they are living and doing business in. It is clear that our highly paid NYS DEC is not going to tell them, and it is very clear that the NYC Audubon Society is not going to tell them. I know that making an accomplishment is not easy regardless of who you are. I know not even the president can snap his fingers and make things happen. I am talking about trying! Making an ‘attempt’ to do something.

I left Trinidad because I saw everyone around me just watched as everything fell apart. No one said anything when entire mountains got blasted down for minerals and construction aggregate. The sight of a tractor was a delightful sign of progress. People in Trinidad admired a man who plowed down acres of beautiful mountain trees so that he could get a view from his new house.

I believed that in New York especially I may encounter some real no-nonsense people. I came here to be a follower since I was such a failure in my own country attempting to make my countrymen appreciate locally produced television programs. From the first year that I began living here I was looking for those great men and women that I had the life-long belief would be the type that will not allow things to fall apart. Twenty-two years later I am still searching. I know they‘re here and I am determined to find them. They may be asleep and just need a little waking up, so I will wake them up.

It’s too late for me to go back to where I was born and I have no desire to leave New York. There is something here that feels like it’s home although I won‘t fool myself--it can never be my home.

Trinidad can never be my home either. There is nothing to engage my heart there. Even if I was born there I could never call that place home anymore. That beautiful island truly belong to those poor Caribs and Arawaks that were slaughtered by those wicked European invaders. So whether this is my home or not there is something I have found here which I never found anywhere else. When I look at him or when I touch the tree that he is perched on, even if it may not feel like home, it does make me feel like I‘m anchored. I feel like there is no where else to be. I often wonder if that is silly sometimes and perhaps it is, but I am not willing to give that feeling up for anything. It’s a really beautiful feeling that there is something on this earth that makes me want to stay put.

When someone gives you that kind of feeling it will be contemptible to turn your back on him. And when someone is trying to destroy the things that he spends his entire life creating I will be an unworthy admirer not to try all I can to stop them.

My mission is not to condemn the museums and the other people who are unwilling to find safer ways to control rodents. Even if I am sure Mother Nature will much prefer to see trees and grass growing on the acreage which these buildings occupy, I think if they are going to exist they should be more responsible and aware of their surroundings and not be so callous for innocent animal life.

I hope that many more people whose lives are touched by Palemale and his family can see it fit to stand up for what is right. Let us not allow any more of these precious animals to fall victim to the thoughtlessness of certain people who simply do not care.

I do not want to be a part of a city that does not care, and that is why I love living here. It’s because I know that we can care. Most of us want to care but hardly know how to begin. The truth is I don’t know how we can begin to get anything done either, but for now I’m going to write a letter and make a call and when they pickup the phone and when they read my letter one of the things I’ll be saying to them is;

Dear Sir/Madam:

‘I would like you to please stop hurting the things that I love‘.


The American Museum of Natural History:
Ellen V. Futter, Museum Director

Karen Quigley, Office of the President
(212) 769-7370

The Museum of Natural History has shown no remorse for what happened to Palemale & Zena’s baby. After one week since being told of the disaster they still have not removed the bait boxes around the museum.
The bait boxes around the museum contains BRODIFACOUM, the most lethal poison on the market in the USA.


Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitian Museum of Art:
Emily Rafferty (President)
(212) 570-3900

MET’s Exterminator - Orkin
Orkin Commercial Services

Website for Orkin.


The Central Park Precinct:
Captain Jessica E. Corey
86th Street & Transverse Road,
New York, NY, 10024
(212) 570-4820



I am re-posting this letter from a concerned writer who believes that the MBTA (Migratory Bird Treaty Act) can be used to prosecute anyone who caused the poisoning of our hawks. Hopefully more law-savvy eyes than mine can read it to see any possibilities:

The MBTA pdf link (page 3, column 2).

From the article, at page 3, right column: "As mentioned above, in a series of criminal prosecutions the Department of Justice has pushed the broad interpretation of the statute, and some courts have accepted the theory, gradually expanding the scope of the MBTA in those jurisdictions. In United States v. FMC Corp., 572 F.2d 902 (2d Cir. 1978), the Second Circuit affirmed the conviction of a manufacturer of pesticides for migratory bird deaths. Still the FMC court stated misgivings (a “construction that would bring every killing within the statute, such as deaths caused by automobiles, airplanes, plate glass modern office buildings or picture windows into such birds fly, would offend reason and common sense”) and possibly limiting incidental takes to “extrahazardous” activities (actually what are termed “ultrahazardous” activities in tort law parlance). 572 F.2d at 905, 907. In a contemporaneous high-profile case, an applicator of pesticides was found to have violated the MBTA. United States v. Corbin Farm Servs., 444 F. Supp. 510 (E.D. Cal. 1978), aff’d on other grounds, 578 F.2d 259 (9th Cir. 1978).
See also the paragraph immediately following, page 4, right column.


Palemale & Zena's two poisoned babies are being cared for by Bobby & Cathy Horvath. This couple has been extremely responsive to many wildlife emergencies in Manhattan even if they are located so far away in Long Island.

Please help them to continue their valuable work;

Wildlife in Need of Rescue & Rehabilitation (WINORR)
202 N. Wyoming Avenue
N. Massapequa , N.Y. 11758

PS If you're trying to get in touch with the AMNH, here's a hint dated 8/2/12 via Murray Head:

Hello Lincoln,

I tried to call Karen Quigley at the AMNH at the number you posted... (212) 769-7370
I got a recording that stated "The number you dialed is not in service" .
I called the Museum's main number 212 769-5100, and chose a directory of the staff
option, said her name and was able to leave a message.

Thought you should know.

Murray Head