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January 28, 2009

Wildlife Land Trust Establishes 100th Wildlife Sanctuary

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust has received a donation of a conservation easement on a 207-acre property in Tylertown, Miss. for permanent habitat protection. The Caplan Wildlife Sanctuary is the 100th sanctuary protected by the Wildlife Land Trust in the United States, and its first to be established in Mississippi.

Previously a dairy farm, the property has been in agricultural use for many years. The Caplan Wildlife Sanctuary has a great diversity of habitats including mature hardwoods, large cypress and pine plantations and several ponds. The Bogue Chitto River forms the southern boundary.

"We feel lucky to have placed the easement with The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust and are confident it will be in good hands," says Merry Caplan, who donated the property with her husband Ryck. "Best of all, it is really protected. If I don't accomplish another thing in my life, I feel I've done something significant."

"We're delighted to expand the Trust's unique wildlife and habitat protection mission to Mississippi — our 37th state — and to join with the Caplans to permanently protect this flourishing habitat," says Robert Koons, executive director of the Wildlife Land Trust. "Without adequate habitat, wildlife lack the shelter, food, and security necessary to survive. Our sanctuaries serve as 'Shelters without Walls®' for free-roaming animals."

Home to bobcats, beavers, deer, armadillos and many other animals, the sanctuary hosts a myriad of bird species including several species of hawks, kestrel, heron, mallards and osprey.

The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science has identified the presence of Gulf sturgeon in the Bogue Chitto River directly adjoining the sanctuary. This species is listed as a federally threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and as a state endangered species by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

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Since 1993 the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, alone or in partnership with other conservation groups, has participated in the protection of more than 1.8 million acres of wildlife habitat in 37 states and seven foreign countries. On all properties owned by the Trust or protected by the Trust's conservation easement, both here and abroad, we prohibit recreational and commercial hunting and trapping and restrict logging and development. The Trust's commitment to these principles will never change as we continue to assist caring landowners to make their property permanent, safe homes for wildlife. Join our online community at wildlifelandtrust.org.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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