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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

News Follow-up

Air Date: Week of

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New developments in stories we've been following recently.


CURWOOD: From the climate change talks in Bonn, Germany, you're listening to NPR's Living on Earth.

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CURWOOD: Time now to follow-up on some of the news stories we've been tracking lately. You may recall our reporting about socially responsible investing - that's when people put their money where their values are as they manage their finances. A new index called FTSE4Good is being launched to advise investors on how public companies stack up on such issues as the environment and human rights. William Oulton chairs FTSE Americas. He says the index will pressure firms to defend their records.

OULTON: They can't avoid the issue, because it will be clear to everyone that if they're not in the index then we will tell the world at large why they're not in and where they've failed. There's no hiding from that.

CURWOOD: Tobacco interests, weapons makers and nuclear power purveyors are excluded from the FTSE4Good index.


CURWOOD: There's a setback in the controversial plan to train wolves not to attack livestock by zapping them with shock collars. One of the wolves that went through this aversive conditioning is now being blamed for a death of a calf in Montana. But Ed Bangs, who heads the federal wolf recovery program, says these animals would have been killed if they hadn't gone through the program. Sparing them, if only for a season, he says, has benefits. Two of those wolves became fathers this spring.

BANGS: We have two extra litters of wolves in the greater Yellowstone area because of our attempt to use these wolves in that research and then release them back to the wild. So from a biological standpoint the program was successful even if we didn't really teach them, we don't think, to avoid cattle.

CURWOOD: The scientists aren't giving up though. This fall another wolf pack is scheduled to receive aversive training.


CURWOOD: A Missouri wildlife reintroduction program has hit a snag. The State has decided not to bring back elk herds after all. The reason? Fear that elk can carry a form of mad cow disease known as chronic wasting disease. While there's no evidence chronic wasting disease can spread to people or cows, Stephanie Ramsey of the Missouri Department of Conservation says are just too many unknowns to go ahead with the program.

RAMSEY: There's not a cure, there's not a live test. We thought that the risk was too great. We have an excellent wild deer population here in Missouri that we've worked hard to rebuild and of course there are also agricultural concerns.

CURWOOD: Missouri could change its mind if scientists learn more about the disease. In the meantime, some elk are coming into Missouri on their own from neighboring states.


CURWOOD: And finally, you may recall the possum problem we reported on in New Zealand not long ago. Well, some entrepreneurs there have decided to try putting a lid on the problem of too many possums, literally. They're marketing possum meat as pet food in a can. The brand name? You guessed it. Possyum! And that's this week's follow-up on the news from Living on Earth.

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