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July 2, 2012 | Martha Groves
After meeting with animal welfare advocates over the killing of a mountain lion last month, the Santa Monica Police Department said it would consider changing procedures for handling wildlife incidents. In a statement released last week, the department said it was committed to training first responders and to developing a list of local consulting experts. It said it would also seek appropriate equipment and tools and support ongoing efforts to reduce the likelihood that wildlife would enter densely populated urban areas.
June 14, 2012 | By Rene Lynch
A Florida tour boat captain suspected of illegally feeding alligators may already have suffered the ultimate punishment: An alligator bit off his hand. Animal rights activists on Thursday denounced the decision to kill the alligator in a bid to recover the man's hand. They said the captain, who is now under investigation for feeding the animals, is to blame for teaching the fearsome creature that people = food. Wallace Weatherholt, 63, who works for Captain Doug's Everglades Tours, was taking six tourists out on the water Tuesday when he paused to give them a thrill -- and a photo op, according to WBBH of Fort Myers, Fla. He began slapping the water to attract alligators, using marshmallows as bait.
February 12, 2012 | By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
Modernist architect Eugene Weston III was in his early 30s when he declared that "the house is the last of the handcrafted objects" in an industrial age. The year was 1956, and he argued in The Times that even a modest house could be "more beautiful and meaningful" if it was built with post-and-beam construction that opens up interiors and invites the outdoors in through walls of glass. A third-generation Los Angeles architect, Weston built a string of midcentury homes here before spending three decades with a San Diego firm known for such large-scale commissions as the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego Wild Animal Park and several major buildings at UC San Diego.
December 18, 2011 | By Jay Kirk
In 1882, P.T. Barnum paid $10,000 to have Jumbo, the world's most famous elephant, shackled like Houdini, stuffed into a crate and sailed across the ocean to New York City. Barnum got Jumbo on the cheap because — unknown to him but well known to Jumbo's keepers at the London Zoo — the elephant had gone bonkers. Jumbo had become such a hazard that his owners feared for the safety of the many children who took rides on his back. Alumni of such rides included an asthmatic Teddy Roosevelt, who, perhaps traumatized by the experience, would later go on to kill four elephants in less than five minutes while on safari in British East Africa.
October 21, 2011
The tragic carnage and panic that unfolded this week outside Zanesville, Ohio, after a man set free the 56 wild animals he kept on his property were clearly extraordinary events set in motion by a deeply troubled person who later killed himself. But the fact that Terry Thompson — who had been convicted of animal cruelty in 2005 — was even allowed to own lions, tigers and wolves, among other dangerous animals, spotlights the disturbing inadequacy of Ohio law on the issue. Two years ago, the Humane Society of the U.S. singled out Ohio along with Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina and Oklahoma for having the fewest restrictions on keeping wild animals as pets.
October 19, 2011 | By Geraldine Baum, Ashley Powers and Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times
After the shooting stopped and panic subsided, only a monkey was still at large. The death toll was 49. The carnage included one baboon, six black bears, eight lionesses and 18 rare Bengal tigers. The owner of the private menagerie was also dead. He apparently shot himself after loosing the wild animals on a small community in rural Ohio. "It's like Noah's ark wrecking right here in Zanesville, Ohio," said Jack Hanna, a former director of the Columbus Zoo. PHOTOS: Dangerous exotic animals But residents and animal activists nationwide didn't speak of this sad story in Old Testament terms.
September 14, 2011 | By Mark Kellam, Los Angeles Times
After a public outcry, Los Angeles County officials Tuesday put the brakes on a plan to catch and kill a pack of coyotes living in a vacant house in north Glendale. Authorities now say they will wait to take action until the abandoned, fire-damaged home is demolished. On Monday, county officials said the coyotes posed a threat to pets and small children and needed to be euthanized. The pack would not survive if relocated in the wild, officials said. But public reaction to the plan was overwhelmingly negative, with county and city officials fielding numerous calls opposing the plan.
May 22, 2011 | By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times
When confronted with rapidly rising floodwaters, wild animals tend to react the same way humans do. They run for high ground. That unsurprising fact of nature has added a new complexity to the daily efforts of Travis Dufour, a Louisiana state wildlife biologist. He spends his days in a pickup truck, bouncing along levees and farm roads in search of displaced deer, black bears, alligators, wild turkeys, feral hogs and the occasional armadillo. Mostly, Dufour rides herd on deer.
February 28, 2011 | By Brady MacDonald, Los Angeles Times
Emerging from the African jungle, my knees wobbled as I carefully traversed the missing slats in the rickety footbridge. In the river chasm below, a dozen sunbathing crocodiles were awaiting my first misstep. This surreal safari scene seemed real enough to me -- even though I knew the make-believe jungle was deep inside a theme park carved out of Florida swampland. Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Fla., has been offering the three-hour Wild Africa Trek for about a month now, taking about a dozen visitors at a time on VIP guided tours through the theme park's Pangani Forest.
February 13, 2011 | By Scott Gold, Los Angeles Times
They called it a "he" and decided that for today he would be some sort of diving bird — a loon, perhaps, or a grebe. The "RoboDuck" that wildlife rescuers were chasing around Saturday was actually a humble duck decoy stuck on top of a remote-controlled car that sped around Malibu Bluffs Park as part of a safe-capture drill. But it symbolized a vexing problem in wildlife rescue: people who find wounded and imperiled animals often have trouble connecting with people who have the knowledge and ability to capture and rehabilitate the animals.
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