Off the wire

Commission agrees to cut tuna catches in Pacific
A commercial fishing commission agreed Friday to cut the catches of bigeye tuna in parts of the Pacific Ocean, a small step in an effort to save a threatened species that is a favorite among sushi lovers.
Read complete story from Connecticut's The News-Times

N.C. woman reels in huge black drum
Catching a state-record fish is the dream of some anglers. Catching world-record fish, an improbable feat, is the pinnacle of sport fishing achievement in the eyes of many. Gwen Frazier may have done both recently, but we'll never know, because she let the fish go.
Read complete story from North Carolina's The News & Observer

Bush revises protections for endangered species
Just six weeks before President-elect Barack Obama takes office, the Bush administration issued revised endangered species regulations Thursday to reduce the input of federal scientists and to block the law from being used to fight global warming.
Read complete story from Connecticut's The News-Times

Cod gets new lease of life in North Sea
The European Union and Norway joined forces Thursday to permit larger catches of cod in the North Sea while still increasing protection for the commercially endangered fish by tackling waste.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Super-ant taking over Europe
An ant species that originated in the Black Sea region has invaded more than 100 areas across Europe and is moving north. Scientists say if it is not stopped, it will reach northern Germany, Scandinavia and Britain and could invade the whole world.
Read complete story from LiveScience.com

Owner of big cat who bit N.J. Santa comes forward
Santa Claus won't need rabies shots after all. It turns out that a large kitty that drew blood after biting a volunteer Santa Claus at a charity event in New Jersey had been properly vaccinated.
Read complete story from Oregon's The News Review

One state's gain, another's loss in flood program
Gulf Coast states have collected billions of dollars more in federal flood insurance claims than they have paid into the system over the past 30 years, while states like Florida and California have paid far more than they have received.
Read complete story from Massachusetts' The Herald News

Committee to urge inventory of nation's levees
The United States needs a complete inventory of all levees and a national safety standard for the last line of defense against floods, say members of the National Committee on Levee Safety.
Read complete story from Massachusetts' The Herald News

Va. man shot while hunting
A hunter who was killed Saturday in Greene County appeared to have been shot by one of his fellow hunters after being mistaken for a deer, according to Virginia's Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Read complete story from Virginia's InsideNoVa.com

Agents see spike in La. night hunting
November's Enforcement Division report during a recent Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting showed field agents issued 94 citations to hunters taking game native to the state during "illegal hours." The report shows agents also issued nine citations to hunters taking migratory birds, mostly ducks, after legal shooting hours in the month of November.
Read complete story from Louisiana's The Daily Advertiser

Feds laud conservation deal with private entities
The federal government signed agreements Monday with an oil and gas company and a rancher to help protect two rare New Mexico species, deals that federal officials hope will pave the way for cooperative conservation efforts across the country.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Wis. hunters, official bicker over number of deer
Now that the gun deer season is over, hunters are second guessing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' estimates on the deer population. DNR wildlife biologist Keith Warnke says he gets many messages from hunters that say the agency is overestimating the size of the deer herd and risking permanent damage to the population by encouraging more hunting through relaxed regulations.
Read complete story from the Chicago Tribune

Mo. men cited for illegal hunting in La. parish
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two Missouri men on Nov. 26 for several deer hunting violations in Union Parish.
Read complete story from Louisiana's TheNewsStar.com

Species name auction offers wild holiday gift idea
Searching for a truly original holiday gift, one that could bestow a bit of immortality on a loved one or a friend? If so, Purdue University has the goods: The school is auctioning the naming rights to seven newly discovered bats and two turtles. Winning bidders will be able to link a relative, friend or themselves to an animal's scientific name for the ages.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Jeff King to pay fine, restitution in Denali Park illegal hunting case
Iditarod champion musher Jeff King was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and another $750 in restitution to the National Park Service on Friday for illegally killing a moose just inside Denali National Park and Preserve more than a year ago.
Read complete story from the Newsminer.com

Study: Idaho wolves hitting cow elk hard
Idaho Fish and Game biologists have established that wolves are the primary cause of death of radio-collared cow elk in the Lolo hunting zone, where cow elk numbers are projected to be shrinking by 13 percent a year.
Read complete story from the Billings Gazette

Service Increases Inspection Fees, Sets New Requirements for Wildlife Trade
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is increasing inspection fees for import and export of wildlife, and wildlife products, in order to recover more of the costs of inspecting shipments from those who use these services. The Service is also adding new fees for certain types of shipments and eliminating some exemptions from import/export license and inspection fee requirements.
Read complete story from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Farmer Kills What Could Be Record-Setting Black Bear
A big black bear killed in northern Dunn Co. could prove to be a record-breaker.

This bear was killed last month near Boyceville. The bear was hibernating in a corn field when a farmer ran over it with his combine. The farmer's wife says the bear measured seven feet long from head to tail and weighed more than 700 pounds.
Read complete story from WQOQ.com

Deer crashes in on Coopersville East Elementary
It was a 25-second science lesson in animal behavior that Leslie Vanlet's third-graders won't forget.

Others would call Monday's exercise -- a six-point buck shattering a double-pane window and running across a classroom -- a lesson in controlling chaos.
Read complete story from mlive.com

Wildlife officer tranquilizes coyote at Sears Hardware in Northampton Crossings
A coyote entered the Sears Appliance and Hardware store in the Northampton Crossings shopping center in Lower Nazareth Township this afternoon but never made it past the vestibule.
Read complete story from LeHighValleyLive.com

Thieves riding off with ATVs
William Bussa never thought much about leaving his red Honda all-terrain vehicle out in the sun to dry after a thorough washing.

He didn't worry about keeping the shed door open, displaying the ATV all day, while he worked in the yard at his home in Madison Township.

Now, the shed has window blinds, thicker locks and a security system, but no ATV.
Read complete story from the Columbus Dispatch

Woman, mom convicted of smuggling monkey into US
A Spokane woman and her mother have been convicted in federal court on charges of sneaking a rhesus monkey into the United States from Thailand. Gypsy Lawson, 29, hid the sedated young rhesus macaque under her blouse, pretending to be pregnant when she successfully passed through U.S. Customs in Los Angeles after a trip to Bangkok, Thailand.
Read complete story from WyomingPress.com

Grizzly bears go island hopping
Somewhere in the mist-shrouded rainforests of northern Vancouver Island, a grizzly bear is hibernating in its winter den. And he is the source of mystery, fascination, and even fear among Island residents.

As far as anyone can remember or scientists can determine, only black bears have lived on Vancouver Island.

But this year, grizzlies have been sighted far and wide on northern Vancouver Island and the knot of smaller islands that press close against the coast between Port Hardy and Campbell River.
Read complete story from the Vancouver Sun

Proposal aims to kill 2,000 deer
Sharpshooters would kill more than 2,000 white-tailed deer over 15 years to curb tree damage in Catoctin Mountain Park, the federal woodland surrounding Camp David, under a National Park Service plan awaiting final approval.

The shooting will likely begin next fall, park Superintendent Mel Poole said Monday.
Read complete story from the Washington Times

Domestic horses being set loose
State and local officials in Nevada say they're seeing an increasing number of domestic horses being turned loose because their owners can no longer afford to care for them.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Deer-smuggling case raises questions about hunting industry
Two years ago, Brian Becker drove 1,008 miles from Madelia, Minn., to the small East Texas town of Bedias, unaware that federal authorities had him under surveillance after being tipped off that his gooseneck trailer carried contraband — trophy deer.
Read complete story from the Star Telegram

Operation Overkill coming to a close
The biggest poaching case to ever hit Knox County is coming to a close. Operation Overkill is wrapping up and resulted in the conviction of eight Lorain County residents on several charges
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Rescuers save father, son trapped in marsh
A father and son were rescued from the marshes early Saturday morning after getting stuck shortly after low tide while duck hunting.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Bus driver injured after crash with wild turkey
State police say the driver of a passenger bus is recovering from injuries after a collision with a wild turkey in Southington.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Erie boy bitten by coyote
When Tony and Vincent Sandlin ran back into their house from the 13th hole of the Vista Ridge golf course in Erie on Thursday, they were panting and anxious.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

Campus owls attack, injure student
Arizona wildlife officials are investigating burrowing owls nesting near a Mesa junior high school after a student was reportedly attacked by one of the birds.
Read complete story from The Associated Press

New regulation eases ban on guns in national parks
People will now be able to carry concealed firearms in some national parks and wildlife refuges.

An Interior Department rule issued Friday allows an individual to carry a loaded weapon in a park or wildlife refuge — but only if the person has a permit for a concealed weapon, and if the state where the park or refuge is located also allows loaded firearms in parks.
Read complete story from The Associated Press