“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”
Those creatures had Dorothy worried on the yellow brick road in "The Wizard of Oz" – and now you may need to worry about seeing them and other large carnivores in your backyard, an Ohio State University researcher says.
OK, there shouldn’t be any tigers – they aren’t found in the wild in North America – but lions (mountain), bears, wolves and coyotes are finding urban areas to be just right for a comfortable existence, says Stan Gehrt, an associate professor of environment and natural resources.
Gehrt says coyotes are leading the urban invasion by formerly rural carnivores.
“The coyote is the test case for other animals. Raccoons, skunks, foxes – they’ve already been able to penetrate the urban landscape pretty well. The coyote is the most recent and largest,” Gehrt said in a university press release.
One pack of coyotes has established a territory and is thriving about five miles from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the third busiest airport in the country, according to Budget Travel.
Bear sightings caught on video!
We expect bears to wander through the wilderness or even parade inside a zoo. See what happens when the "unexpected" happens and a bear is caught wading in a family's pool. We've obtained video of bears crashing a TV news set and bumping into an unexpected man texting on his phone, too.
A bear in California decides to "cool off" and take a dip in a family's pool.
Four bears walked into WNEP's outdoor weather set seconds before the start of a live forecast.
A California man comes face to face with a 400-pound black bear scouring a busy neighborhood in search of food.
Visitors to Alaska's Denali National Park this summer may be able to catch a glimpse of something you don't see every day: a three-pawed grizzly bear.
A picture of the bear shows it to be missing about half of its right front leg.
"We call him Tri-pawed," park biologist Pat Owen told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. "He kind of hops around."
The bear, the first Owen has seen missing a paw in 23 years with the Park Service, was first spotted in the park last year, when the wound was still bloody, she told the paper. She wondered at that time whether the injury would prevent the bear from getting food, digging its winter den or defending itself.
But it seems to have done just fine, she said.
One person at the park even saw the bear leap a highway guardrail, Owen told the Daily News-Miner.
"They said he looked very agile. I don't think he has any trouble getting around," she was quoted as saying.
Owen said park officials don't know how the bear was injured, but did not think it was from a trap because the wound was a clean cut.
The Park Service won't track the bear and won't do anything special to help it, she said. While the grizzly is listed as a threatened species in the lower 48 states, there are about 30,000 grizzlies in Alaska, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"For now, we'll let him do his thing and see what happens," Owen told the Daily News-Miner. But she said that if the grizzly is still around when visitor season opens on May 20, the park may post signs so rangers won't have to repeatedly answer the same questions about it.
When Siku the polar bear cub was introduced to the public late last year, he quickly became an Internet sensation, with his own Web and Facebook pages. But with fame often comes responsibility, and officials at Denmark's Scandinavian Wildlife Park said Siku would have an important burden to shoulder.
"Siku is going to be an ambassador for polar bears, for global warming," park director Frank Vigh-Larsen said in December.
Siku's official first day on the job was Monday, International Polar Bear Day.
Beginning Monday, the wildlife park, in cooperation with Polar Bears International and explore.org, a philanthropic media organization, will show a daily live look-in at Siku from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET at explore.org/siku and polarbearcam.com. You can also follow along again on Tuesday at CNN.com/live.
“We’re launching the Siku Cam on International Polar Bear Day, which is a day of action on climate change,” Robert Buchanan, president and CEO of Polar Bears International, said in a press release. “Our goal with the Siku Cam is for people to fall in love with this little cub and become inspired to reduce their carbon footprint to help save arctic sea ice.”
Siku is named after the environment of the polar bear, with siku being the most common word for sea ice in the Inuit language across the Arctic. The bears hunt on the sea ice, and as it disappears, so do opportunities for the bears to eat, the polar bear conservationists say.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that the Arctic ice cover is near record lows, with the January 2012 Arctic ice cover the fourth lowest ever recorded.
"Based on the satellite record, before 2005 average January ice extent had never been lower than 14 million square kilometers (5.41 million square miles). January ice extent has now fallen below that mark six out of the last seven years," the NSIDC website says.
Many scientists blame global warming, fueled by carbon dioxide emissions, for the decline in sea ice. Polar Bears International says two-thirds of the estimated 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears in the wild could disappear by the middle of this century if carbon dioxide emissions are not cut.
“Our goal with the Siku Cam is to create awareness and inspire change,” Vigh-Larsen said in a press release. “And we are resolute that his image may only be used to advance those ends.”
Siku's secret to saving ice may be melting hearts. Check out these pictures and try not to smile.
What’s white and black and has people fawning all over? Meet Siku, a polar bear cub born in captivity in Denmark.
The cute cub is being reared by handlers at the Scandinavian Wildlife Park because its mother isn’t producing the milk to feed him. Since his birth last month, Siku has become a Web star. He has his own page on the Scandinavian Wildlife Park website and he’s even on Facebook.
Park director Frank Vigh-Larsen says he's stunned by the cub's rapid transformation into an Internet sensation.
Video footage posted on YouTube of Siku bottle-feeding, rolling around and snoozing has been viewed more than 2 million times in six days, he told CNN, and the cub gained thousands of friends on Facebook within the space of a few hours.
As of Wednesday, at 36 days old, Siku has just opened his eyes and weighs in at 4.2 kilograms (9.2 pounds), more than five times his initial weight, his handler said.
"He's just a little solid cannonball," Vigh-Larsen said. "He's doing well."
Such growth is a testament to the dedicated care Siku is receiving. For the first three weeks, Vigh-Larsen fed the cub every two hours - and still feeds him every three hours, meaning the keeper gets little sleep.
In the new year, two other wildlife keepers will start to care for him, too, in shifts, making sure the cub is never alone during the first 12 months of his life.
Siku's popularity comes at a time when the plight of polar bears is at its peak. Corporate giant Coca-Cola recently launched a campaign in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund to raise awareness about arctic conditions that threaten polar bears.
Siku, which means “sea ice” in Greenlandic, an Eskimo language spoken in Greenland, is thriving under a bottle-feeding program instituted by the park’s keepers.
Officials in eastern Ohio declared schools closed Wednesday as sheriff's deputies equipped with night vision attempted to hunt down dozens of exotic animals - including bears, lions, tigers and cheetahs - who escaped from a preserve following the death of its owner.
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said deputies, armed with shotguns, were patrolling areas in pickup trucks early Wednesday morning.
"There are still thought to be several dangerous animals on the loose, creating a public safety threat."
In nearby Licking County, Sheriff Randy Thorp said he has activated the county SWAT team "who will be equipped with night vision and the necessary weapons to deal with any encounters with such animals."
The menagerie of about 48 animals on the loose also includes wolves, giraffes and camels.
Deputies shot dead about two dozen of them Tuesday.
Schools in at least four districts were declared closed for Wednesday, as authorities asked residents to stay inside until the rest of the animals were rounded up or killed.FULL STORY
A bizarre auto accident involving two vehicles and a bear has left two people and the bear dead, Canadian authorities said.
Police in Quebec said a 300-pound male black bear wandered onto a road and was struck by an eastbound Pontiac Sunfire. The impact sent the animal hurtling through the air, where it smashed the windshield of a westbound Nissan Pathfinder sport utility vehicle and went out through the back window, regional police spokesman Officer Martin Fournel said.
"It was a 300-pound bullet," he said.
The SUV's 35-year-old female driver and a 40-year-old man sitting behind her were killed; a 28-year-old front-seat passenger suffered minor injuries, Fournel said. In the Pontiac, neither the driver, a 23-year-old man, nor his 19-year-old male passenger was hurt.
No alcohol or drugs were involved, and police are still trying to determine each vehicle's speed in the 90 kph (56 mph) zone, Fournel said, adding that charges are unlikely.
"It's a first, there's no doubt about that," he said. "We had similar accident several years ago with a deer going through the windshield and ending up in the back seat, where it injured a boy. He wasn't killed, he was hurt. But it was not like this."
It's bear mating season, and many male bears are out looking - sometimes recklessly - for females, so drivers on rural roads should be watchful, hunting guide Daniel Larocque told the Canadian television network CBC.
The accident occurred near the town of Luskville, about 25 miles northwest of Ottawa, Ontario.
Thai police confiscated two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear, one macaque monkey and one marmoset from the luggage of a man as he tried to board a flight from Bangkok to Dubai on Friday, Thai authorities and an anti-trafficking group reported.
The animals were alive and received immediate veterinary care, according to the group, the FREELAND Foundation, which monitored the arrest.
The suspect, Noor Mahmoodr, a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, was charged with possessing endangered wildlife and smuggling endangered wildlife, said Col. Kiattipong Khaosum-arng of the Thai nature crime police. Mahmoodr was released on bail pending trial, police said.
“We believe Mahmoodr has done this several times already, and there is a network involved in this case,” Kiattipong told CNN.
He said police received a tip that the smuggling attempt would happen Friday morning and were waiting at the airport to make an arrest.
Knut the polar bear, the star attraction at the Berlin Zoo who suddenly died March 19, drowned after falling into his swimming enclosure, investigators said Friday.
Knut had encephalitis, or severe inflammation of the brain, which caused the muscle spasms that led to his drowning, according to the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, the official German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
A pathologist with the institute said the encephalitis would have killed Knut eventually if he had not drowned.
Knut became a cultural phenomenon when he made his public debut as a cuddly cub in 2007. His mother at the zoo had rejected him at birth, so a zookeeper raised him, including administering bottle feedings, until he got big enough to feed himself.
More than 600 zoo patrons, including many children, were watching Knut when he fell into the pool, and some screamed as they realized what was happening, reported Time.com, which features a photo gallery of Knut's public life.
Several dozen people demonstrated Saturday at the Berlin Zoo to object to plans to stuff Knut's hide for display in a museum, Monsters and Critics reported.
"To put him in a stuffy museum room so he can catch dust for decades and be grabbed, fingered and stared at ... he doesn't deserve that," protester Uwe Voelkel, 53 said.
Hunters in Russia will no longer be allowed to rouse hibernating bears from their dens and shoot them under new legislation enacted Wednesday, according to an animal rights group.
The winter den hunt left bear cubs orphaned, often resulting in their deaths, said the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which has been campaigning to end the practice since 1995.
The new law reduces the hunting season for brown bears and Asiatic black bears and excludes the winter season, when the animals are hibernating in dens, the group said Wednesday. Under the new law, it is also illegal to hunt cubs less than a year old and females with cubs under one year.
"The 'rules of the hunt' legislation is a tremendous step forward for animal welfare in Russia and reflects the opinion of the Russian people that bears should be protected from this sort of hunting," said Maria Vorontsova, director of IFAW Russia.
To date, the group says it has successfully released more than 150 cubs from its rehabilitation center in Bubonitsy, Tver region.
Two boys have been rescued after being lost in the subarctic wilderness for four days, Canadian media report.
Isajah "Willie" Nastapoka, 15, and Kasudluak Kasudluak, 17, became separated while on a day trip to hunt polar bear, the CBC reported.
Their snowmobile ran out of gas about 19 miles outside Inukjuak, their Inuit village, which is just 7 degrees south of the Arctic Circle in far northern Quebec, authorities said. They had little water or food, and the temperature plunged to 30 below zero Fahrenheit, with a wind chill factor of 50 below, according to a Nunatsiaq News story in the Montreal Gazette.
The five most popular CNN.com stories during the last 24 hours, according to NewsPulse:
Is this the "safest bridge in America"? On August 1, 2007, the old Interstate Highway 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, collapsed into the Mississippi River. The deaths of 13 people and the injuries of 145 others left Americans wondering about the safety of bridges and tunnels in their hometowns. Later, the tragedy focused attention on the bridge that would be built in its place. The new bridge, completed in September 2008, is expected to stand for 100 years. But will it?
Attorney: Russian boy in U.S. adoption case back in orphanage: A Russian boy who was sent back to Moscow, Russia, by his adoptive mother in the United States has been returned to an orphanage, an attorney of the World Association for Children and Parents said Friday. The National Council for Adoption will be traveling to Russia next week to meet with adoption authorities there. The delegation will evaluate the child, 8-year-old Artyem Saveliev, and provide information to a U.S. circuit court in Tennessee.
Iranian woman facing stoning "I'm afraid of dying": Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, was set to be stoned to death for allegedly committing adultery in Iran. An advocacy group trying to free her held a news conference on Friday to share a letter they said was from Ashtiani. "Tell everyone that I'm afraid of dying. Help me stay alive and hug my children," the letter said.
Author Anne Rice: I'm quitting Christianity: The legendary author who wrote a book about her spirituality titled "Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession" in 2008 said Wednesday that she refuses to be “anti-gay,” “anti-feminist," “anti-science” and “anti-Democrat.” Rice went on to say, "It's simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious and deservedly infamous group. For 10 years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”
Grizzly euthanized after fatal mauling that perplexed experts: A grizzly bear was euthanized Friday after a DNA test determined it mauled three campers - one of them fatally - in a remote area of Montana, an attack that has puzzled wildlife experts. All the food in the campground was stored properly in bear-proof containers, the attack was unprovoked and the bear had no history of attacking humans, said Ron Aasheim, a spokesman for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "It's a head scratcher."
Bear attacks on separate campsites in Montana left one person dead and two others injured Wednesday, according to wildlife officials.