According to the report, Glenn Donnelly (the co-founder of DIRT Motorsports who sold the racing and entertainment firm, and the fairgrounds, for $4.3 million last year) "was one of eight parties slapped with federal charges or civil fines....The national investigation uncovered a multi-state effort to sell endangered animals and resulted in five criminal cases."
This is the part of the story that concerns me the most: "... the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seized five ocelots, including two that died while being transported."
How were they transported, exactly?
What killed them?
The report goes on to say that "The animals were sold for nearly $5,000 each." (1)
This isn't the first time Mr. Donnely has had problems. Quoting the Auburn Citizen:
"In May 2005, a 22-year-old college student was mauled after reaching into a cage containing two Chinese Himalayan bears on Donnelly's property.
The woman was with a group of three people who reportedly went to Donnelly's property without permission to look at animals at what they believed to be a private 'zoo'
She sustained severe injuries, and her arm was later amputated below the elbow." (2)
The ocelot's species name come from the Mexican Aztec word "tlalocelot" meaning "field tiger." Ocelots come originally from Central and South America. Skilled predators, they thrived in forests and on grassy plains.
They grow to about twice the size of domestic cats and have dark spots with rings of tawny-yellow fur.
Ocelots became endangered for two reasons; they were hunted for their fur and they lost much of their natural habitat to development. They have been on the endangered list for over 30 years.
There is a plan for recovery:
To boost the number of cats, Environmental Defense has joined forces with The Nature Conservancy and Pronatura Noreste, a Mexican conservation group, to create a 130-mile-long, cross-border corridor to let the Texas ocelots breed with their Mexican counterparts.
(1) Only 70 ocelots remain in the wild in the U.S.
(2) These bears are known as Moon Bears. They are, pound for pound, some of the meanest bears you'll ever meet, with the possible exception of the Malayan Sun Bear. Both types of bears come from Asia and are hunted for their gull bladders, paws and other body parts, which are used in Chinese medicine. As a result, these bears are now severely endangered.
Question: Is this man trying to help save endangered species or is he merely collecting rare wild animals for his own selfish pleasure? Time will tell.
Note: The picture above is a sculpture of Maat: Goddess of Truth and Justice, wearing her feathered headdress. The base is alabaster, and the sculpture itself is made out of lapis and gold. I've found this picture all over the web, without attribution, and I'appreciativete knowing
a) who took the picture and
b) who made the piece.