A new bill passed by the Assembly and Senate today would increase the restrictions and punishments concerning exotic animal owners in New York State. Owners would not be penalized with a fine for the intentional or negligent release of exotic animals and are required to report the release to law enforcement immediately. Adam Roberts, an exotic animals expert for the animal advocacy group Born Free USA, said mistreatment of animals and danger to the public are both at play.
At the start of the 1980s there were over a million elephants, during that decade 600,000 were destroyed for ivory products. Today perhaps no more than 400,000 remain across Africa, according to Samuel Wasser of the University of Washington, who is widely recognized as an authority on the subject. It is a tragedy beyond reckoning and humanity needs to pay attention to the plight of the elephants before it is too late.
Authorities say a bear had to be chased away after wandering into an Anchorage, AK, high school. Police say the small black bear on Wednesday wandered into Bartlett High School — home of the Golden Bears — through a door left open for construction workers. Police responded and searched the school for the bear. They found clues like knocked-over trash cans that contained food.
Link: Huffington Post
Cougars are again spreading across the Midwest a century after the generally reclusive predators were hunted to near extinction in much of the region, according to a new study billed as the first rigorous statistical look at the issue. The findings, detailed in The Journal of Wildlife Management, showed 178 cougar confirmations in the Midwest and as far south as Texas between 1990 and 2008. While confirmed sightings of Midwest cougars were sporadic before 1990, when there were only a couple, that number spiked to more than 30 by 2008, the study shows.
Link: Huffington Post
State biologists are asking residents of the San Bernardino Mountains to help track Western gray squirrels that have been hit hard by a deadly skin disease. Reports on current and past sightings of the iconic mountain animal will help researchers with the California Department of Fish and Game gauge how the animals are coping with mange caused by a specific species of mites.
A pet monkey that endured years of heartbreaking cruelty has finally found a loving home at a primate sanctuary in Dilley, Texas. Officials at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary said the long-tailed macaque was never let out of his small cage to exercise in the 10 years he lived with his former owner in Michigan. The former owners even allegedly got JR high on marijuana and drunk off booze.
West Virginia preacher Mark Randall "Mack" Wolford, who believed Christians should handle snakes to test their faith, died after a rattlesnake bit him over the weekend. Wolford was bitten on the thigh about 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon, but he didn't come to the hospital until 10:30 p.m., a nursing supervisor at Bluefield Regional Medical Center told the Charleston Daily Mail. The incident occurred during an outdoor service at Panther State Forest, about 80 miles west of Bluefield in southern West Virginia, the paper said. Wolford had turned 44 on Saturday. He had seen his father die of a snakebite when he was teenager, the Daily Mail reported.
A disease that has killed millions of hibernating bats in the United States has been detected for the first time in endangered gray bats in Tennessee, a finding that government scientists on Tuesday described as "devastating."
Link: Yahoo! News