National Geographic : 1990 Jul
Earth I . A H AIE UIA II uar lrvPre ~3rrl~arll nasa Homes for Wildlife in Unexpected Places number of American industries are managing their real estate holdings for use by wildlife, an exercise that Seems to make everyone feel better. In a rare show of cooperation, environ mentalists and corporations are working together to create natural settings through an umbrella group called the Wildlife Habi tat Enhancement Council (WHEC). The more than 60 members include some of the nation's largest corporations and environ mental groups: ALCOA, Dow Chemical, Du Pont, Exxon, General Electric, and the National Wildlife Federation, the Trust for Public Land, Ducks Unlimited, and the Izaak Walton League. As much as 25 percent of the contiguous 48 states may belong to corporations, esti mates Joyce Kelly, WHEC's executive director. Included are lands bought as buff ers around company facilities for safety or security or in anticipation of future plant expansion. With a few alterations at minimal expense, improved habitat can host deer, small mammals, songbirds, raptors, and fish and reap a harvest of goodwill in the local community. No statistics are yet available on how much corporate land may be available for the use of wildlife, but the total runs into the hundreds of thousands of acres. Chief Executive Officer Edgar Woolard of E. I . du Pont de Nemours & Co., one of the firms originating the wildlife enhancement idea, has predicted that some day the company will manage as much as a thousand square miles as wildlife habitat. A sampling of projects: * Amoco built nesting sites in South Caroli na for imperiled least terns near the purified water of a chemical plant's treatment ponds. * Dow Chemical is catering to wildlife on several sites, including a plant near Joliet, Illinois, where deer roam (above right). * GE worked to restore a Wisconsin prairie to its natural state. * Three Chesapeake Bay power companies created projects to nurture popular but dis appearing striped bass, then released thou sands into local rivers. * Consumers Power, largest landholder in Michigan, is managing a nesting area for common terns, creating habitat along trans mission corridors, and placing kestrel nests on utility poles. Even small projects sometimes bring unexpected results. Du Pont redesigned an office park near Wilmington, Delaware, to include bluebird boxes and bird and butter fly attractions such as cardinal flowers, coneflowers, and sunflowers. Local school children and company employees enthusias tically joined the effort. "A pleasant surprise has been the improved morale of our own employees," said Donald Verrico, environmental affairs manager for Du Pont. "Wildlife manage ment makes people feel good about where they work." Unusual Mammals Are Bred as Rain Forest Resource ome of the largest and the smallest ungu lates in the world are being bred in cap tivity in a program aimed at making rain Forests economically sustainable. Endangered wild cattle called gaur, larg est of the wild bovines, range from India through Southeast Asia and are believed to have been hunted to near extinction. One captive-bred bull weighed 3,800 pounds, heavier than most compact cars. The mouse deer, a chevrotain that weighs only three pounds and stands a foot high, is hunted in Malaysia's rain forest as a deli cacy. Integrated Conservation Research believes domestication of both ungulates, combined with tourism and growing fruits and nuts, can add more income than logging. July 9, 1970-President Richard M. Nixon proposes the formation of an Environ mental Protection Agency. July 16, 1989-Environ mental issues play a leading partin a communique issued by seven highly industrial ized nations at an economic summit meeting in Paris. July 18, 1989-President DanielarapMoi of Kenya sets a torch to 12 tons of ivory to dramatize the need to protect elephants by halting the ivory trade. July I, 1954-Breeding ground of the endangered whooping crane is confirmed in northern Canada. Whooper population, believed at 2,000 in 1870, reached a low of 21 in 1941, and has now passed 150.