Charla Nash has two glass eyes. They replaced her real eyes, which were ripped out by a chimpanzee named Travis in a brutal attack Feb. 16, 2009, in Stamford, Conn. Why does this matter to Missourians? Travis was born in Festus, on a chimp sanctuary that still exists. He was purchased for $50,000 by a Stamford couple, Sandra and Jerome Herold, when he was three days old. He had worked in commercials for Coca-Cola and Old Navy before he attacked Ms. Nash, a friend of the Herolds, tearing off most of her face and hands. Missouri didn't require his owners to obtain a permit. Missouri still has no laws against owning chimps or other dangerous primates.
Link: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A Northern California hiker says he is lucky to be alive after he was attacked by a mountain lion — and saved by a bear, the Paradise Post reports. Robert Biggs, 69, of Paradise, tells his hometown paper that he had stumbled upon a mother bear, a yearling and a newborn cub while hiking Monday above Whiskey Flats.
Link: USA Today
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials are battling an invasive species in the Keys they thought they got rid of years ago: Gambian rats — giant rodents the size of cats. The outbreak started around 2000, when a Keys resident who breed the 9-pound rats released 6 or 7, according to FWC. Ten years ago, they were often imported from their native Africa as pets until they were banned after a Monkey Pox outbreak in 2003.
Link: Huffington Post
Corvallis parks officials have decided that solving flooding caused by beavers at a local park will take a little engineering of their own. The Gazette-Times reports that for years beavers have caused flooding at the softball fields at Sunset Park from damming the Dunawi Creek. But now parks officials are planning to install pipes to keep the water in ponds at a manageable level.
The dinosaurs needed to go extinct for the mammals, and humans, to arise. At least that's what researchers have been thinking for decades. But a new study indicates that at least one group of ancient mammals was already expanding 20 million years before the dinosaurs were wiped from the Earth. Analysis of ancient mammal teeth indicates they were able to take off not because dinosaur die-off made way for them, but because they discovered a new food source that others weren't consuming.
Scientists have gotten their hands dirty in the name of closer study of snow leopards, one of the planet's most endangered big cats. Because it's notoriously difficult to get their hands on the elusive cats to learn about their movements and habits, the researchers had to settle for the next best thing: their poop. Studying their feces not only allows for DNA analysis, but also offers a glimpse of what the animals like to eat.
State Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, is supporting a bill that would increase restrictions on the use of leghold hunting traps. Connecticut House Bill 5324, drafted in part by Born Free USA, a California-based animal welfare group, would ban placement of the traps within 1,500 feet of areas likely to be visited by children including schools, playgrounds, and public boat launches. The legislation would also require trappers to report non-targeted catches to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection within 24 hours.
Link: Norwich (CT) Bulletin
The reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves to a mountain range just south of the U.S.-Mexico border as part of an effort to re-establish the endangered species is off to a rocky start. Correspondence between Mexican wildlife officials and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed Tuesday that four out of the five wolves released by Mexico's Environment Department last October are dead from poisoning.
Link: Huffington Post