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ANIMAL INSTINCTS : 5TH-GRADERS AID ENDANGERED SPECIES.

Byline: Enrique Rivero Daily News Staff Writer

At age 9, Jennie Bultema is already a veteran in the fight to save the world's endangered species.

Her concern began in kindergarten. Since then she has learned that some species of tiger are dangerously close to extinction, as are birds such as the blue-footed booby - a name that makes her giggle.

Although her initial impression that the elephant was in danger of extinction turned out to be wrong, she is concerned that rhinoceroses are routinely killed for their horns.

``I just sort of felt sad for the animals, so I got a bunch of my friends and started the Save the Animal Club,'' said Jennie, who will be a fifth-grader at Meadows Elementary School this fall.

The five-member group has been meeting once a week to talk about endangered animals and learn what they can do to help save them.

And in recent months the intrepid band has stepped up its efforts on behalf of the animal kingdom. The group has written a pair of letters to President Clinton urging him to do something to protect endangered animals and, on Saturday, it will hold its first big fund-raiser.

The focus of that event is Max, the silverback gorilla at the Santa Barbara Zoo. About 100 Meadows classmates, family and friends are expected to attend Saturday's fund-raiser, which is not open to the public.

The Save the Animal Club hopes to raise about $250 toward Max's upkeep.

The other members are Jean Parks, the club's vice president; Ellen Webb, treasurer; Christina Peck, secretary; and Allison Peck, alternate officer and Christina's twin sister.

Jennie's father, Jim, said he can't quite believe how much the youngsters have accomplished on their own. He also admires their tenacity in trying to contact President Clinton, who has not responded to their letters.

``They keep trying to bend his ear - it's very important to them,'' Bultema said.

Jean, whose mother is Planning Commissioner Linda Parks, said she joined because she has always liked animals and wants to make sure they're still around when she's older.

``Most animals are going to end up being extinct by the time I grow up,'' said Jean, 9. ``I want to change that so we can at least save a couple of those animals.''

Allison, 9, said she might want to be a veterinarian when she grows up, and what she's learning in the club will definitely help her if that's what she decides to do.

Like Jean, Allison joined because she wants to help the world's animals survive. ``And you're also around your best friends,'' she said.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: (color) Allison Peck, from left, Christina Peck, Jea n Parks, Jennie Bultema and Ellen Webb are planning a fund-raiser for Max, a silverback gorilla.

Dusty Locke/Special to the Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 3, 1996
Words:469
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