Environment & Nature

The Girl Scouts of Suffolk County and the Little Scientists club joined county Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), Heritage Trust, the Long Island Native Plant Initiative and members of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension to plant local native species in Anker’s Educational Agriculture Support Initiative pilot garden Tuesday at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai.

The Girl Scouts, alongside their younger counterparts from the Little Scientists club, got down in the dirt and planted several native plants, including various types of milkweed which attract monarch butterflies and other native pollinators to the area.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, monarch butterflies and other native pollinators to Long Island have decreased in numbers by more than 80 percent in the past two decades. Native bee populations are also on the decline. With this decline in native pollinators, Anker hopes to educate people about the importance of native plants and pollinators in the environment.

But before members of the LINPI and Cornell Cooperative Extension helped the Girl Scouts and Little Scientists plant flowers and plants in the pilot garden, Anker gathered the children and tested their knowledge on the importance of native plants and pollinators.

Michelle Skoblicki created the Little Scientists club four years ago. The program caters to children from pre-K to fifth grade, and its goal, according to Skoblicki, is to provide these kids with a means to expand their knowledge about science through hands-on activities, literature and art.

Skoblicki recently taught the kids about life cycles using butterflies, and hopes to release the butterflies they raised in the pilot garden by the end of the week.

“We were hoping to have them ready for the garden but they were still in their chrysalises,” Skoblicki said.

Members of the Girl Scouts also helped plant native plants in the garden; and Maris Lynch, who is involved in her third event as a Girl Scout, was simply happy to help.

The launch was the first event for Girl Scouts Analynn Bisiani and Lindsey Galligan. Bisiani said she was happy to participate and was having fun.

“I would definitely do this again,” Bisiani said.

Galligan was one of several kids who grasped Anker’s message.

“Plant are … a very important part of our community,” Galligan said. “They help insects which help us — and that’s that.”

Anker was excited for the launch and hopes to continue spreading the word about the importance of pollinators and the native plants they need.

“When your kids, when your grandkids or great grandkids are here at the park, I want them to experience everything that I’m experiencing now,” the county legislator said. “If we don’t do something now, we’ll loose this forever.”

Officials celebrate the installation of a new septic system in Nesconset. Photo from Bellone’s office

Nineteen households won, but one winner on Laura Court in Nesconset was the first to reap the benefits.

The county installed its first advanced on-site septic system last Thursday, Aug. 20, via the Suffolk County Advanced Septic Pilot Program Lottery as part of the Reclaim Our Water initiative to improve water quality, restore natural storm barriers and implement on-site wastewater treatment systems. County Executive Steve Bellone (D) called it a significant step in improving the quality of water on Long Island.

“This pilot program will demonstrate the benefits of protecting one of our great natural resources and will provide individual homeowners as well as the rest of Suffolk County an opportunity to improve both the environment of their homes as well as that of Suffolk County,” he said.

The 19 systems were donated by four national manufacturers: Hydro-Action Industries, BUSSE Green Technologies, Norweco and Orenco Systems. The advanced wastewater treatment systems are valued at up to $15,000 per system.

By Rachel Siford & Heidi Sutton

Thirteen-year-old Jessica Finger has loved dolphins all her life. Now, in celebration of International Dolphin Day, which is held every year in September, she is giving back by organizing a unique fundraising event on Sunday, Aug. 30, to help them. Titled Dogs for Dolphins, the event is part of her Bat Mitzvah community service project.

Jessica Finger. Photo from Beth Finger
Jessica Finger. Photo from Beth Finger

It is customary for a community service project to go hand in hand with a Bat Mitzvah, along with Hebrew school and learning about the Jewish faith. Her Bat Mitzvah is scheduled for October.

Jessica has a very strong stance on anti-captivity of these beautiful sea creatures. “I’ve been passionate about helping dolphins and whales since I was really little,” said Jessica. “I started to like them because of SeaWorld, but then I realized the truth and now I am an activist against [SeaWorld].”

“[Dolphins] are just more intelligent than other mammals … they live with their families for their entire lives and they are very interesting,” said Jessica, adding that killer whales (orcas) have a special place in her heart. Her favorite book is “Behind the Dolphin Smile” by former dolphin trainer Richard O’Barry.

Her mother Beth said that Jessica became even more passionate about saving dolphins after watching “The Cove.” The 2009 documentary shows O’Barry exposing Japan’s massive dolphin slaughter that takes place in the town of Taiji by local fisherman annually from September through April. The group Whale and Dolphin Conservation has stated that, since 2000, more than 18,000 dolphins from seven different species have been either killed or taken into captivity during the Taiji hunt.

According to the teenager, “it changed my life ever since. I now use Instagram to be an activist for dolphins in captivity and for giving updates about the infamous ‘Cove’ in Japan,” she said.

Barry went on to found The Dolphin Project, which aims to stop the murder and exploitation of dolphins around the world. Jessica found out about this organization about a year ago through social media and decided to raise money to support this noble cause. With a goal of $750, she has already raised $336.

Jessica and her mother completed a six-hour training course at the Long Island Aquarium this summer and now volunteer at the Riverhead tourist attraction where they interact with guests and provide them with interesting facts about the animals there. Jessica’s favorite job is working at the touch tank where visitors can have a hands-on encounter with sea stars, clams, whelks, hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs.

“I agreed to volunteer with Jessica since it’s something that she desperately wanted. I have to admit that I am enjoying it very much and look forward to it as much as she does. I am constantly amazed at how knowledgeable she is about marine life. We are excited to volunteer at a seal release on Monday, Aug. 31, at Cedar Beach in Mt. Sinai,” said her mother, adding “It’s also a great way for us to have some meaningful mother-daughter time.” Members of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation will be at the event to speak about how they rehabilitate marine life.

A true animal lover, Jessica lives in Nesconset with her parents, two younger brothers, a dog named Summer, two rabbits, three tortoises, a frog and tropical fish. Jessica said her goal in life is to “be either a marine biologist or a member of The Dolphin Project.”

“I am very proud of Jessica for her compassion for all animals. She has deep integrity at such a young age. Her love for animals led her to become a vegetarian when she was only eight years old — she will not wear leather or even enjoy marshmallows and S’mores with her friends because there is gelatin [an animal product] in them,” said Jessica’s mom. Her stance has “inspired several of her friends to become vegetarians too,” she added.

“It is appropriate that the occasion of her Bat Mitzvah, when she takes on the role of being a responsible young adult, was the impetus for Jessica to bring the community together to help make the world a better place. In Judaism, we call that Tikkun Olam, and I can’t think of a better way for Jessica to launch this next chapter of her life as a Bat Mitzvah,” said her mother proudly.

On Aug. 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Jessica invites the community to bring their dogs along with friends and family to the Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard, 2114 Sound Ave., Calverton, for a walk through the trails of the vineyard to support a great cause.

The walk will be followed by lunch, a pie tasting, activities for kids and dogs, crafts and wine. Patrons will be able to decorate bandanas for their dogs and play games. Massage gift certificates, gift cards to restaurants and cooking classes at Sur la Table will be raffled off during the afternoon.

The event is sponsored by Animal Health and Wellness Veterinary Care in Setauket, Pet Supplies Plus and Long Island Iced Tea, and patrons can expect an endless supply of free ice tea and pet treats.

There is a $10 per person suggested donation at the door (includes lunch) with 100 percent of the proceeds going to support The Dolphin Project (www.dolphinproject.net). There is no rain date. Advance registration is available by  visiting www.crowdrise.com/dogsfordolphins. For more information, please call 917-414-4526.

By Elof Carlson

William Bateson (1861-1926) grew up in an academic home and attended Cambridge University where he took an interest in embryology. He went to Johns Hopkins University to learn the new experimental approaches and insights into the cellular events leading to embryo formation. While there, he was inspired by William Keith Brooks who urged him to study heredity if he wanted to contribute to a field in need of scientific rigor.

When he returned to England, Bateson studied variations and identified two types that were unusual. He called one group homeotic changes because they put organs in the wrong place, such as a fly’s leg emerging from an eye. The other group he called meristic variations, which duplicated parts, like a child born with six fingers on each hand and foot. Both meristic and homeotic mutations were considered pathological by most breeders and physicians, but Bateson believed they could be the raw material for new organ systems or more dramatic origins of new species. He published the results of this work in 1894, and it made him regarded as an enemy by British Darwinists who favored all mutational change as gradual and never sudden.

In 1900 Bateson read Mendel’s papers and was immediately won over to his approach. He began studying mutations in plants and animals. He also gave a name (in 1906) to this new field and called it genetics. Bateson used the symbols P1, F1 and F2 for the generations of a cross. He used the terms homozygous and heterozygous for the genotype of the individuals in a cross. He described the mutant and normal states of hereditary units as alleles.

Bateson discovered blending types of inheritance and genetic interaction in which two or more nonallelic genes could jointly affect a trait. He even found (but did not correctly interpret) non-Mendelian recombination of genes. In this he was scooped by Thomas Hunt Morgan and his students. Morgan was also a student of Brooks at Johns Hopkins and, like Bateson, originally skeptical of Darwinian subtle variations as the basis for all of evolution. But Morgan added cytology to his studies and related the hereditary units (called genes after 1909) to the chromosomes on which they resided.

Bateson felt chromosomes had little to do with genetic phenomena. He was wrong and it was not until the 1920s that he grudgingly admitted Morgan’s fly lab had advanced the field of genetics he named.

Bateson’s work led to an explosion of interest in the field of genetics, and, while he was trapped by his views of the time, younger scientists had no difficulty adding genes to chromosomes, mapping them and accounting for the transmission of traits through their behavior during cell division and germ cell production.

In 1910 Bateson was probably the most famous geneticist in the world. By 1920 he was fading, and after his death in 1926, he was largely forgotten to all but historians of science.

That is not uncommon in the history of science. Science changes faster than any individual scientist can change views in a lifetime. Despite the loss of prestige, it is fitting to honor the memory of the person who named the field of genetics and whose battles to make Mendelism its core succeeded over the prevailing views of heredity at the end of the nineteenth century.

Elof Axel Carlson is a distinguished teaching professor emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University.

Mountains of mulch dwarf Councilman Dan Panico, Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro and Supervisor Ed Romaine at the Brookhaven Town highway yard in Setauket. Photo from Brookhaven Town

The severe thunderstorm that slapped around the North Shore earlier this month had one benefit: Lots of debris leads to lots of mulch.

Brookhaven Town officials announced recently that the town now has a large supply of mulch to give away to residents, and both mulch and compost will be distributed for free, as supplies last. Residents must bring their own containers to the distribution locations throughout the town and must load the materials into their vehicles themselves.

Pickup locations, which opened for distribution on Aug. 24, include:

Percy Raynor park, at Route 347 and Belle Mead Road in Centereach, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekend.

Rose Caracappa Senior Center on Route 25A in Mount Sinai, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekend.

Brookhaven Town Hall’s south parking lot, off 1 Independence Hill in Farmingville, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Robert Reid park, at Defense Hill Road and Route 25A in Shoreham, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekend.

Holtsville Ecology Center, on Buckley Road in Holtsville, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information and pickup locations, call 631-451-TOWN.

To date, 80 mosquitoes and seven birds test positive for virus in Suffolk

Stock photo

Nine more mosquitos and two birds have tested positive for West Nile virus in various neighborhoods across Suffolk County, Health Commissioner Dr. James L. Tomarken announced on Monday.

The mosquito samples, collected from Aug. 11 to 14, hailed from Huntington, Selden, West Babylon, Bay Shore, Holbrook, Farmingville and Watch Hill on Fire Island. A crow collected on Aug. 14 from Stony Brook and a blue jay, collected on Aug. 18 from Smithtown, also tested positive for the virus.

To date, this year Suffolk’s total West Nile count comes to 80 mosquitos and seven birds. No humans or horses have tested positive for the virus in Suffolk this year.

First detected in birds and mosquito samples in Suffolk in 1999, and again each year thereafter, the virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.

While Dr. Tomarken said there’s no cause for alarm, the county is urging residents to reduce exposure to he virus, which “can be debilitating to humans.”

“The breed of mosquito known as Culex pipiens-restuans lay their eggs in fresh water-filled containers, so dumping rainwater that collects in containers around your house is important,” he said.

Residents should try to eliminate stagnant water where mosquitos breed, in order to reduce the mosquito population around homes. That includes: disposing of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers; removing discarded tires; cleaning clogged gutters; turning over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when they’re not being used; changing the water in bird baths; and draining water from pool covers.

Most people infected with West Nile will experience mild or no symptoms, but some can develop sever symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. The symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. Individuals — especially those 50 years of age or older or those with compromised immune systems, who are most at risk — are urged to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Residents are advised to avoid mosquito bites by minimizing outdoor activities between dusk and dawn; wearing shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitos are more active; using mosquito repellant when outdoors and following label directions carefully; making sure all windows and doors have screens and that all screens are in good condition.

To report dead birds, call the West Nile virus hotline in Suffolk County at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Residents are encouraged to take a photograph of any bird in question.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

For medical questions related to West Nile virus, call 631-854-0333.

Eugene the hedgehog is enjoying a new diet to help him lose weight. Photo by Rachel Siford

By Rachel Siford

Even hedgehogs need to watch their calories.

Nesconset native Brianna Stiklickas went from being an extreme soccer player with recruitment offers from 40 different colleges to starting her own business to benefit her beloved exotic pet. The 22-year-old college sophomore and The Stony Brook School graduate recently celebrated a successful Kickstarter campaign in which she raised more than $12,000 to boost her new business, Meet Eugene, named after her hedgehog.

A severe leg injury forced her to the sidelines, but it was a blessing in disguise as Stiklickas found a new passion: to save Eugene from what his veterinarian diagnosed as severe obesity in the 3-year-old African pygmy hedgehog.

“Once I stopped being so heavy-duty with the sports, I really started to get into my academics,” Stiklickas said. “That’s when I first came up with the idea of Meet Eugene, an exotic pet food company.”

Her breeder originally said to feed Eugene high-quality cat food, as most hedgehog owners do, but through a lot of research, Stiklickas said she realized that it causes issues like obesity — one of the top health problems in hedgehogs. Hedgehogs typically live about four to six years, but if fed properly and taken care of, can live to up to nine. And with hopes of pushing that number, Stiklickas started an Instagram account called Meet Eugene months before she even decided to start her own company. All of a sudden, she found herself with 700 followers and counting; thus the name of her company was born. Today she has more than 1,200 followers.

She formulated HealthHog, a grain-free hedgehog food fortified with vitamins and minerals to support the hedgehog’s digestive and immune system, rather than a cat or dog’s.

“Just because something is a premium price, doesn’t mean it is a premium product,” Stiklickas said. “And I found that out the hard way.”

Stiklickas went to Babson College, one of the top schools in the country for entrepreneurship, where she learned to develop her company in class with the help of her professors and classmates.

Brianna Stiklickas and her pet, Eugene, spend quality time together. Photo by Rachel Siford
Brianna Stiklickas and her pet, Eugene, spend quality time together. Photo by Rachel Siford

“Throughout college, I worked five jobs, was on two sports teams, was a full-time student and was starting a business, so being able to use my company in class really benefitted me,” Stiklickas said.

She researched hedgehogs for two years with veterinarians, then moved on to market research when she sent out surveys to hedgehog communities online and to breeders. Stiklickas started looking on the market for hedgehog foods, and the few she found had ingredients that were not healthy, like blood meal, which is indigestible by most animals.

She made Eugene’s food from scratch and saw what he did well on, then worked with a food scientist to see if she could get it ready to manufacture. Since she put her hedgehog on this new diet, he started shedding the weight.

Stiklickas recently achieved her goal of $12,000 from her Kickstarter campaign, so she can manufacture and sell HealthHog, which she hopes to have ready in about four months.

“I want a food that’s actually made for them and not just made for profit,” Stiklickas said. “I realized how much of an issue it really was across the nation.”

With help from her classes as well as two start-up incubators, WIN Lab and Babson Summer Venture Program, she developed three parts to her company.

First, she has “For the Pet,” which includes the HealthHog food, accessories, cages and toys she is developing currently. Then, she has “For the Owner,” which will be a lifestyle brand for owners. And lastly, she has the “Education” section, which includes Meet and Greets, educational programing, and 4 children’s books she also wrote while at Babson.

She said she plans to host educational programs at libraries and schools to teach children and their parents how exotic animals, like hedgehogs, sugar gliders, chinchillas and prairie dogs, are as pets.

“A huge part of my company is not just trying to improve the lives of these animals, but is also trying to educate people so they know how to treat the animals,” Stiklickas said.

Stiklickas reminisced back to when she was little and used to make up companies. At first, she said, she wanted to do marketing, then finance. She later realized that entrepreneurship combined all the things she loved to do.

Working for five different startups throughout college also encouraged her that she had what it took.

“As much as I thought about starting my own company, I never thought I’d do it,” Stiklickas said.

Stiklickas’ dream, she said, is to do this full time and open the next exotic pet brand, but unfortunately she might have to take a job eventually because of college loans.

“Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle; it definitely takes a special type of person to work everyday on a company that may or may not be successful,” Stiklickas said.

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Radishes only take 30 days to mature so you can easily plant them for at least another month. Stock photo

By Ellen Barcel

Just because we’re so far into summer, you don’t have to make the assumption that the season is over for growing vegetables. There are many you can plant by mid-August that will mature by Long Island’s earliest frost date — early November — unless you have a microclimate in your area that is much colder than the rest of the island. There are even veggies that you can start growing as late as mid-September.

The rule of thumb for fall planting is to look up the maturity date of the plants you wish to grow — 30 days, for example, for radishes. Then count backward. The last date you can plant radishes then would be the end of September or the very beginning of October. To be on the safe side, figure the middle of September, instead. Always check the package maturity date because different varieties can vary tremendously. Early varieties of beets can mature by 50 days while later varieties can take up to 80 days; early carrots 60 days while later ones up to 85.

Veggies that you can plant in mid-August include bush beans (early varieties mature in 45 days, late varieties in 65 days), early cabbage (60 days), cucumbers (60 days), mustard greens (40 days),  peas (60 days), spinach (40 days) and turnips (40 days). Early carrots (50 days), kohlrabi (45 to 60 days) and leaf lettuce (40 to 50 days).

Some varieties of beans will mature in just 45 days. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Some varieties of beans will mature in just 45 days. Photo by Ellen Barcel

Remember that all of the above are averages. An unusually hot September may affect your veggies negatively. An unusually early frost may do the same thing. But, this is what farmers from way back have had to contend with.  You plant based on the averages but Mother Nature may have other plans.

The Year Without a Summer, 1816, was called that because there was frost in every one of the 12 months of the year. The eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, spewing ash into the atmosphere and blocking the sun the year before, is credited with this phenomenon. But, we don’t need a drastic event to affect our garden. We gardeners know the damage to our plants caused by the cold and snow of the last two winters.

On the other hand, frost could be late. I remember a few years ago, putting out my Christmas wreath next to the geraniums, which were not only alive but still blooming.

So, go ahead and plant a late season vegetable garden and cross your fingers that Mother Nature cooperates to give you a bountiful fall harvest.

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

Town and state officials oppose plans to continue dumping dredge waste into the Long Island Sound. File photo

Town and state officials gathered at Cedar Beach on Monday in opposition to the plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to continue dumping dredge waste into the Long Island Sound.

The organizations were dumping dredge spoils into the Connecticut River, which spills into the Sound. According to Sen. Ken LaValle spokesman Greg Blower, town and state officials are not sure what chemicals or sediments were disposed of in the river, especially with the variety of manufacturing facilities around that area.

Ten years ago, the organizations were asked to create a plan that would propose an alternative area where they could dump the waste. Officials including Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R), Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point), Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) received the plan at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to Anthony Graves, the town’s chief environmental analyst.

Originally, the officials only had seven days to make public comment on the 1,300-page plan, but after Romaine brought this into question, the date was altered, allowing people to make their comments until Oct. 5.

Graves said the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA were told in 2005 to create this report, which didn’t address the concerns of town and state officials. According to Bonner, those organizations recommended continuing to deposit the waste in the Sound.

Bonner said, “We have better technology now and we know dredge spoils can be repurposed for capping landfills.”

While there are alternative dumping sites, such as abandoned mines and landfills, Romaine said the organizations opted for a cheaper way.

“The only reason why the Army Corps of Engineers is recommending it is because it’s the cheapest method,” Romaine said. “Shame on them.”

Romaine said the spoils have compromised marine life, including a decline in the fish and shellfish population. He added that the spoils are most heavily contributing to the lobster die-off in the water. Even though the dumping of the waste is from Connecticut, Romaine said, “water bodies like the Sound don’t respect state boundary lines.”

According to Graves, around $1.7 million was spent cleaning the Sound. LaValle said these efforts were a waste of money because the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA continued to dump dredge waste in the water during the cleanup.

“The two measures really don’t make sense and we have spent 10 years and all that money,” LaValle said. “[It] shows lack of common sense. I think the only thing it did was keep some researchers occupied for 10 years.”

There are two local public hearings, one on Monday, Aug. 24, in Port Jefferson’s Village Center and the other on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale. There will also be hearings in Connecticut.

Registration is required to attend the meetings, and comments can be forwarded no later than Oct. 5.

“We live on an island,” Romaine said. “Many of the waterways on our island are already impacted. We don’t need any more impaired waterways. We need to start improving the Long Island Sound.”

Tommy the chimp looks through his cage upstate. Photo from Nonhuman Rights Project

The two chimpanzees housed at Stony Brook University will not be granted the personhood necessary to allow them to challenge their captivity, a state Supreme Court judge ruled in an animal rights advocacy group’s lawsuit against the school.

Justice Barbara Jaffe ruled in her July 30 decision that Hercules and Leo, the two male chimps used for research at Stony Brook University’s Department of Anatomical Sciences, would not be granted a “writ of habeas corpus,” as petitioned for in the Nonhuman Rights Project’s suit against the university. The animal rights group had petitioned the judge with hopes of forcing the university to move the chimps to the Florida-based Save the Chimps animal sanctuary.

“The similarities between chimpanzees and humans inspire the empathy felt for a beloved pet,” Jaffe said in her decision. “Efforts to extend legal rights to chimpanzees are thus understandable; someday they may even succeed. For now, however, given the precedent to which I am bound it is hereby ordered that the petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied.”

Jaffe cited previous suits the Nonhuman Rights Project had headed up, including one referencing a chimpanzee named Tommy who was being held through Circle L Trailers in Gloversville, NY. In that case, the Fulton County Supreme Court dismissed the Nonhuman Rights Project’s appeal to have the chimp released.

Steven Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, said his group was still looking forward to appealing Jaffe’s decision to the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division’s first judicial department.

“Unlike Justice Jaffe, [the first judicial department] is not bound by the decision of the Third Department in Tommy’s case,” Wise said in a statement.

Despite the judge’s ruling, Susan Larson, an anatomical sciences professor at SBU, previously said both Hercules and Leo will retire from the facility’s research center and be gone by September. Larson did not return requests for comment.

The Nonhuman Rights Project, however, said it would work to ensure the chimps are released to a sanctuary nevertheless.

“We applaud Stony Brook for finally doing the right thing,” Lauren Choplin of the Nonhuman Rights Project wrote on the group’s website. “We have made it clear that we remain willing to assist Stony Brook in sending Hercules and Leo to Save the Chimps in Ft. Pierce, Florida, where we have arranged for them to be transferred, or to have an appropriate member sanctuary of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance, as we did in Tommy’s case. We have made it equally clear that, if Stony Brook attempts to move Hercules and Leo to any other place, we will immediately seek a preliminary injunction to prevent this move pending the outcome of all appeals, as we succeeded in doing in Tommy’s case last year.”

New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana owns the chimps, and their next destination was not clear.

The court first ordered the school to show cause and writ of habeas corpus — a command to produce the captive person and justify their detention — but struck out the latter on April 21, one day after releasing the initial order, making it a more administrative move simply prompting the university to defend why it detains the animals.

In an earlier press release from 2013, the Nonhuman Rights Project said the chimpanzee plaintiffs are “self-aware” and “autonomous” and therefore should have the same rights as humans. Hercules and Leo are currently being used in a locomotion research experiment in SBU’s Department of Anatomical Sciences.

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