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October 23, 2013 | By Catherine Saillant
The Los Angeles City Council took action Wednesday to ban bullhooks used by elephant trainers in traveling circuses, becoming the first U.S. metropolis to outlaw a tool that critics say inflicts pain. Voting unanimously, the council asked the city attorney's office to prepare an ordinance outlawing the use of the bullhook, a sharp-tipped tool used to train and keep elephants under control. Baseball bats, ax handles, pitchforks and other implements used on the pachyderms would also be banned.
October 22, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
As human understanding of elephants has evolved, so has our treatment of them. Zoos decades ago freed these largest of land mammals from standing for hours in chains on arthritis-inducing concrete. Also gone from many zoos is the bullhook, an instrument that resembles a fireplace poker that is used to poke, prod or strike an elephant. Although the blunt end can be used as a lead for an elephant, the sharp end makes it a tool of coercion. The Los Angeles Zoo stopped using the bullhook in any manner in 2010.
October 17, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Wildlife photographer Greg du Toit has stared down lionesses, been charged by hippos and been chased by an angry bull elephant. He's been trampled by a buffalo ("But it didn't gore me") and had close encounters with crocodiles ("But I never got bitten"). Waiting sometimes for months submerged in shallow water for the perfect shot, the South African has been eaten alive by tsetse flies and mosquitoes. He's had malaria twice and a much nastier tropical disease called bilharzia twice.
October 10, 2013 | By Monte Morin
African elephants really get the point -- the finger point that is. At least that's the conclusion of a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology that examined the behavior of 11 pachyderms who were pointed in the direction of hidden snacks. According to study author Richard Byrne, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, African elephants will investigate the contents of a container 68% of the time if a human points to it. By comparison, a 12-month-old human will check out the indicated container 73% of the time.
September 26, 2013 | By Meredith Blake
NBC Sports Network is facing a flurry of criticism over an episode of the outdoor sports program "Under Wild Skies" in which a National Rifle Assn. strategist shoots and kills an African elephant. In the episode, which aired Sunday night (a highlight reel is posted above), host Tony Makris and a guide stalk an elephant in the Okavango Delta of Botswana -- "a mecca for elephant hunting," according to a narrator. Makris boasts of his "positively lethal" rifle and the .577 ammunition ("made to kill ivory")
August 15, 2013 | By Kate Mather and Jeff Gottlieb
Michael Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe returned to the witness stand Thursday, crying as she described the singer “begging for relief” from medical issues and treatments she said were “horribly painful.” It was the second day of testimony for Rowe, who married Jackson in 1996, and is the mother of his two oldest children. They divorced a few years later. Rowe met the singer while she was working for Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein. Rowe said she was designated to help Jackson through the procedures, and the two formed a friendship.
August 11, 2013 | By Kate Linthicum
LUJAN, Argentina - Manu Peclat, a tourist from Brazil, had already fed vegetables to elephants, thrown fish to seals and posed for pictures with two white tigers. Now it was time for the bears. A zookeeper unlocked a gate and led Peclat and a few other visitors inside. After trading chunks of raw sweet potato for pesos, the keeper roused 3-year-old Gordo from his slumber. The brown bear languidly lumbered over. Peclat held out his hand and Gordo gently gobbled up the snacks.
May 20, 2013 | By Joseph Serna
In what even U.S. Customs officials are describing as a “weird” week of sorts, border protection officers seized nearly half a pound of exotic meat, a dead primate and hundreds of handbags made with reptile skin coming in from Nigeria. “We intercept and seize a multitude of remarkable items,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection  field operations director Todd Owen said. Remarkable? Unusual is another way to put it. On May 6, officers at Los Angeles International Airport checked the bag of a 31-year-old man coming in from Nigeria.
May 5, 2013 | By Jeff Greenwald
MAE WANG, Thailand - As we sat together on a long, narrow raft of bamboo, Alexa Pham dipped her hand into the quickly moving river. "It's the really simple things," she said with a long breath, "that make it beautiful here in Mae Wang. " Two wiry boatmen, steering with long poles, navigated the raft beneath the branches of overhanging trees, around boulders and through bars of late-afternoon sunlight. The men are part of Pham's staff, hired from the hill tribes and Burmese refugee communities of northern Thailand.
April 17, 2013
Customized TV Listings are available here: Click here to download TV listings for the week of April 21 -27, 2013 in PDF format This week's TV Movies       SUNDAY Ask your doctor if a magic potion is right for you. Side effects may include singing, dancing and turning 30 years younger, as seen in "Lovestruck: The Musical. " Jane Seymour, Chelsea Kane and Sara Paxton star. 8 and 10 p.m. ABC Family Get a refresher course on the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s, and the subsequent investigations, book and film, in "All the President's Men Revisited.
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