Off the wire: Week of Oct. 13

Record alligator taken from Flint 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

Two deer test positive for chronic wasting disease
SHERIDAN, Wyo. — Two hunter-harvested buck mule deer in northeast Wyoming have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Read complete story from the Star-Tribune

Dog eats bra inserts and lives to bark about it
Crawford, a 2-year-old Brittany, has the honor of being the most recent winner of an unusual insurance claims contest. It's a distinction he earned after a snack of gel inserts from his owner's bra sent him to the veterinarian's office with some gastrointestinal issues.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Ornery wild boar ignores Hernando deputy's Taser blasts
Memo to law enforcement: It takes more than a Taser to stop a wild boar.

Hernando sheriff's Deputy Joseph Tibor made that discovery Tuesday morning on Sage Thrasher Road in the Royal Highlands subdivision, after responding to reports of an "extremely large pig" tearing up a resident's yard.
Read complete story from the St. Petersburg Times

Whale sanctuary becomes law in Chile
SANTIAGO, Chile — Chile has turned all of its Pacific Ocean territorial waters into a whale sanctuary.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Wolves back on endangered list in Northern Rockies
BILLINGS, Mont. — A judge has put gray wolves in the Northern Rockies back on the endangered species list about seven months after the federal government took them off.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Bush to help open national parks to mountain bikes
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration plans to make it easier for mountain bikers to gain access to national parks and other public lands before the president — an avid cyclist himself — leaves office.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Mandela's former prison hit by rabbit infestation
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Robben Island, the wind-swept site where Nelson Mandela spent so many years in jail, has been home to thousands of lepers and political prisoners. But now it's struggling to cope with its latest inhabitants — rabbits.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

NY trio charged in theft of exotic hunting pelts
POMPEY, N.Y. — A 38-year-old man and two teenagers have been charged with breaking into an upstate New York hunter's home and stealing his collection of big-game animal pelts, including a rare polar bear skin rug.
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

Bloody battle on board after fisherman hooks reef shark
An Australian fisherman says he lost "liters" of blood from a gash in his leg after an encounter with a shark off Darwin Harbour. Geoff Johnson, 50, needed 30 stitches in his right leg after his run-in with a nearly six-foot reef shark he hooked while out fishing with his partner Jacky Lamb.Johnson, of Wanguri, reeled in the fish and tried to grab it by the tail so he could free the hook from its mouth.
Read complete story from FOX News

Biologists who find pot garden held at gunpoint
Three Bureau of Land Management biologists were held at gunpoint by members of a Mexican drug cartel after stumbling upon a marijuana garden in a remote area of Northern Nevada on Tuesday. The biologists were surveying the north fork of the Little Humboldt River, near the Nevada-Oregon border, when they suddenly found themselves in a marijuana garden about 4 p.m., BLM spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said. Three Spanish-speaking people confronted the biologists and held them up at gunpoint for about 10 minutes.
Read complete story from the Las Vegas Review-Journal

Mexican marijuana cartels sully US forests, parks
PORTERVILLE, Calif. — National forests and parks — long popular with Mexican marijuana-growing cartels — have become home to some of the most polluted pockets of wilderness in America because of the toxic chemicals needed to eke lucrative harvests from rocky mountainsides, federal officials said.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Kenya's elephants send text messages to rangers
OL PEJETA, Kenya — The text message from the elephant flashed across Richard Lesowapir's screen: Kimani was heading for neighboring farms. The huge bull elephant had a long history of raiding villagers' crops during the harvest, sometimes wiping out six months of income at a time. But this time a mobile phone card inserted in his collar sent rangers a text message.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Endangered Miss. frogs get a break in the weather
NEW ORLEANS — Pick up a Mississippi gopher frog and it covers its eyes with its forefeet, like someone afraid to see what's coming next. And for at least a decade, it's had a good reason not to look. This year, for a change, nature gave a bit of a break to one of the nation's most endangered species.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Lost manatee rescued in Mass. dies on trip to Fla.
BOSTON — An animal welfare official says a wayward manatee that was rescued from cold Cape Cod waters died on the way home to Florida. Chris Cutter of the International Fund for Animal Welfare says the juvenile male manatee died Sunday outside Orlando. The cause of death will be investigated.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

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