Off the wire: Week of Oct. 6th

Judge upholds state's deer feeding, baiting ban
LANSING, Mich. — An Ingham County circuit judge Thursday upheld Michigan's Lower Peninsula ban on the baiting and feeding of deer, imposed to combat the spread of chronic wasting disease.

Circuit Judge Joyce Draganchuk said the ban, issued Aug.26, came from a plan that had been "subjected to a great deal of scientific study." She said the Department of Natural Resources gave ample notice and allowed opponents time to object before the plan was adopted in 2002.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Dolphin gives boaters cuts, bruises on Florida's Intracoastal Waterway
EDGEWATER, Fla. — A woman is recovering in Florida after a dolphin hit her when it leaped aboard the boat she was in.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Tropical species also threatened by climate change
WASHINGTON — If you can't stand global warming, get out of the tropics. While the most significant harm from climate change so far has been in the polar regions, tropical plants and animals may face an even greater threat, say scientists who studied conditions in Costa Rica.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Western group petitions for species protection
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A tortoise, a hare, a mouse and a half-dozen mussels are some of the creatures that a conservation group hopes to save through a "Western Ark" project aimed at petitioning the government for federal protection.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Virginia shark's pup a 'virgin birth'
RICHMOND, Va. — Scientists have confirmed the second case of a "virgin birth" in a shark.

In a study reported Friday in the Journal of Fish Biology, scientists said DNA testing proved that a pup carried by a female Atlantic blacktip shark in the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center contained no genetic material from a male.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

British angler catches huge catfish in Spain
The fish was over 8 feet long, "fought like a bull" and is one of the biggest specimens ever caught in Europe.

Mr Melhuish, a 61-year-old coroner's officer, spent half an hour reeling in the 226lbs catch.
Read complete story from Telegraph.co.uk

Court wrestles with case on Navy sonar, whales
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court appeared divided Wednesday over how to resolve a long-running dispute over whether environmental laws may be used to limit the Navy's use of sonar to protect whales.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Scientists win Nobel for green jellyfish protein
Three U.S.-based scientists won a Nobel Prize on Wednesday for turning a glowing green protein from jellyfish into a revolutionary way to watch the tiniest details of life within cells and living creatures.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Yosemite National Park rock slide destroys cabins
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — Chunks of granite crashed to the Yosemite Valley floor in a cloud of dust Wednesday, injuring at least three people and destroying several cabins and trees at one of the park's most popular lodging areas, officials said.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

National Rifle Association endorses McCain
WASHINGTON — The National Rifle Association is endorsing Republican presidential nominee John McCain despite differences with the Arizona senator on gun-show rules and campaign finance restrictions.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Maine gun fetches $800,000 at auction
FAIRFIELD, Maine — Eighty-year-old John McBride whooped it up Tuesday when auctioneer James Julia announced the winning bid of $800,000 for McBride's great-great-uncle's Colt Walker .44 revolver.
Read complete story from Morning Sentinel

B.C. man kills black bear with club
A B.C. man bludgeoned a black bear to death with a stick after it attacked him near Green Lake in the Cariboo.
Read complete story from Canada's The Province

Google tool highlights protected marine areas
BARCELONA, Spain — Conservationists working with Google Inc. have unveiled a tool that lets people view protected marine areas with the click of a mouse — a bid to harness the Internet's top search engine to raise awareness of endangered ocean habitats.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Mich. townspeople blamed for moose's death
ISHPEMING, Mich. — An adult moose was shot and killed Monday when it became agitated after curious onlookers followed it around a Michigan town and authorities decided the animal posed a safety risk, police said.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Palin's Last Frontier life
WASILLA, Alaska — Palin and her husband, Todd, a champion snowmobiler racer, have all the trappings of that life: a coveted permit to fish salmon-rich Bristol Bay, a vast gun collection, a vintage float-plane and a fleet of gas-powered vehicles to roar through the wilderness.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Mom brings rabid bat to school
STEVENSVILLE, Mont. — About 90 elementary school students in Montana have started a series of rabies shots after a parent let them touch a dead bat that was later confirmed to be diseased.
Read complete story from the LaCrosse Tribune online

Chicago's electric carp barrier hits snag
The $9 million contraption designed to repel the jumbo — and jumping — Asian carp was finished nearly 2 1/2 years ago. Conceived in a desperate attempt to stop the fish that have already infested the middle of the continent from gobbling their way up a canal serving as an artificial link between the Mississippi River basin and the Great Lakes, it's not yet being used.
Read complete story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online

Brazil penguins flown home
SAO PAULO, Brazil — More than 370 penguins that mysteriously washed up on Brazil's equatorial beaches were flown south on a huge air force cargo plane and released closer to the frigid waters they call home, animal advocates said Monday.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Record alligator taken from Ga. river
FLINT RIVER, Ga. — A Cataula man and three friends nearly got more than they bargained for when an alligator hunt here near Campers Haven turned into a four-hour ordeal with a 680-pound monster that has been confirmed as the new state record.
Read complete story from the Cordele Dispatch

Thieves run off with rare polar bear rug
A Pompey, N.Y., man is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the return of his hunting trophies — including a rare polar bear skin — or the arrest and conviction of the thieves, after a break-in and burglary Friday morning.
Read complete story from the York Daily Record

Felton, Pa.-area man illegally sold deer meat
The Pennsylvania Game Commission said it has filed charges against a Felton-area butcher on suspicion he sold meat products that contained venison in violation of state law.
Read complete story from the Post-Standard

Woman rescues pet cat from mountain lion in home
PALO COLORADO, Calif. — A 73-year-old woman in a community near Big Sur rescued her pet cat from a mountain lion that invaded her home.
Read complete story from SFGate.com

1 in 4 mammals faces extinction
WASHINGTON — Conservationists have taken the first detailed look at the world's mammals in more than a decade, and the news isn't good.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Recordings aim to capture calls of the wild West
SALT LAKE CITY — Rattlesnakes aren't to be trifled with, but if you're trying to collect the sound of every creature in the West that slithers, hops, flies or flops, distance isn't a luxury you can afford.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Elderly turtle pair fails to produce offspring
SUZHOU, China — She's around 80 years old. He's 100. Breathless scientists watched as the world's most endangered turtles successfully mated.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Beaches once thick with birds quiet thanks to Ike
GILCHRIST, Texas — One of North America's renowned bird migration and bird watching areas is strangely silent. Blame Hurricane Ike.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Researchers find that tuna swim across Atlantic
WASHINGTON — Bluefin tuna from both sides of the Atlantic get together as juveniles, a discovery that could affect how the tuna fishery is managed. While North American and Mediterranean bluefin return home to spawn, a study published in Friday's edition of the journal Science reveals that as youngsters the fish travel long distances to intermix.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Ike environmental toll apparent
WASHINGTON — Hurricane Ike's winds and massive waves destroyed oil platforms, tossed storage tanks and punctured pipelines. The environmental damage only now is becoming apparent: At least a half million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and the marshes, bayous and bays of Louisiana and Texas, according to an analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

No hamsters or exotic pets for young kids
CHICAGO — Warning: young children should not keep hedgehogs as pets — or hamsters, baby chicks, lizards and turtles, for that matter — because of risks for disease.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Black bear gets a trip; kids get an education
Before Mark Rutkowski found the black bear Wednesday, he had captured and tagged him near Interstate 81 in Moosic in April and removed him again on Labor Day in Scranton.
Read complete story from The Scranton Times-Tribune in Scranton, Penn.

Moss Point hunter helps land state-record alligator
Jack Hamilton was one of 120 hunters who won a permit in the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks' annual lottery. His crew spotted two alligators early in their search, but couldn't reach either. After about an hour of hunting, they spotted the record gator, partially submerged.
Read complete story from The Mississippi Press

Stolen gun recovered 25 years later
A shotgun stolen from a Kalamazoo man's home nearly 25 years ago was recovered during a drug investigation in Van Buren County, police said.
Sheriff's deputies found the 12-gauge earlier this month at a residence in the 9000 block of 35th Street in Bloomingdale Township while investigating a possible methamphetamine lab, a news release from the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office said.
Read complete story from the Kalamazoo Gazette in Kalamazoo, Mich.