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07/09/98 MEDORA, N. D. (AP) A buffalo cow and her bull calf walked more than 40 miles to get back to their home in the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, park officials say.

The cow, who had been transferred from the park last fall to a Three Affiliated Tribes buffalo project near Mandaree, was tracked through an ear tag. Park officials estimate the homeward journey for her and her calf about three days.

It was the second time the buffalo cow had been rounded up and transferred to the tribe's project and the second time she broke free and walked the long way home. The last time was three years ago. This time, she's home for good.

‘There’s no sense in her running across North Dakota all the time to see her relatives, ’ said district ranger Rusty Jensen. ‘It's easier to leave her here. ‘

Park records indicate she was born in the park 15 years ago.

Her last odyssey apparently started June 30. Park personnel received a call from Mandaree that the cow and her calf had broken through a fence and were headed their way. Last Thursday, a McKenzie County sheriff’s dispatcher called to report a bison cow and her calf headed down U. S. Highway 85, three miles north of the park.

The park's buffalo keeper, John Heiser, watched the bison approach the park.

‘I began to open the gates rather than let her wreck the Forest Service fences, ’ Heiser said. ‘Her homing instinct was that strong and I knew there was no way I was going to keep her out of the park. ‘

The bison looked at the final open gate for a few minutes and went through the park's fence instead, her calf close behind her. When last seen, she had caught up with 150 other grazing buffalo.

‘She was trying to find her brothers and her sisters and her relatives, with her big, bull calf with her. It was really neat, ’ Heiser said.

‘This bison could teach us all a lot about the homing instinct, about roots. Nothing stopped her, ’ he said. ‘She knew right where to go. I admire her so much. ‘

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August 31 Rochester: An animal rights group has claimed responsibility for the release of 2, 800 mink at a north Rochester fur farm. About 2,000 mink had either wandered back to the farm or were recovered. The Animal Liberation Front has claimed responsibility for five recent fur farm releases.

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Aug 13, 1998 . USA TODAY Idaho Cascade - Anglers once again are finding tiny, whitish, wormlike crustaceans on trout and other fish taken from Cascade Reservoir, Experts, say there is no-reason for concern.

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USA TODAY - JULY 20, 1998 13A Georgia

. . . Larange - Construction workers putting a roof on a wing of LaGrange High School found about 1,000 Mexican free-tailed bats hiding in the gutter system and under the roof. The bats will be flushed out and their entrance sealed.

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USA TODAY - Aug 21, 1998 Virginia Gloucester Point - Two ‘veined rapa whelks, ’ a type of Asian marine creature that could be a threat to shellfish harvests, have been found for the first time in Hampton Roads, scientists said.

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WAYWARD CAT ENDS UP IN WALLA WALLA 338 MILES FROM HOME 08/24/98 WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) _ If Oliver the well-travelled cat could talk, perhaps he would tell how he vanished from his Salem, Ore. , home and surfaced in a Walla Walla backyard _ a 338-mile journey.

Clearing up the mystery won't be the first order of business when his owner, Julie Mayfield, picks him up in Portland, 47 miles north of Salem.

‘When I see him on Friday, I'm gonna squeeze him to death and kiss him, ’she said.

Randal Son, director of Walla Walla's Blue Mountain Humane Society, is making a business trip to Portland and will take Oliver along.

Nobody's sure if Oliver hitched a ride from Salem to Walla Walla. The Cascade Mountains and hundreds of miles of wilderness and sparsely populated farmlands separate the two cities.

‘We've had cats get across town before, but this is pretty amazing, ’ Son said.

When Oliver disappeared, Mayfield and her family had been in the process of moving across town in Salem and left the cat with a neighbour until they were settled.

On Aug. 14, Oliver didn't come when Mayfield visited the neighbour and called for the cat. He was nowhere to be found.

A couple days later, Janice Davisson and her three daughters were eating dinner at their Walla Walla home when they heard a cat meowing loudly in their back yard.

They investigated and found Oliver, who happily wolfed down two bowls of cat food.

The Davissons knew Oliver wasn't a stray by the purple tag around his neck. It carried his name and a phone number.

Mayfield was shocked when she got a call.

‘I said, `Where is he? Where are you calling from?’' she said. ‘When she told me Walla Walla, I was just speechless. ‘

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USA TODAY - Tuesday, Oct 6 Florida St. Pete Beach — An invasion of stingrays have left about 100 beachgoers suffering from barbed-tail attacks, Pinellas County officials said. The creatures have been driven to shore by last week's hurricane, Georges. Wounds normally are treated with hot water, which the poison, and soap, to cleanse the wound.

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OWNERS SEEKING PIG, PYTHON PARROTS 08/25/98 LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Pardon, but this is peculiarly perplexing. Missing pig, python, parrots, parakeet. Also lost: a baby goat and 4-foot iguana.

Lincoln's Animal Control is getting some unusual calls for help. The most-wanted list includes the previously mentioned pets, which strayed from homes or escaped from cages in recent weeks.

All of the animals, except the pig and goat, are roaming or flying free in Lincoln. The pig got lost near Hickman and the goat near Denton.

Animal Control says that since July 15, four macaws have flown the coop. Two are still missing.

Emma, a blue-and-gold macaw, has been missing since early August. Owner Danja Pegram even tried using a boom truck to snare the bird from a treetop. The effort failed. Emma is still AWOL.

Pegram's mother, Lois, said she was surprised more than one macaw was on the loose because they are expensive birds, at about $2,000 each. But she believes Emma probably is doing OK. ‘They're a hardy bird, ’ she said. ‘They're from South America and they can stand this kind of heat. ‘

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PYTHON FOUND AT NURSERY SCHOOL 09/14/98 TOKYO (AP) _ A teacher at a nursery school in southern Japan found an unwelcome visitor in the school incinerator Monday morning: a 2-meter-long (6 . 6 -foot-long) baby python.

Three police officers rushed to the site to capture the python, which weighed some 5 kilograms (11lbs). Nobody was injured by the Burmese Python, which was discovered 30 minutes before children started to arrive.

It was unclear how the python got in the incinerator. Police suspect that someone may have broken into the nursery during the night to leave the animal there, Kyodo News reported.

Police said the teacher saw something move when she opened the incinerator to throw out the trashing the school in Fukuoka, 900 kilometers (56 0 miles) southwest of Tokyo, realized what it was and called for help.

The snake, which can grow to as long as 8 meters (26 feet) and as heavy as50 kilograms (110lbs), was sent to the Fukuoka City Zoo. (may-jc)

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08/24/98 GREAT FALLS, Montana (AP) _ Home, home on the range, where the deer and the emu play. Emu?

Edward Hastings and his sister were repairing a water tank last week when their cattle plodded into the field with an odd escort _ an emu.

The 5-foot-tall (1. 5 meter),100-pound (45 kilogram) flightless Australian bird ran to them for water.

‘It was pretty strange seeing this emu running with our cows, ’ said Hasting’s sister, Roberta Schuchard. ‘He was crazy that day. ‘

Since then the emu has spent its time peacefully eating grass and roaming between Hastings' pasture and a neighbour’s. Hastings checks in on the bird daily while harvesting.

Ms.Schuchard said she doesn't know of anyone in the area who own emus or similar-looking ostriches. She called the sheriff's office Friday in hopes of finding the owner.

‘It wasn't a nuisance or anything. The cows aren't too upset about it, ’she said. ‘But if it were my animal, I'd want somebody to turn it in. ‘

Ted Funyak, a county animal control officer, planned to capture the emu and take it to a local ostrich farm until someone claims it.

‘It's not going anywhere right now, ’ he said. ‘It just wanders right up to you, but whether it'll do that when we grab it will be another story, ’ he said. Monkeys raised for researchwreak havoc in Florida Keys

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July 10, LOIS KEY, Florida (CNN) - One end of Florida's Lois Key looks like a mangrove-laden island should - lush and green, fringed with healthy trees.

But on the other side of a fence that divides the key, the mangrove trees are sick or dead. And in some places, nothing grows anymore.

The reason? Monkeys - specifically, rhesus monkeys, which are natives of Asia.

Lois Key and near by Racoon Key are owned by Charles River Laboratories, the world's biggest producer of lab animals. For decades, the company raised rhesus monkeys on the islands and allowed them to range free on Lois Key.

‘They ate the trees, they ate the coastal mangroves and actually killed the trees, ’said Ed Davidson of the Florida Audubon Society. ‘The shoreline eroded, and the monkey droppings wash out into the public waters. This is really a mess. ‘

Charles River Laboratories is a subsidiary of the optical giant Bausch and Lomb. It sells the monkeys raised on the keys to researchers studying AIDS, Alzheimer's disease and other afflictions. The animals cost up to $4,000 each.

After years of lawsuits, a judge finally has ordered all free-roaming monkeys off the island within the next couple of years. Charles River has also agreed to remove all caged animals from the keys by early next century and turn the land over to the state of Florida.

But Davidson and other critics of the company's operations take little consolation in that donation.

‘They're going to give us a bunch of dead islands after doing decades worth of damage to public resources that they never owned, ’ Davidson said. ‘that 's no kind of a deal. ‘

Indeed, both islands are inside the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 2, 800 square miles of bays, reefs and islands that are supposed to be protected. While Charles River owned the islands, the shoreline where red mangroves grew remained state property.

And red mangrove trees, which stabilize shorelines and provide homes for dozens of species, are protected by law.

Some area homeowners don't understand why the company has been allowed to let the trees be destroyed.

‘I own the land that I live on here, and yet I am not allowed to cut or trim the mangroves, ’ said island resident Michael Vaughn. ‘that 's public land out there, and a private corporation, for the sake of making money, is able to destroy the fringe mangroves that none of the rest of us that own them can touch. ‘

Company officials declined CNN's request for an interview. But in the past, they have acknowledged the environmental damage done by the monkeys, and they say they've taken steps to repair it.

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USA TODAY - Tuesday, Sept 8 Minnesota Duluth — Residents were asked to be on the lookout for a kangaroo that busted out of the Lake Superior Zoo Saturday by leaping over an 8-foot exterior fence. Somebody either held or accidentally left open the door to a walk-through kangaroo exhibit, officials said.

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EVIONNAZ, Switzerland (August 18, 1998 ) - Monkeys, emus, a kangaroo and a Vietnamese pig were on the loose in countryside in southern Switzerland Tuesday after a fire the previous night in a zoo in La Rasse, near here. Three macaque monkeys, a South American sapajou-capucin monkey, two emus, three ponies, the pig and a wallaby escaped from their cages and enclosures while firemen fought the blaze. Most of the 200 animals, including lions, were saved, but snakes and birds died. The fire destroyed the cafe and an unused building at the animal park.

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Warthog Runs Amok

First it was coyotes in Central Park and cougars stalking the East and West coast suburbs, then bears strolling through Jersey shore communities, elephants rampaging through city traffic, not to mention the occasional moose on the loose up north. Now warthogs are getting into the action in Poland.

On the lam from the quarantine center outside Warsaw, the wily African warthog has become something of a folkhero as the public closely followed daily newspaper reports of sightings and signs of his travels. At last report, the fugitive had eluded authorities for 38 days. No word on whether he's searching for a warthog with a mechanical arm.

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USA TODAY - Tuesday, Sept 8 Minnesota Duluth — Residents were asked to be on the lookout for a kangaroo that

busted out of the Lake Superior Zoo Saturday by leaping over an 8-foot exterior fence. Somebody either held or accidentally left open the door to a walk-through kangaroo exhibit, officials said.

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Sept 3, 1998 : Runaway kangaroos confound authorities

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A second small runaway kangaroo is confounding German authorities just days after they mounted an elaborate operation to capture another marsupial.

‘Manni, ’ an 80-centimetre (31 inch) tall kangaroo described by his keeper as harmless unless grabbed by the head, was spotted Thursday hopping around 500 meters outside his zoo in Bad Pyrmont, northern Germany, the zoo chief said. He has been missing for several days.

‘We've sent people to catch him, I know someone who's got an anesthetic dart gun, ’ said Gerhard Gruene, director of Bad Pyrmont’s animal park.

Meanwhile 250 kilometers (155 miles) away in the town of Erkelenz, police were still trying to identify a kangaroo detained Monday after a three-day chase in which firemen illuminated an entire cornfield one night.

‘We have to hope some owner suddenly realises he's missing a kangaroo, ’ said Wilfried Fussangel, police chief in Erkelenz near the Belgian and Dutch borders.

Initially, the Erkelenz kangaroo was believed to have been the missing marsupial from Bad Pyrmont zoo, but officials doubted that a small kangaroo could hop that far across Germany.

The Erkelenz kangaroo was tough to catch. ‘At one point a hunter fired two anaesthetic darts at him and hit, but they had no effect and he jumped away, ’ said Fussangel.

The kangaroo was finally caught when the hunter put more a more powerful dose in his anaesthetic darts.

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Hawaii Mobilises Against Slithering Environmental Enemy

AP24-JULY -98: HONOLULU (AP) - Brown and sometimes reaching 10 feet long, it has a ruthless appetite for destruction. Birds, rodents and bats are typical victims, but it’s also been known to attack infants with nearly fatal results.

Hawaii, with more endangered species than any other U. S. state, is mustering everything it can to prevent an invasion of the brown tree snake. State officials have deployed an elite battalion of beagles to sniff out incoming cargo from Guam, 3,800 miles to the southwest, where the snakes have already decimated native bird populations.

‘The brown tree snake is the major enemy alien species threat to the state of Hawaii, ’ said Mike Wilson, director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. ‘Virtually every single bird species we have’ would be threatened by the snake, he said.

Brown tree snake experts are gathering here Monday for a three-day symposium to discuss the latest trapping strategies, new kinds of snake bites and the use of snake-detecting dogs.

Since Jack Russell terriers first were used on Guam in 1994 to check outgoing cargo, only one brown tree snake has been confirmed arriving in Hawaii, said Mike Pitzler of the U. S. Department of Agriculture's snake containment programme in Hagatna, Guam. that compares with five snakes found in the previous five years.

Still, it takes only one pregnant snake to breach Hawaii's defences for an invasion to begin, since a female can lay up to 12 eggs at a time.

‘A number of snakes we have captured have been females in various stages of pregnancy, ’ Pitzler said.

Every night on Guam, where the brown snake first arrived in the 1940s, the director of the U. S. territory's Agriculture Department goes out to an area near his local airport to hunt for snakes. And each night Mike Kuhlmann finds the slithery critters that have run rampant.

Guam and the federal government have spent millions of dollars trying to repair the damage. About 10,000 snakes a year are captured on Guam, but money can’t fix it all: The snake is believed responsible for eliminating nine of the island’s 11 native bird species.

‘What is the dollar value of losing a species? How do you calculate it?’ Kuhlmann said.

At the Honolulu symposium, Kuhlmann will discuss Guam's plans to reintroduce a decimated bird species. Thirteen breeding pairs of the ko'ko, or Guam rail, will be released on 6 5 acres of Andersen Air Force Base that have been cleared of enough snakes to be habitable for the flightless birds.

The land, known as Area 50, is ringed with a 7-foot-high chain-link fence that prevents snakes from re-entering, Kuhlmann said.

It seems to be working: Last year, 140 snake traps in the area snagged up to 40 snakes a week; now only a few snakes are captured per week.

The reintroduction is planned for Oct 1998.

The ko'ko is the only native bird species exclusive to Guam. They and other bird species nearly wiped out by the snake were kept alive in captive breeding programmes.

The success of the ko'ko's reintroduction will help determine whether other birds will be returned to Guam, Kuhlmann said.

‘There is more work ahead than there is behind, ’ he said, citing a need for better, cheaper snake bait than the live mice currently used.

Guam can count on Hawaii, since billions of dollars depend on the brown tree snake not reaching its shores.

Hawaii's snake defence is financed mostly by Congress. For the coming fiscal year, a Senate subcommittee has recommended $2. 6 million in anti-snake money, about $1 million more than last year.

‘The risks to Hawaii’s environment and the future of our agricultural industry are real, ’ Wilson said.

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Alien Species Push Native Animals near Extinction

Reuters 10-SEP-98: CARDIFF, Sept 10 (Reuters)- All is not well in the animal kingdom and man is to blame for introducing rogue species into the environment, scientists said on Thursday.

American mink rampage around the British countryside in huge numbers, threatening the domestic water vole with extinction. Crayfish brought in to conquer a virulent fungus are eating their smaller brethren, and even the humble hedgehog is creating havoc among wading birds in the Outer Hebrides.

David MacDonald of Oxford University told Britain's annual science festival that the American mink, introduced here for farming when furs were fashionable, was a supreme predator.

‘It is one of the most successful mammal carnivores one can think of and has caused huge problems in this country, ’ MacDonald told a press conference. ‘It's over sexed and over here and just about everywhere else too. ‘

The American mink has taken a particular liking to the native water vole. In the good old days the water vole could avoid its predators either by hiding in its burrow or taking to the water. ‘But the mink is the perfect compromise. It can get into their borrows and out swim them too, ’ MacDonald said.

It also threatens its indigenous counterpart by outcompeting it for food. ‘In Russia, the American mink is probably going to cause the European mink to go extinct fairly soon, ’ MacDonald said.

Professor Morris Goslin, of the Zoological Society, said it would cost about 30 million pounds ($50 million) to wipe out the mink problem in Britain, basically by killing them. ‘It's a question of political will and funding, ’ he said.

The mink is not the only example of man's blundering in the animal world. Dr Digger Jackson of the Royal Society of the Protection for Birds told of the introduction of just seven hedgehogs to small islands off northern Scotland in 1974.

They were brought in to control plant-munching slugs, but with a mild climate and few cars to run them over they now number 10,000 and are eating the eggs of wading birds.

‘The hedgehogs are taking huge amounts of their eggs- - up to half the hatchings are failing, ’ Jackson said.

Fences have been erected to protect nests but the proportion producing young has dropped from 70 percent to less than 15 percent, he said. And the hedgehog has found an unlikely ally: rabbits burrow holes where they can sleep and also dig under the fences.

Often, the road to introducing an alien species has been paved with good intentions. Paul Pearce-Kelly, curator of invertebrates at London Zoo, explained how the Euglandina snail was brought into Pacific islands to tackle the African snail, which had become an agricultural pest.

‘Unfortunately, it was quickly found they didn't like the African snail but loved the completely harmless (native) Partulidae snail, ’Pearce-Kelly said, while examples of each snail crawled across the table in front of him.

Similarly, crayfish were introduced to Europe from the United States in the 1970s because they were resistant to a fungus that was wiping out their native brethren.

‘The native white clawed crayfish has been decimated, partly because the American crayfish carries the fungus despite being immune to it and also because they eat them, ’ said David Holdich of the University of Nottingham.

Introduced animals do not even have to kill native species to threaten them. The Ruddy duck, again brought in to Europe from North America, now threatens the white-headed duck with extinction.

Essentially, according to Baz Hughes of the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, the white head mates with one female and rmains faithful while the lusty Ruddy duck will mate with as many ducks as possible of any type, thus creating a new hybrid.

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USA TODAY - Monday, Sept 28 South Carolina Aiken — An insect called the soybean looper caterpillar may effectively control the spread of a green Kudzu weed that has taken over land, trees and telephone poles near the Savannah River, federal officials say. Herbicides and shading techniques have not eradicated Kudzu, introduced in the U. S. more than a century ago.