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Off the wire

Aurora teen under the gun for mock rifles on school grounds
Marie Morrow is likely to find out today whether she will be expelled from school for having fake rifles used as props in a youth marine group on school grounds.
Read complete story from the Denver Post


Austin bans deer feeding within the city
It's now illegal to feed deer in Austin on purpose.

The City Council unanimously passed a ban Thursday on deer feeding in the city limits. The ban stems from complaints mainly in the Northwest Hills area around Mesa Drive, Far West Boulevard and Rockledge Drive, where some residents say the deer population is getting too large, destroying vegetation and causing traffic difficulties.
Read complete story from the Austin American-Statesman


Palin gets support on predator-control
A national sportsmen's political group has rallied to the defense of Gov. Sarah Palin and Alaska's predator control program, drawing new attention to questions surrounding the program's scientific underpinnings.
Read complete story from the Anchorage Daily News


Researchers say animals plan for the future
CHICAGO  Monkeys perform mental math, pigeons can select the picture that doesn't belong. Humans may not be the only animals that plan for the future, say researchers reporting on the latest studies of animal mental ability. "I suggest we humans should keep our egos in check," Edward A. Wasserman of the University of Iowa said Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Dung is key to tracking elusive Cambodian tiger
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia  A dog trained to sniff for tiger droppings will help conservationists determine if the big cats still roam one of Cambodia's largest nature reserves.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


WDFW will slash up to 22 jobs
YAKIMA, Wash.  The state Department of Fish and Wildlife could lay off as much as one-fifth of its work force in the four-county Yakima region  roughly 20 to 22 employees  to meet Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposed 2009-11 budget.
Read complete story from the Yakima Herald-Republic


No wasting disease found in Indiana deer
Chronic wasting disease was not detected in 862 deer checked during the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife's 2008 sampling.
Read complete story from the Journal Gazette


Scientists flabbergasted by speedy birds
WASHINGTON  Little songbirds cover more than 300 miles a day on their annual migrations, flabbergasting researchers who expected a much slower flight. For the first time, scientists were able to outfit tiny birds with geolocators and track their travel between North America and the tropics, something only done previously with large birds such as geese.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Surfer injured in second Sydney shark attack
SYDNEY  Australia's most famous beach reopened Friday, hours after a surfer's arm was shredded by a shark - the second shark attack in Sydney in as many days.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Australia debates controlled burns
CANBERRA, Australia  In the aftermath of the most lethal wildfires in Australia's history, officials are again considering whether enough is being done to reduce the risk through controlled burns.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Africanized bees found in Utah for the first time
SALT LAKE CITY  Africanized honey bees have been found for the first time in the Beehive State. The bees, long the subject of lore as "killer bees," were recently discovered in Utah's Washington and Kane counties, the state Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.
Read complete story from Tulsa World


Teacher returns from leave over Facebook photo
A Beaver Dam middle school teacher has returned to classroom duties after being placed on administrative leave in connection to a website photograph of her with a gun.
Read complete story from WKOWTV.com


Two charged with wildlife violations in Bahamas
An Illinois woman and an Indiana man were arrested in the Bahamas this week for allegedly catching and eating an endangered species of iguana.
Read complete story from Chicago Breaking news.com


Wild otter checks itself into the Jacksonville zoo
When the keepers shut down the otter exhibit at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Sunday, they left one otter out in the exhibit overnight. When they came back to open up Monday morning, there were two.
Read complete story from Jacksonville News


EU wants more sharks in the sea, less in soup pots
BRUSSELS  The EU wants more sharks in the sea and fewer in the soup pot. The European Commission proposed its first-ever shark conservation rules Thursday, trying to reverse the decline in sharks in European waters.
Read complete story from Associated Press


College student suspended despite handgun permit
MONMOUTH, Ore.  A Western Oregon University student has been suspended after a confrontation with campus security last month over a concealed firearm and knife he brought on campus.
Read complete story from KATU.com


Fishing fraud who lied about death jailed in UK
Authorities weren't deceived when Roger Atkins sent the newspaper Fishing News his own obituary - apparently hoping that its publication would persuade the government to stop pursuing him for fishing offenses.
Read complete story from Associated Press


Va. man who shot, killed hawk in backyard says he was protecting squirrel
For a Virginia doctor, squirrels are a man's best friend, too. Thomas Shepler, a hand surgeon, shot a hawk to death in his backyard when he said the bird was eyeing a young squirrel that he and his wife had helped raise.
Read complete story from Reno Gazette-Journal


Study: Birds shifting north; global warming cited
When it comes to global warming, the canary in the coal mine isn't a canary at all. It's a purple finch. As the temperature across the U.S. has gotten warmer, the purple finch has been spending its winters more than 400 miles farther north than it used to.
Read complete story from the Gazette Online


Fish and Wildlife officers may go to State Patrol
Fish and Wildlife enforcement officers would move to the Washington State Patrol under one of the government efficiency moves being considered by Gov. Chris Gregoire's administration. And some of the recreational and wildlife groups reportedly are none too happy about the proposal.

Read complete story from The Olympian


Wildlife suffering in Australia's fires
One turtle's shell melted and fused to its body, while a baby wallaby's ears were fried to a crisp. Kangaroos seared their feet, and birds scorched by Australia's worst-ever wildfires plummeted from the sky.
Read complete story from Tulsa World


Teacher with Facebook gun photo remains on leave

A Beaver Dam teacher who posted a prominent photograph of herself with a gun on Facebook has not been allowed to return to her school and remains on administrative leave.

Read complete story from WKOWTV


Hunting permits draw record bids
Ten years ago, there weren't enough mule deer on southern Utah's remote Henry Mountains to allow a hunt. But during an auction Saturday at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City, three people paid a combined $382,000 for the right to hunt the Henry Mountains this fall.
Read complete story from the Salt Lake Tribune


Alaska volcano puffs steam, but doesn't erupt
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP)  Mount Redoubt in southern Alaska is puffing a little steam and emitting volcanic gases but still hasn't erupted.

Volcanologist Dave Schneider at the Alaska Volcano Observatory says winds and humidity made the steam more visible Monday. The plume extended several hundred feet above the crater.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


On Darwin's 200th, a theory still in controversy
LONDON  It's well known that Charles Darwin's groundbreaking theory of evolution made many people furious because it contradicted the Biblical view of creation. But few know that it also created problems for Darwin at home with his deeply religious wife, Emma.

Darwin held back the book to avoid offending his wife, said Ruth Padel, the naturalist's great-great-granddaughter. "She said he seemed to be putting God further and further off," Padel said in her north London home. "But they talked it through, and she said, "Don't change any of your ideas for fear of hurting me.'"
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Wild Turkeys Intentionally Poisoned in Oconto County
Conservation wardens are investigating the intentional poisoning of approximately 200 wild turkeys in a wooded area near a farm in north central Oconto County.

Following a citizen tip on the Department of Natural Resources' Hotline, wardens immediately responded and found the dead turkeys.

"The responsible party has been identified and will be referred to the District Attorney for charges once the investigation has been completed," said Regional DNR Warden Byron Goetsch. The suspect may face charges ranging from civil to criminal. In addition, statutory wildlife restitution surcharges of $175 per turkey could be assessed by the court.
Read complete story from the Wisconsin Ag Connection


Injured deer makes Rossford vet visit, gets stitches in time
Dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, parakeets - if it's a pet with a price tag then veterinarian Agustin Cuesta has probably cared for it.

But Saturday brought two firsts for Dr. Cuesta and his staff at the clinic inside the Rossford PetSmart: their first deer patient and unaccompanied walk-in.
Read complete story from the Toledo Blade


A day after 134 fishermen rescued from Lake Erie ice floe, some venture back out
PORT CLINTON, Ohio  Relatives of an Ohio man who died of an apparent heart attack on Lake Erie say that contrary to initial reports he was not on the huge ice floe that broke from the shore and marooned 134 fishermen.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Rossford pet store's vets treat wandering, injured deer, then set it free
An injured, bleeding deer that wandered into the rear of a Rossford pet store Saturday was treated by a veterinary team there, then ran free into a rural area, police reported.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Felon coaches 13-year-old girl to shoot decoy
BAY COUNTY  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers watched as a truck stopped near a deer decoy and a 13-year-old girl took two shots at it, according to FWC's weekly report.
Read complete story from the Daily News


Dog rescues fellow canine
Lyn Stevens usually ignores her dog Tess's barking, but on Monday afternoon, Tess barked with a particular determination.

While on a walk along an irrigation ditch in east Fort Collins with her two English setters, Tess and Troon, Stevens stopped when Tess began to bark loudly and wouldn't come when called. The setter had found another dog stuck in the ice and mud on the opposite bank of the irrigation ditch and was barking to alert Stevens.
Read complete story from the Associated Press


Dingell doodles wildlife in his down time
Of all the things people have called John Dingell  good and bad  over the years, here's one that may be a surprise.

Wildlife doodler.
Read complete story from the Free Press


Injured bears rescued from bile farms in China
CHENGDU, China  A dozen Asiatic black bears, malnourished and diseased from years spent on abusive bile-harvesting farms in southwest China, were recovering Saturday after being handed over to an animal charity group.
Read complete story from the Associated Press