She fights for ferrets

  • Carolyn Kinsey pickets USFWS in Lakewood, Colo.

    George Kochaniec Jr.
  A veterinary technician fired for protesting an ill-fated plan for releasing black-footed ferrets into Badlands National Park in South Dakota now wants to start her own care facility for geriatric or neglected ferrets. Carolyn Kinsey was hired to manage a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "conditioning" facility in Pueblo, Colo., for ferrets soon to be released into the wild. But upon receiving 27 ferrets from different zoos across the country, she noticed their advanced age and poor condition. Ferrets can live up to a decade, but after age 5 they begin to lose their eyesight, teeth and capacity to hunt. Kinsey protested the Fish and Wildlife's reintroduction plan, predicting high if not total fatalities. Though only a volunteer, she was asked to leave the project before the release. Her co-worker Andy Abate, a biology technician with the National Biological Service, then resigned in protest. "They acted like Nazi Germans when they came down here and demanded Carolyn pack up and leave," Abate told The Rocky Mountain News. Abate says he and Kinsey knew there would be repercussions but spoke up anyway. "I feel there is an ethical question here, because those ferrets just aren't going to survive and it's just a dumping exercise," he said. They were right: Coyotes killed the ferrets days after their release in South Dakota. The agency has since admitted it erred but defended the program. "We had to lose them in order to learn," Dean Biggins of the USFWS told The Denver Post. Carolyn Kinsey put it another way: "Government is bullheaded and life is cheap." Kinsey is now seeking funding to operate her ferret care facility in Pueblo.

"Shea Andersen

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