Let me preface my comment by saying that I have been providing Faith M. Walker with access to semitame and hand-raised southern hairy-nosed wombats for her studies. You didn’t mention that Faith’s work has an application in studying the effects of habitat fragmentation, which is a major cause of the species’ decline. On a more personal note, the animal Faith is holding in the picture (above) is Wanda, a hand-raised orphan who dug her way out of our enclosure last October and has not been seen since.
Sandleton via Sedan, Australia
The story says there are “several hundred” northern hairy-nosed wombats. Actually, unpublished hair-taping and trapping data from Andrea Taylor and Sam Banks at Monash University suggest there are between 96 and 150 of the animals.
Faith M. Walker
The opening and closing of this article sets the tone that the falsification inherent in hair sampling is just a minor aberration and, in fact, is conjectural. A reading of the article indicates that the General Accounting Office investigation did not find it so. The specious assertion of the falsifiers that they were testing the lab to which they sent fur samples, if presented in a criminal case, would be laughed out of court. These workers not only violated the law but betrayed the concept of scientific integrity. Frankly, these “investigators” committed a crime and at least should be discharged from their positions.
Carl H. Neuman
New York, N.Y.