Drugs, Prostitution Threaten Wildlife Refuges


Drugs, Prostitution Threaten Wildlife Refuges

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

From CNN:

“ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — America’s wildlife refuges are so short of money that one-third have no staff, boardwalks and buildings are in disrepair, and drug dealers are using them to grow marijuana and make methamphetamine, a group pushing for more funding says.

“‘Without adequate funding, we are jeopardizing some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife and wild lands,’ said Evan Hirsche, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and chairman of the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement.

“The cooperative said in a report released Thursday to Congress that the nation’s 548 refuges and the 100-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System — about the size of California — is underfunded by 43 percent. The refuge system needs at least $765 million a year but is receiving $434 million, the report says.

“A decrease in law enforcement has left the refuges vulnerable to criminal activity, including prostitution, torched cars and illegal immigrant camps along the Potomac River in suburban Washington, methamphetamine labs in Nevada and pot growing operations in Washington state, Hirsche said.”

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