animals

Oh no! Snails are getting a bad name in the U.S.

I'm not talking about the delicate garlic-and-butter escargots that the French favor and savor.

It's giant African land snails, also known as Archachatina marginata, banana rasp snails or a number of other names they go by.

An extinct species of bird just discovered by a Connecticut scientist may have been the largest ever to fly. The pelagornis sandersi lived 25 million years ago. The fossil was uncovered at an airport in the 1980s but went largely unnoticed until 2010.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Patrick Skahill of WNPR has the story on the bird with a 24-foot wingspan, and what the finding means for paleontologists.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to eliminate the use of bee-harming pesticides on wildlife refuges in the Pacific region by 2016.

A new rule phases out the use of neonicotinoid pesticides – a class of chemical that has been linked to several bee die-offs in Oregon in the past two years, including one that killed 50,000 bumblebees in a Wilsonville parking lot.

Someone is killing the peacocks in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.

The boisterous and colorful birds have been a part of this upscale community near Los Angeles for more than a century. In recent years, the birds have become a source of contention among neighbors — but the conflict has taken a dark turn.

The string of peacock killings is now at 50 over the past two years or so — 20 in the past six months alone — by pellet guns, shotguns, arrows and poison.

The federal Bureau of Land Management plans to capture and remove fewer wild horses from Western rangelands this summer. An agency statement blames budget constraints and already-full holding pens.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. U.S. Custom inspectors at LA's international airport are trained to watch for anything fishy. But slimy? This month inspectors discovered dozens of live giant African snails. Each weighs about 2 pounds and measures nearly six inches. Packed in picnic baskets, the snails arrived from Nigeria where they're considered a delicacy. Here in California, though, they're considered an invasion - able to eat paint and 500 types of plants. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

What's Killing Clams? Solve This Low Tide Mystery

Jul 14, 2014
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

One of the lowest tides of the year this weekend revealed a "crime scene" at the beach at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle.

A handful of recent incidents where police have shot pet dogs in Idaho have angered animal rights advocates. One dog owner in the small town of Filer has issued notice that he intends to sue the city over the death of his dog, Hooch.

For reasons I can't fully understand, the Internet loves its cats. Keyboard Cat and Grumpy Cat are household names, I Can Haz Cheezeburger is a digital empire, and my real-life cats are on a social networking site called Catster (this is not a joke).

PORTLAND -- The public got its first chance to weigh in on the government's plan to kill nearly 16,000 cormorants nesting on an island near the mouth of the Columbia River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed the lethal approach as the best way to reduce the number of birds that congregate at East Sand Island and feast on young salmon and steelhead making their way beyond the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean.

Supporters and critics spoke out Thursday at the Matt Dishman Community Center in Northeast Portland.

Scientists who carry out basic research sometimes find themselves unexpectedly caught up in a web of vitriolic public attacks by politicians pretending to expose foolish, dollar-wasting projects. Patricia Brennan, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, found this out the hard way.

Poachers in Thailand killed a 50-year-old elephant who appeared in Oliver Stone's 2004 film Alexander before crudely hacking off the animal's giant tusks, according to The Bangkok Post.

The Asian elephant, named Phlai Khlao, was used in scenes from the movie starring Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie. The animal had also been part of ceremonial performances for Thailand's royal family.

On Wednesday, Bill Hillmann, one of the authors of Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona, was reportedly gored in the leg. His injuries were not life threatening.

Ask somebody about stress, and you're likely to hear an outpouring about all the bad things that cause it — and the bad things that result. But if you ask a biologist, you'll hear that stress can be good.

In fact, it's essential.

A decision by state officials to euthanize a cougar in east Portland last week is drawing criticism from some wildlife experts – and raising questions on how concerned residents should be.

Brooks Fahy is the executive director of Predator Defense, a conservation group based in Eugene.

He says Portland residents shouldn’t be too surprised by a cougar sighting.

“Cougars have been moving through East Portland and Northwest Portland ... it’s nothing new,” Fahy said.

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