Off the wire


102-pound blue catfish could be Virginia record
Virginia's first triple-digit freshwater fish has been caught. Tim Wilson of Natural Bridge landed the historic 102-pound, 4-ounce blue catfish while working the waters of the James River near Dutch Gap.
Read complete story from the Virginian Pilot

Lightning strike leaves Colorado trap shooter in critical condition
A Loveland, Colo. man is in critical condition at a Greeley hospital after lighting struck and exploded a shotgun he was preparing to shoot in rural Weld County.
Read complete story from the Loveland Connection

Calif. air patrol catches nighttime poachers
VINA — Saturday was a good night for hunting in Tehama County — if you were looking for poachers. A special patrol of the California Department of Fish and Game cited three men who had allegedly shot two deer, doves and a duck on the Rumiano Ranch near Vina.

Read complete story from the Chico Enterprise Record

Cedar Rapids, Iowa tightens law on toy guns
Toy guns are being used in Cedar Rapids crimes, from criminal mischief to assault, and the city has changed an ordinance to control their use.
Read complete story from the Cedar Rapids Gazette

Pink dolphin a standout in La. shipping channel
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — What's pink, has red eyes and leaps around a Louisiana shipping channel long enough for you to believe your eyes? A rare albino bottlenose dolphin. Bottlenose dolphins are common in the lower Calcasieu Ship Channel, feeding in the deep water and riding on top of boats' waves. And when the pink one jumps amid four dark gray dolphins, it's easy to spot.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Wyoming moose numbers fall short of target
Moose numbers statewide are down from Wyoming Game and Fish population objectives, an annual report for the agency shows.
Read complete story from the Jackson Hole News & Guide

Study cites 'slow-motion' threat from Alaskan permafrost
WASHINGTON (AP) — Global warming's "slow-motion time bomb" of trapped greenhouse gases in the Arctic's thawing tundra may not go off quite as fast as once feared, a new study found.
Read complete story from the Huron Daily Tribune

Canada's governor general eats seal heart
RANKIN INLET, Nunavut — Canada's governor general ate a slaughtered seal's raw heart in a show of support to the country's seal hunters, a display that a European Union spokeswoman on Tuesday called "too bizarre to acknowledge."
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Bird-watchers flock in NJ for their World Series
HIGH POINT STATE PARK, N.J. — Dawn breaks over the northwestern corner of New Jersey as birdsong punctuates the air. The quiet is broken by the rumbling of a car engine, and suddenly, the Sapsuckers are on the scene.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

New permits aim to curb complaints generated by hunting deer with dogs
Instead of banning dog deer hunting, the Alabama Department of Conservation Advisory Board has approved a permit system that gives a second chance to clubs that have drawn complaints in the past.
Read complete story from the Mobile Press-Register

Ship to become second largest intentional reef
KEY WEST, Fla. — Aboard the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a massive World War II ship last used by the U.S. Air Force to track missiles and spacecraft, it's anything but business as usual. Crews are preparing the decommissioned ship for sinking Wednesday 7 miles off Key West, where it will become one of the world's biggest man-made reefs.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

When dragons attack: Indonesian village facing new threat from old friend

KOMODO ISLAND, Indonesia — Komodo dragons have shark-like teeth and poisonous venom that can kill a person within hours of a bite. Yet villagers who have lived for generations alongside the world's largest lizard were not afraid — until the dragons started to attack.

Since 2007, two people have been killed and others have been wounded badly after being charged unprovoked by the huge reptiles, which can grow to 10 feet in length and weigh 150 pounds.

Read complete story from The Standard Times

Rooks, relative of crows, seen using tools in lab tests in new study
WASHINGTON — Yet another animal has picked up a tool and put it to use.

Once thought a unique primate trait, toolmaking and tool use have been seen in a variety of animals in recent years. Now add to the list rooks, a bird once featured in European folklore as able to forecast the weather.
Read complete story from the Standard Times

Alaska cracks down on man who feeds wild bears
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Charlie Vandergaw is crazy about bears. He feeds them and interacts with them like a family dog, but the state of Alaska has changed that.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Trash depot near LaGuardia runway ruffles feathers
WASHINGTON — About 700 yards from the end of a LaGuardia Airport runway, where thousands of planes take off and land, New York officials want to build what could be the equivalent of a bird magnet: a very large garbage transfer station.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Forestry officials target Mass. residents in urgent search for voracious tree-eating beetles
CONCORD, N.H. — Forestry officials in the Northeast are on an urgent mission, tracking thousands of Massachusetts residents as they search for tree-eating stowaway insects they may have carried to campgrounds or vacation homes.
Read complete story from the Standard Times

Australia lists Tasmanian devils as endangered species due to contagious facial cancer
CANBERRA, Australia — The Tasmanian devil, a snarling fox-sized marsupial made notorious by its Looney Tunes cartoon namesake Taz, was listed in Australia as an endangered species Friday because of a contagious cancer that has wiped out most of the wild population.
Read complete story from the Standard Times

Landfill methane towers scorch perched hawks in New York
ALBANY, N.Y. — A towering landfill smokestack offers an irresistible perch for raptors to watch for rodents scavenging in the treeless landscape below. But when flames fed by landfill gas rush upward, the birds are being scorched or burned alive.
Read complete story from the Associated Press