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Alaska's Game Board lobbied by exotic animal fans

Somewhere in Anchorage is Earl the cat: Outlaw.

A nosy 12-pound Bengal who likes sleeping and taking showers, Earl comes from a line of house cats that mated generations ago with an Asian leopard cat. That makes him something of a fugitive in Alaska, where it's illegal to own the offspring of a wild cat.

Also banned in Alaska: monkeys, sloths, finches, wallaroos and a host of other creatures that animal lovers are hoping to legalize this week at a Board of Game meeting in Anchorage.

The chance to amend the state's "clean list" of legal animals — which currently includes one-humped camels and chimpanzees, but not Earl — comes only once every four years, according to the Division of Wildlife Conservation.

The meeting starts today, with dozens of proposals that would change the way animals and hunting are regulated in Alaska. There's a call to loosen requirements for salvaging meat, borne from the prosecution of caribou hunters in Point Hope, and plans to tweak the rules for killing moose for use at ceremonial potlatches.

This year, prompted partly by the high-profile capture and ordered deportation of a hybrid Savannah cat named Simon in 2008, many of the proposals are from people who want to legally own exotic animals.

Laurie Sivertsen of Ketchikan has wanted a monkey since she was 16. Now a bookkeeper for a plumbing company, she's waited years for the chance to ask the Game Board to allow Alaskans to own Capuchins -- the kind of monkeys that used to scramble alongside organ grinders or that Ross owned on "Friends."

A Boston-based nonprofit called Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled has placed more than 130 Capuchins in homes over the past 30 years, said development coordinator Noelle Lafasciano.

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