No Bird Is an Island

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Now Reillo must prove to the Dominican government that Rare Species actually has $750,000 to purchase the land. In the next few days, essentially all of Rare Species' money will be deposited into one bank account to come up with the purchase price. "We're consolidating money from all over the planet," Reillo notes. "We're penniless."

As we prepare to fly back to Miami, Reillo worries about his decision to purchase tickets for the Santana concert on Sunday. "I need to scalp those tickets for $100 each," he says.

On the day before Halloween, Paul Reillo drives to Miami International Airport with a notary public in tow. Minister Carbon is flying from Brazil to Dominica, but has a stopover in South Florida. Reillo hopes to waylay him in the airport so that they can officially sign the contract for the land purchase, thus avoiding another trip to Dominica. A fax was sent to Carbon alerting him to the rendezvous, but it's unclear if the message was received.

Around 6 p.m., over dinner at the airport, the contracts are signed and notarized. A few bureaucratic formalities are all that remain in the way for Morne Diablotin National Park to be officially established. The park will most likely be announced later this month at a ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary of the Dominican Forestry Division and then drafted into the country's constitution by the end of January.

The national park will not necessarily ensure the reclusive sisserou's survival, but it will at least protect the bird from man and machine. Nature unfortunately is beyond the Dominican government's and Reillo's control.

Contact Paul Demko at his e-mail address:

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Paul Demko
Contact: Paul Demko