Up, Up, and…Ach!

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Outside magazine, January 1996

Up, Up, and…Ach!
By Todd Balf and Paul Kvinta (with Brooke DeNisco, Martin Forstenzer, and Eileen Hansen)

“Party pollution!” exclaims Jim DeForge, decrying the thousands of helium balloons that revelers will unleash this New Year’s Eve. In a pointed attack, DeForge, executive director of the Desert Bighorn Institute, says three of the rare sheep in California’s southeastern deserts suffocated recently after swallowing balloons–possibly released from as far as 100 miles away in Los
Angeles. Scientists figure that the sheep mistake the colorful party favors for wildflowers, and DeForge, tired of finding dead bighorns with streamers dangling from their mouths, wants to outlaw helium balloons altogether. It’s too bad,” he moans, “that they have to be killed by something so meaningless.”

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