Any of those headlines would be equally accurate in this very odd story from Fort Smith in Canada's Northwest Territories. The small, otherwise-sleepy northern town just north of the Alberta-NWT border was the victim of a rampaging beaver that alarmed several residents and prompted a call from the territory's Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Wired reports that the red-crested tree rat, last seen in 1898, has reappeared in The El Dorado Nature Conservancy in Colombia. The Guinea pig-sized animal just walked up to startled environmentalists and let itself be photographed in closeups.
Park volunteer Lizzie Noble marveled at the rat's placid nature:
He just shuffled up the handrail near where we were sitting and seemed totally unperturbed by all the excitement he was causing.
The New York Times reports that the population of tropical rose-ringed parakeets in Britain, up from 1,500 ten years ago from escaped or deliberately released pets, has grown to an estimated 30,000 today, "turning a once-exotic bird into a notorious pest that awakens children, monopolizes garden bird feeders, and might even threaten British crops."
The problem is acute in the suburbs of London, with one retiree reporting consumption of the contents of an entire bird feeder in one day.
Flying first class may help you avoid luggage charges, but it doesn't mean you can pack endangered animals in there, as the BBC News reports.
A man flying from Bangkok to Dubai was arrested by undercover police after trying to check in suitcases containing rare juvenile animals: two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear and two macaque monkeys, all sedated and packed in carefully-crafted containers.
Freeland Foundation director Steven Galster observed the arrest:
It was a very sophisticated smuggling operation. We've never seen one like this before. The guy had a virtual zoo in his suitcases.
Reports claimed her purring reached 73 dB (16 times louder than a normal cat). She was recorded by a music expert from Northampton College and the recording was witnessed by four individuals with various backgrounds.
On 5 May, Guinness announced that Smokey was the loudest domestic cat in the world, at 67.7 dB (LA peak).
In recent days, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) has erected a two-meter (six foot) tall fence, stretching 9 kilometers (about 5.5 miles) along the threatened eastern fox snake's habitat in the city's west end.
The special fabric fence – which extends below ground level – was erected because the snake can climb and slither beneath regular fences. The MTO was concerned that snakes might wander into the construction zone, where they would be at risk.
The fence was built with assistance from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to keep the construction project in compliance with the Endangered Species Act, as work begins on extending Highway 401 west towards the proposed bridge to Detroit.
Due to a lack of observations of interactions between the two fox species, biologists have been unsure whether the loss of arctic fox territory was due to direct competition, or if they were indirectly competing for the same food. Rodnikova et al have now reported observing a red fox intruding upon a arctic fox den in 2007.
As a baby squirrel hopped towards a policeman in the grounds of a school, he took out his pepper spray, apparently to defend himself against the potentially infected animal. As school children pleaded with the officer not to harm the creature, the squirrel advanced and the man reacted by spraying it. The squirrel became disorientated and started writhing on the ground.
A Mesquite Animal Control officer was called and cleaned the spray off the squirrel. After being given a satisfactory bill of health, it was released back into the wild.
A video recording of the pepper-spraying incident, made by students, generated outrage after it was posting on YouTube. Having received over 700,000 views in one week, comments on the video are split between those condemning the officer's actions as heavy-handed, and those sympathising with his need to maintain personal safety in the face of a possibly rabid animal.
For the past few weeks, deputies at the Oklahoma Sheriff's Office have found their vehicles being vandalised, with tampering to the electrical wiring.
Closer examination revealed the wiring had been chewed through, with the culprit leaving a mass of tiny footprints in the engine compartment. Deputies have since observed a squirrel dropping down from under one of the vehicles, which showed signs of recent squirrel habitation, and have called in animal control. So far, attempts to trap the vandal squirrel have failed.
In a sign of the times, the Scofflaw Squirrel now has a Twitter account.
Many concerned Vietnamese are focussed on the lake in the capital city, Hanoi, where veterinarians are deciding how to treat the sacred Hoan Kiem turtle.
U.S. Representative Don Young of Alaska has refused an award from the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund after being recognized this week with 145 other members of Congress, according to a press release from his office.
"HSUS are hypocrites, plain and simple, and I will not join them by accepting this award," said Rep. Young, explaining his refusal. "Local animal shelters and humane societies do excellent work by caring for neglected and homeless animals, and through their spaying and neutering programs. This organization, however, has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare. Instead they prey on the emotions of big-hearted Americans."
He elaborated on his reasons on the floor of the House:
I've been a hunter all my life. And they're against hunting. And that bothered me.
Humane Society COO and HSLF president Michael Markarian said that while HSUS "[disagrees] with [Rep. Young's] views on most animal welfare policies," they "also believe in giving credit where credit is due and recognizing positive actions."
Another Japanese dog has survived the terrible earthquake and tsunami — this time, by clinging to the roof of its floating home after it was swept out to sea. The dog (named Ban) was rescued by the Japanese Coast Guard (with some assistance from nearby American disaster relief workers and the JSDF) during a search for survivors after its house was washed away three weeks ago. Thomson Reuters had reported that the dog was found on the roof of its home, floating 1.8 km (1.1 miles) off the coast of Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, in northern Japan. See also: Japanese dog stays by injured canine comrade after disaster
Time blogger Bryan Walsh gives his account and opinions on a recent video released by Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons. The video was taken from Zimbabwe, where Parsons had shot and killed an elephant while handing out GoDaddy swag to local residents.
While Bob Parsons defended his actions, stating that the elephant was a menace to the locals and ruined crops, animal rights groups have called the actions deplorable. PETA responded to the action by handing out their first ever "Scummiest CEO of the year" award, claiming that there are "many humane ways to keep elephants away from crops."
We've been hearing of the horrible tragedy in Japan over the past week caused by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Plant, but there is one story of hope from the striken oriental nation: rescue workers discovered a dog guarding a fellow dog that was injured in the earthquake.
At first, the dog would not let rescue workers near its friend, but they were able to gradually bring the injured dog to an animal hospital in the city of Mito. The guardian dog was taken to a different shelter in the city; both are recieving medical treatment for their ordeals.