The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 7, 1997 · Page 14
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 14

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 7, 1997
Page 14
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B4 TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1997 GREAT PLAINS THE SALINA JOURNAL A developing mane Is visible on Mumbasa the male lion as he rests on his stone perch at the new exhibit at Great Bend's zoo. The lions sleep tonight Great Bend zoo opens new exhibit of big cats for animal watchers By CLARA BELDEN Fv Huxktnmn ,\ews GREAT BEND — The king of beasts may still be a teen-ager in lion years. But as a lion named Boy lazes at the top of the berm protecting his lair, he keeps a wary eye out for marauders. His female companions, Big Girl and Little Girl, share their new home at the Great Bend zoo. The display, "Pride of Great Bend," opened in September. Nearby, Janus the tiger prowls through tiger territory. He peers out from his caged dwelling, seeking prey. Around the corner, Maggie, a magazine cover girl grizzly bear, lounges tummy- up in the afternoon sun, eyes ever watchful of the curious people who pass by to look. "Lions, tiger and bears at the Brit Spaugh Zoo? Oh, yes," said Mike Cargill, director of public lands for the City of Great Bend. On a recent evening he led schoolkids and parents on a tour of the zoo, which is at the north end of Great Bend's Main Street. Cargill paused before the castle built for Mum- basa, Buruska and Dakura, the 1-year-old lions raised by zoo workers from infancy. In human years, the three are still in their teens. A fenced area holds the tree-shaded berm and a cave-like sun shelter. The nighttime cage is constructed of steel and concrete. When he is 3 years old, Boy will roar and have a mane. "Male lions kill each other by grabbing the neck," Cargill said. "The one with the most mane or cushion is safe." In the wild, the male lion's job is to protect the females of his pride. He goes to the highest place possible to keep watch. At the Great Bend Zoo, the berm was built for Boy. Big Girl and Little Girl sit, romp for a while, then spring, wanting to pounce on a catch — perhaps a wildebeest — just as their sisters hunt in Africa. , "She was planning to have you for supper," Cargill said after visitors watched Little Girl peer over a fallen log, lower her ears, and run toward a child in a red shirt, standing safely outside the lion enclosure. Cargill cautioned visitors to stay away from A female (top) and male lion are timid upon being encouraged Into their outdoor habitat recently at the zoo. Photos by The Associated Press While chewing on a stick, Mumbasa the male lion is bitten by a female in their outdoor habitat recently at the Brit Spaugh Zoo in Great Bend. Three African lions, all about 1 year old, recently were presented to the public as a permanent exhibit at the zoo. the fenced animals. "Zoo animals are not friendly," he said. Cargill, a central Kansas native, likes to talk about the animals. When he was a child, his uncle took him to the Great Bend Zoo where he saw his first polar bear and decided to be a zookeeper. He was formerly assistant director of the Chicago Zoo, and continues to travel across the country to talk about wild animals' habits and behaviors. Janus, the zoo's tiger, lives alone. "The only time tigers live in pairs is when they are raised together. Tigers are loners except for mating," said zoo director Don Huslig. Janus, an aging cat, weighs about 400 pounds. He eats nine to 11 pounds of food each day, fasting on Sunday and Wednesday. "Animals in the wild go for three or four days without eating," Huslig said. "In captivity they are fed daily. They waste food." Male tigers and mother tigers, are to be feared the most. A male tiger can grow to weigh 500 pounds. He is much stronger than a lion. "A tiger can take a 2,000-pound water buffalo, something it would take 12 men to drag," Huslig said. "Tigers are very territorial. They have their place in this world." The zoo's bear, Maggie the grizzly, gained international fame as Bear No. 60. She hails from the wilds of Montana and Wyoming, where she had become a garbage can pest in the parks. Park rangers hauled her high up the mountains but she kept coming back. "The choice was to put her down or find a zoo," Huslig said. The Brit Spaugh Zoo offered Maggie a home. Maggie's photo hit the covers of Life magazine and National Geographic, along with her story. When she arrived in Kansas,' Maggie didn't like being caged. Zookeepers tried to cage her with a male grizzly. "She totally ripped him," Huslig said. "Workers had to throw food through the bars. She would scare you." Since her arrival 12 years ago, Maggie has gradually calmed down. The zoo and city park, founded in 1960 by Brit Spaugh, is also home to myriad animals, birds and reptiles. Among them are rare young lynxes, foxes, snakes, wallabies (raised from infancy) and mountain lions. Cargill had a story about each animal as he moved about the zoo. He said he found the two newborn wallabies on the ground one morning. They had fallen from their mother's pouch. The zoo staff fed them from doll bottles, every 90 minutes. One of the medium-sized cats came to the zoo from a private home. Someone had bought it as a pet and declawed it. Then, when it grew, it was no longer a pet. The three young lynxes are a rarity because they were born and are being raised in captivity. As the tour ended, Cargill invited the children to come back and see the lions, tiger, bear and lots more at the Brit Spaugh Zoo. Oh yes! Y PRIVACY Kansas drivers rush to close their public records Many had impression their personal info was on Internet for anyone to pore over By LEW FERGUSON The Associated Press TOPEKA — Kansas drivers, under the mistaken notion they faced a deadline, signed up in droves in September to have their driving and vehicle registration records closed to the prying eyes of the public and news media. The result could be less information available to the public on who breaks the law — including drunken drivers — and what vehicles criminals use. A federal law, the Federal Privacy Act of 1994, required states to give drivers and vehicle owners the option of closing their driving and vehicle registration records to public scrutiny. States had until Sept. 13 to put a program in place, or face fines of $5,000 a day. The law has been declared unconstitutional by federal judges in Oklahoma and South Carolina on grounds it infringes on states' rights. But unless someone challenges it in Kansas and wins a similar ruling, it is in effect in this state. Betty McBride, director of the Motor Vehicles Division in the state Department of Revenue, implemented Kansas' program in January. Kansans have been able for nine months to request that their records be closed. They actually were closed on Sept. 13 — the date many Kansans mistook for a deadline to "opt out." No longer will those drivers' and vehicle owners' records be available to the public and media on Information Network of Kansas, the state's records database that is posted on the Internet and can be accessed by those who subscribe to INK. Many people thought Sept. 13 was a deadline for "opting out," based on "bits and pieces of information that confused a lot of people," McBride said. People still can request at any time that their records be closed. The misconception about the deadline for opting out caused people to flock to "I'm not surprised at the number who opted out. I think it's the climate of the times, and the misconception of what's been done. The big problem was the perception that these records were on the Internet and available to anyone to view them." Betty McBride director, Motor Vehicles Division In Kansas Department pf Revenue their county treasurer's offices and drivers' examination stations asking for the division's forms requesting the opt-out. Sheila Walker, the Revenue Department's communications director, said as of mid-September, 485,560 Kansans had opted out on driving records and 392,529 had opted out on vehicle registration records. Kansas has 1.8 million licensed drivers and 2-5 million registered motor vehicles. "I'm not surprised at the number who opted out," said McBride. "I think it's the climate of the times, and the misconcep- tion of what's been done. "The big problem was the perception that these records were on the Internet and available to anyone to view them." Actually, the records are on INK, and it costs $75 to become an annual subscriber to INK. In addition, those who access the records must pay $4.50 for each record accessed. That means casual Internet users had no access to the records. "People thought their records were being accessed by telemarketers, but Kansas law prohibits that," MqBride said. Because they were able to access his', records, reporters informed the public about the car Timothy McVeigh was dri- ; ving and when he got his driver's license-;; shortly after he was arrested following'"• the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995. That information would have been i closed to the press and public if the lav/;' had been in effect then and McVeigh had. closed his records. •* Law enforcement officials, insurance, 1 : companies, private investigators and cred- '•it agencies still can access the records. ,',. Most complaints have come from people'''•' upset that their records ever were avail- i! 1 able to the public — even though they,>'• have been open in Kansas for 40 years. ' "It came out: 'You're allowing my '' records to be sold (to telemarketers) and I ' want to opt out," McBride said. A handful protested closing the records, McBride said. "I got a letter from one man who wanted to know why the people didn't get '.$;, vote on closing them," McBride said. "He "'«, said the public ought to have the right to ' decide to close them."

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