- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 13, 2001

Killing cartoon characters isn't easy just ask Elmer Fudd. It's even harder to flip an enviro donor-letter writer's dream of an adorable endangered species into a poster child for the excesses of the environmental movement. Astonishingly, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy has managed to do both. As reported by Audrey Hudson of The Washington Times, the conservancy was so concerned that timber-harvesting activities by the Allegheny Wood Products company would endanger already endangered species, such as the northern flying squirrel (think Rocky of "Rocky and Bullwinkle"), that it sent scientists out to take stock of the situation. That they did by setting traps to do a critter count.
The field biologists may have consulted with Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale, since a flying squirrel soon stumbled into their nefarious snare. Sadly, Bullwinkle did not come to the rescue, so the squirrel eventually expired. So did several other similarly trapped critters, including chipmunks, deer mice, red squirrels and southern flying squirrels. After it became clear that environmentalists were causing at least as much harm to the environment as any evil machinations that corporate executives could dream up, the conservancy's two-year lawsuit against Allegheny was settled in favor of the company last month.
It's a good thing that not all of the northern flying squirrels were permanently grounded by zealous environmentalists, since one of the creatures is a feature fund-raiser. In a solicitation letter, Judy Rodd, co-chair of the Conservancy's Blackwater Canyon Campaign, spoke animatedly of the capture and release of Ginnie, a lactating female flying squirrel. Ginnie was found at one of the eight new flying squirrel sites (might now want to make that seven) discovered by "hardy biologists" who spent many wintry days hunting for such critters in Frostbite Falls er, Blackwater Canyon. Although they were allegedly trying to "protect both the creatures and their habitat," they expressed such heartfelt concerns by setting steel traps. Ginnie's cousins, who were "well-prepared for a wild, wonderful West Virginia winter," didn't stand a chance against the formaldehyde-style species preservation inflicted on them. Perhaps hoping that potential donors were dumber than Bullwinkle, the donor letter concluded by wishing that Ginnie and all the other "special creatures of Blackwater Canyon" would "always be safe." Rocky might well be, but Ginnie should consider calling on Dudley Do-Right.


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