~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Mon, 16 Mar 98 12:22:00 GMT From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Saving Animals From El Nino's Saving Animals From El Nino's Fury By EVA VERGARA Associated Press Writer SAN ANTONIO, Chile (AP) -- Jose Luis Brito rescued The Baby from a lethal child -- El Nino. The Baby is a days-old sea lion, one of hundreds of mammals and birds Brito has rescued and continues to save from El Nino, the climate phenomenon that has spread its effects over many parts of the world in recent months. In Chile, El Nino hit by mid-1997 with storms and flooding that killed some 20 people and caused widespread damage to roads, bridges, homes and crops. Brito is concerned with other victims -- the animals deprived of their food as a result of the massive emigration of fish caused by the warming of the sea water. "Many species of fish ... virtually disappeared from our coast," Brito said. "We began finding scores of sea lions starving on the coastal rocks." "Some had just given birth and their babies were dying, too," he said at the Natural Science Museum which he directs in this port city south of Santiago. "Some sea lions had the stomach totally empty and several turtles had eaten plastics bags in desperation," added the 31-year-old self-made sea scientist. After burying more than 110 sea lions and disposing of hundreds of dead birds, Brito decided to act. The small garden of his museum is now half covered by a fiberglass pool to treat sick animals. For weeks, Brito enlisted the help of the local fire department to clean and fill the pool. Later, private donations helped him to install a plumbing system. At a smaller tank next to the pool, seagulls and several Humboldt penguins take turns bathing in the salted water. The Baby, the small sea lion that has become a pet for Brito and his volunteers, lives in a cage for dogs -- another donation. Three times a day, he is freed to sunbathe and is fed through a hose. "We had to make a number of calls, including abroad, to figure out the kind of formula needed to feed these babies," Brito said. When The Baby gets old enough to feed by himself, Brito plans to free him "provided that fish have returned to this area." El Nino is not the only enemy Brito faces. Another is his limited budget: $4,000 a year through a Fauna Recovery Program, plus $5,500 from private donations which his volunteers collected in the streets. Hiring staff is out of the question, so he enlisted the help of tens of volunteers -- Boy Scouts, veterinary students and even some vacationers. The results so far are encouraging, he said: hundreds of animals have been saved along a 63-mile stretch of coastline. The volunteers have found some animals that only exist in Peru and Ecuador. "And we could do better should we have a vehicle of our own," Brito said. He now must borrow vehicles from police, firemen or neighbors. "We found six turtles of a rare olive-green type that exists in Ecuador, but two of them died and the others were saved," Brito said. "Hundreds of hungry cormorants flew all the way from Peru andmost died here." On a single day, he said, he picked up more than 300 dead cormorants. But he saved many others. "Things are being brought under control in this area, but with El Nino you never know," Brito said. Brito has received requests for advice from colleagues in other countries on the Pacific coast who are engaging in similar efforts. Meanwhile, he continues to use his imagination and the goodwill of many people to buy the fish and medicines for his many patients. He often uses the small local radio station to ask for help, including badly needed syringes and serum. He has vowed to keep up his campaign, which he called, "Save me, I want to live," as long as it's needed.