Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Assistant rehab manager Sara Walsh gets kisses from Finn, a male fawn that is recuperating at the Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
While we have many photos of white deer in the wild from around these parts, this is the first picture we've seen of a white deer in captivity. It is being cared for at the Woodfore Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford.
Posted: Wednesday, October 12, 2011
By Gail Boatman Special to the BCT |
MEDFORD — The arrival of injured and abandoned animals is not unusual at the Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge. Four thousand hurting creatures find their way to the refuge’s doorstep every year.
But this one was different.
One morning last month, a white fawn with blue eyes and pink hooves arrived, delivered by a concerned resident who had spotted him in her backyard. He was about 2 weeks old and had apparently been abandoned by his mother.
The woman who first saw him watched and waited for two days, hoping the herd would return for him. Finally, she called Cedar Run.
“She told us he was bleating and crying and couldn’t feed himself,’’ said Jeanne Gural, Cedar Run’s executive director.
The staff named him Sir Phineas Pinkerton, or Finn for short. Most fawns are born in the spring and have ample time to grow strong before winter sets in with its cold winds and scarce food supply.
This late-season fawn would not be so lucky.
Despite his coloring, Finn is not an albino, according to Gural.
“We know this because of his blue eyes,’’ she said.
But he lacks brown pigment, a condition that approximately one in 500 deer are born with.
The refuge’s policy is to return animals to the wild if there is a reasonable possibility they can survive.
“We’re good, but their mothers are better,’’ Gural said.
Finn’s chances of surviving were close to zero.
The coloring that makes him so exotic, almost mythic in appearance, also would make him a prized target for hunters.
And there is another factor.
Fawns quickly become accustomed to being around humans, a trait that would not serve Finn well in the wild. So, eventually he will become a resident of the 174-acre refuge.
“We will gradually integrate him with three other deer who live here,’’ said Sara Walsh, an animal rehabilitator and the assistant manager of the refuge’s hospital. “That’s so he will understand he’s a deer.’’
Until then, Finn is living in an enclosed area in the hospital and, as much as possible, being kept away from people.
Walsh and hospital manager Stephanie Stewart are involved in his day-to-day care, a schedule that many new mothers may recognize: feeding, sleeping and playing.
Walsh helps to bottle-feed him five times a day with a nutritious formula especially concocted for fawns. Finn is teething now, she said, and has been introduced to solid foods, apples and vegetables. He also is fond of the diamond-shaped leaves on a sassafras tree.
“It’s what he would eat in the wild,’’ Walsh said.
At first, Finn slept all day, but now, at nearly 6 weeks old, he is becoming more and more active. Last week, lured by the surrounding trees, he began to venture outside, wearing a secure harness.At about one year, Finn will begin to develop his antlers. Already there are small spots on his head where they will form.
Working hours for both women are 9 to 5, but they live on the premises and can be called in the middle of the night for an emergency.
Their days begin with food preparation for all the resident animals, about 20 now.
In summer, when that number can jump to 50 or 60, feeding can take up to half the day. Volunteers help, and during the summer months, three interns work with the women.
Walsh, a native of Colorado, started at Cedar Run as an intern after studying wildlife management at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pa.
Most of the animals and birds that arrive at Cedar Run, injured or sick, eventually are released back into the wild.
They are prepared gradually, learning how to fend for themselves in the safety of the refuge before being released.
That is the moment Walsh and her colleagues look forward to.
“We watch them being wild animals,’’ she said.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
WMD IN MY BACKYARD –
The search for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq may have come up empty, but from where I’m sitting in the middle of New Jersey, it seems that there’s plenty of WMD right here in my backyard. It seems that I don’t have to go far to find such WMD as missing mice infected with biological warfare diseases, unaccounted for vials of liquid anthrax, nuke missile meltdowns and nuclear warheads missing offshore. It’s all right here. I couldn’t make this up, and we don’t need no terrorist to do it to us, it seems we shoot ourselves in the foot.
Not long ago, as detailed in the news, vials of anthrax are missing, along with three bubonic plague infested mice. Then there’s the BOMARC missile meltdown, complete with nuclear warheads, what they call a “Broken Arrow” incident that occurred at Fort Dix/McGuire AFB, which polluted the nearby ground and water. And there's also the two nuke warheads off the Coast of Cape May.
Know any terrorists looking for some nuclear warheads? There’s two in the water a few miles off Cape May, New Jersey, jetsoned during an emergency from a military plane out of Dover AFB in Delaware, and never recovered. Just like Ian Fleming’s fictional 007 adventure “Thunderball,” in which two nuclear bombs are hijacked by the terrorist organization SPECTRE – Special Executive for Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, for blackmail purposes.
Missing mice and anthrax, missile meltdown, nuke warheads lost offshore, we got it all. And each case study is a lesson in accidents that can get out of control. The most recent are the stories of the missing mice and anthrax.
MISSING INFECTED MICE AND ANTHRAX
Three bubonic plague infested mice went missing from a government lab in Newark in September, 2005, and not long after two-two inch tubes of liquid anthrax bacteria were reported unaccounted for at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratory in Trenton.
According to the Associated Press (Wayne Parry, Aril 26, 2006), “The mice were never located, and officials said the rodents might have been stolen, eaten by other lab animals or just misplaced in a paperwork error.” The three toxic mice were absent from their Newark lab affiliated with the University of Medicine and Denistry, where a scandal even more pressing than the missing mice forced the resignation of the director and sparked a federal financial probe.
“The Newark lab that lost track of the plague-infested mice conducts bioterrorism research for the federal government,” Wayne Parry Reported. “After the incident, the facility improved its video surveillance and stopped using contracted animal handlers. Before the incident, the center relied on a single security guard.”
The anthrax, kept at a more secure facility, was discovered missing during an inventory of more than 19,000 samples stored in a state laboratory, prior to their being relocated to an even more secure facility. 350 of 352 positive anthrax samples are accounted for.
According to Lauren O. Kidd of the Gannett newspapers, “The state is obliged by the FBI to store the positive samples as potential evidence if a suspect is charged in connection to the unsolved anthrax attacks that killed five and harmed at least 17 in October 2001. The U.S. Postal Service requires the state to store the thousands of negative samples as well, officials said.”
“In both cases, authorities say they think the items in question weren’t actually lost, but were simply unaccounted for due to clerical errors,” wrote Parry.
“It is likely that the discrepancy is an inventory or clerical error and not truly missing samples,” said state epidemiologist Eddy Bresnitz.
Rutgers University microbiologist Richard Ebright said, “The fact that they don’t know the answer means they’re not running a properly secured facility. The odds are that it was an accounting error, but it is very possible that one of the persons with access to the lab has removed the material.”
Of the 300 institutions in the country capable of safely handling such materials, 16,500 individuals are certified and cleared to handle and possess deadly bio-agents, and only eleven people have such clearance at the Trenton lab where the anthrax was stored. All were questioned and cleared.
“The Trenton lab has multiple levels of security,” writes Parry, “including a padlocked containment area requiring two different sets of identification for access,…video monitoring and 24-hour security guards.”
“Samples of anthrax have been stored at a Trenton lab since shortly after the October 2001 anthrax mailings that went through a Hamilton (N.J.) post office, killing four people across the country and sickening 17.”
“The chance that these two positive specimens are somewhere outside of the laboratory is very small,” said Bresnitz, noting the missing anthrax is, “not in a mode that we think could be used as weapons. The spores would have to be put into an aerosol form to be used as a weapon, which would take a high level of technical sophistication.”
Well, we know who has a high level of technical sophistication. As Rutgers professor Ebright says, “If an adversary of the United States, such as al-Quada, wanted to obtain this material, the most effective, simple procedure to do so is to plant a person in one of those numerous institutions that the administration has put in place working with this material. Because the number of those institutions has increased and because it happened without an increase in effective security, the risk to the United States has dramatically increased.”
Not rare in New Jersey, we apparently have an abundance of anthrax, as New Jersey’s Homeland Security director Richard Canas said, “I think the genesis was that they were inundated with samples. What I would like to see is bringing this number down. Let’s at least cull these down into something more manageable.”
Indeed. And if you see three lose mice running around that glow in the dark, please notify the office of Homeland Security that you found their missing rodents.
Then there’s the nuke missile meltdown, a “Broken Arrow” event.
BOMARC Missile Meltdown. June 7, 1960
The United States was in the mist of the Cold War in early June, 1960, when major cities and military bases were surrounded by batteries of anti-missile missiles, poised to be launched to defend the country against jet bomber or missile attack with thermonuclear weapons.
The BOMARC – was one such anti-missile system, and a battery of them were set up on the east edge of McGuire Air Force base in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Surrounded by scub pine forests, a public nature preserve was just across the two lane blacktop highway from the line of missiles nestled in the woods. The idea behind shooting a nuclear warhead as a defensive weapon depended upon an advance notice being given to launch the anti-missiles so they could detonate high in the atmosphere and take out the incoming bombers and missiles with them.
Set to be launched on two minutes notice, the BOMARC missiles were poised skyward, set in a row a few hundred yards apart. On June 7, 1960, a helium tank under high presure exploded, rupturing the fuel tank that caught fire.
It is what they call a “Broken Arrow” event, or “any accidental or unauthorized incident involving a possible detonation of a nuclear weapon by U.S. Forces (other than war risk); the non-nuclear detonation or burning of a nuclear weapon; radioactive contamination; the seizure, theft or loss of a nuclear weapon or component (including jettisoning); Public hazard, actual or implied.”
While McGuire AFB is now the home base to the state of New Jersey’s nuclear response strike team, they were a little less sophisticated in 1960.
The local, mainly volunteer fire and rescue squads from nearby town of New Egypt, in Ocean County, responded to the explosion, and fought the fire with traditional firefighting weapons – high pressure water.
With the rocket’s fuel feeding the fire, which burned out of control for awhile, the nuclear tipped missile burned completely, and while there was no nuclear explosion, the fire melted the nuclear materials, which combined with the water runoff and contaminated the ground and the ground water below, which fed into a local creek.
One official report reads: Table 5-1: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents, 1950-1980
June 7, 1960 / BOMARC / McGuire AFB, New Jersey (p. 228).
“A BOMARC air defense missile in ready storage condition (permitting launch in two minutes) was destroyed by explosion and fire after a high-pressure helium tank exploded and ruptured the missile’s fuel tanks. The warhead was also destroyed by the fire although the high explosives did not detonate. Nuclear safety devices acted as designed. Contamination was restricted to an area immediately beneath the weapon and an adjacent elongated area approximately 100 feet long, caused by drain off of firefighting water.’
Another source is: U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History, by Chuck Hansen (Orion Books, New York, N.Y., 10003, 1988.
Also see: “The Greenpeace Book of the Nuclear Age: The Hidden History, The Human Cost” by John May, (Pantheon Books, NY, NY, 1989)
While the event took place in 1960, on July 29, 1999 it was announced from McGuire AFB that, “Officials at McGure AFB say they have hired a South Carolina firm to clean up radioacative plutonium that leaked during a 1960 fire at a nuclear missile site. The Trentonian reported that the cleanup was announced a day after federal authorities added other McGuire dump areas to the Superfund list….but not the missile site in Plumstead Township, which was abandoned in 1972.”
Under “Completed Actions,” the DOD report notes that, “Following the explosion that occurred in 1960, paint was applied to the shelter and concrete was poured over the most heavily plutonium-contaminated portions of the asphalt apron and floor area of the shelter. An asphalt cover was placed in the drainage ditch that leads from the shelter to the nearby stream to impede erosion of contaminated soil. Access to the accident area is restricted by a 6 foot chain link fence topped with barb wire.”
The nearby Colliers Mill Wildlife Management Area, a nature park just across the highway from the accident site, is a popular public camping and recreational park.
A huge underground water drainage pipe was replaced in the 1970s and even though is highly contaminated, it has not been located.
From what I understand, having talked with residents of the area, a local piney with a truck was hired to haul some of the contaminated dirt and melted and contaminated metal away from the site.
And that's exactly what happened. In 2011 the Trentonian newspaper reported that they had located a living witness, a former Air Force enlisted man who said that he followed the contaminated metal that was taken away from the site and delivered to a West Trenton junk and scrap metal yard.
An extensive Public Health Assessment by the Boeing Michigan Aeronautical Research Center – of the “Broken Arrow” event at the McGuire Missile, New Egypt, Ocean County, New Jersey, concluded, “No apparent health hazards are associated with an explosion and fire at the BOMARC site in 1960, which released radionuclides to the environment via smoke, dust and water runoff from fire-fighting efforts. Workers responding to the accident, downwind at the time of the accident, or involved in cleanup may have breathed in alpha radiation when they inhaled radionuclides, primarily plutonium, carried on smoke or attached to resuspended soil, or they could have been exposed to small amounts of external gamma radiation.”
The report continues, “Given the lack of information about the exposure conditions at the time of the accident, it is challenging to accurately assess workers intake and does. Conservative estimates, however, suggest that radiation dose received during or after the accident are not expected to cause harmful long term effects or cancer.”
NUKE WARHEADS MISSING OFFSHORE
JULY 28, 1957 – C-124 Globemaster Jettisons Cargo – 2 Plutonium-239 atomic warheads – within an area 100 miles southeast of the Naval Air Station, Pomona.
The Department of Defense has officially reported thirty-two serious accidents involving nuclear weapons, three of which occurred while transporting weapons from one place to another, using the C-124 “Globemaster” transport.
Destination Europe, the C-124 with three weapons aboard took off from Dover AFB in Delaware, but immediately began experiencing engine trouble. In order to avoid crashing into the water, the crew jettisoned two of the weapons into the water.
According to a 1981 report by the Center for Defense Information
[ Washington, D.C. #0195-6450 The Defense Monitor (Vol. X. Number 5) U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents: Danger In Our Midst – republished by MILNET – http://www.milnet.com/cdiart.htm ]
“On July 28, 1957, a C-124 jettisoned two weapons from a C-124 aircraft. There were three weapons and one nuclear capsule on board the aircraft, though nuclear components were not installed in the weapons. Enroute from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, “a loss of power from number one and number two engines [of four a major problem for this aircraft when carrying extremely heavy atomic bombs of this era ] was experienced.
Maximum power was applied to the remaining engines; however, level flight could not be maintained. At this point, the decision was made to jettison cargo in the interest of safety of the aircraft and crew. The first weapon was jettisoned at approximately 2,500 feet altitude. No detonation occurred from either weapon. Both weapons are presumed to have been damaged from impact with the ocean surface. Both weapons are presumed to have submerged almost instantly. The ocean varies in depth in the area of the jettisonings. The C-124 landed at an airfield in the vicinity of Atlantic City, New Jersey, with the remaining weapon and the nuclear capsule aboard. A search for the weapons or debris had negative results.”
“The weapons were jettisoned within an area 100 miles southeast of the Naval Air Station, Pomona, N.J., where the aircraft landed,” the MILNET report notes. “The two weapons are still presumably in the area, somewhere east of Rehobeth Beach Delaware, Cape May and Wildwood, N.J.”
Even though this incident took place in 1957, you can be sure that bombs are still there. “Plutonium-239, an isotope used to fuel atomic bombs,” the report dryly notes, “has a half-life of 24,400 years and remains poisonous for at least half a million years.”
The problem is – who is looking for these lost nukes? Nobody. If we don’t keep looking for them until they are found, then the terrorists will one day most certainly go looking for them.
Nor do we know what long-term effects of these nuclear accidents if we don’t find out what happened to them and monitor the affected environment.
Under the DOD definition of a nuclear accident, the jettisoning of nuclear warheads is a “Broken Arrow” event #4 – “Seizure, theft, or loss of a nuclear weapon or component (including jettisoning);” a “Public hazard,” whether “actual or implied.”
The DOD report on nuclear weapons accidents concludes “the increased numbers of nuclear weapons suggest that more accidents and perhaps more serious accidents will occur in the future.”
William Kelly – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Many thanks to Renae SunMoon for the photos.
THE STORY OF THE WHITE DEER
One night a few years ago I was driving home after visiting some friends on the other side of Mirror Lake from where I live.
Instead of going back to the damn I went around the far end of the lake, as I had done many times over the years.
As I was making a hard turn near the end of the lake, I came across a half dozen white deer that were standing in the middle of the road, forcing me to break hard and come to a complete stop in order to avoid hitting them. There was one big buck and four or five other smaller ones, but they were all white as sheets. The big one just stood there and looked at me as the others ran off and then meandeared into the woods behind them.
The next day at JC's, the local bar, I mentioned the herd of white deer I had seen the night before and everyone knew all about them. There were more, probably over a dozen all together, and a few mixed, brown and whites.
Not albinos, they are white deer.
I looked up white deer on the internet and found that there were a few out west, and a larger, protected herd of white deer on a military reservation in upstate New York. Still, they are a rarity.
Later on I went for a drive to the same area I had seen them before, just before the curve at the far southwest end of Mirror Lake, and about one block off Lakeshore Drive I saw what I thought was a white doberman standing on a sideroad. I stopped, backed up and sure enough, it was a small white doe. I drove up and it scooted off into the woods, but only about ten or fifteen yards and stopped to eat some more. I drove up to about twenty yards of it and it never ran off, just took its time eating some schrubs, so they are very used to people.
One of the regulars at JC's, Tommy, said his mom lives right along there and sees the white deer all the time in her back yard. She has pictures that Tommy let me make copies of that I'll post as soon as I figure out how to post pictures.
Then I found one photo already posted online at Roger Beckwith's wwwroadhousereport.com.
Roger lives in the same neighborhood and sees the white deer all the time too.
If you scroll down the Roadhouse pictures past the Asbury Park scenes, Billy and Roger at the Stone Poney, you come to a white deer in Roger's backyard.
Come last November, hunting season, and local hunter and JC regular Michael, was proud of the fact he bagged a white buck, as did his son, whose name is Hunter.
Both of these white deer were from a different herd that is located near 4 Mile Circle, about ten or fifteen miles away, but not that far.
Michael said that some hunters around 4 Mile told him that the white deer came from an overturned truck that crashed near the circle. The white deer, they said, came from China and were being transferred to a zoo somewhere when they were released in the accident.
Although I have yet to find any record of such a truck accident, I did Google White Deer China and came up with the White Deer Academy, an ancient school in China where white deer are legend.
Located in the Five Old Men Peak, the White-Deer Cave Academy is one of the earliest institutions of higher learning, and was named after Li Bo, who raised a white deer during his study here. Li later served as the Regional Chief of Jiangzhou (Jiujiang today). The academy is one of the four famous academies in China, along with Shigu in Yunnan, Suiyang in Henan, and Yulu in Hunan.