Monday, April 20, 2015

Where's my dinner?

Elephants block busy road so baby can cross

A family of elephants in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, block traffic then stand guard on the road in order for their baby to cross safely.

YouTube link.

Parrots rescued from burning house shouted 'help' and 'fire'

Emergency crews responded to a house fire in Canyon County, Idaho, on Friday night that caused some confusion.

Canyon County Dispatch says the fire was reported just outside Middleton. When firefighters arrived, they heard noises inside the house which lead them to believe there were people inside.

Once they got the flames contained, though, they discovered that the noises were actually coming from two shouting parrots. Firefighters say the birds were saying "Help!" and "Fire!"

Video disappointingly has no sound,

YouTube link.

Crews removed the birds from the home and gave them oxygen. They are expected to be all right. No people were found inside the house. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

There's a short news video here.

Baby sea lion abducted from Los Angeles beach

A sea lion pup was taken from its mother by four suspects at Dockweiler State Beach early on Sunday morning. A witness at the scene told authorities that at around 3am, two women and two men were at the beach harassing a mother sea lion and her two pups. The group, who are all said to be between the ages of 20 and 25, were throwing cinder blocks and trash at the animals.

None of the animals was hit, but a female suspect went to a car nearby, grabbed a blanket and handed it to a male suspect. The man grabbed one of the sea lion pups, wrapped it up in the blanket and placed it in the trunk of the car. The four then entered the vehicle and left with the baby sea lion.

The car is described as a black two-door Honda Civic with the last two digits of the California licence plate containing the numbers 5 and 6. The witness called police, who arrived at the scene by 3:15am. Police called Peter Wallerstein, president of Marine Animal Rescue. Wallerstein headed to the scene and was able to find the second baby sea lion hiding in the bushes of a nearby bike path.

The pup was unharmed and taken to safety. Sea lions do not make good pets, Wallerstein said. They bite with 10 times the strength of dogs, and their mouths are dirtier and more bacteria-ridden than any other mammal, he said. Keeping a sea lion as a pet is also a federal offence that carries a fine of up to $10,000 and a year in prison, Wallerstein added.

There's a short news video, where the sea lion is described as a baby seal, here.

Teenager arrested after cyclists targeted in misguided revenge for friends’ fatal car crash

A 16-year-old from Travelers Rest in South Carolina is facing multiple charges, including six counts of attempted murder, after he repeatedly targeted cyclists as revenge for the deaths of two friends, even though authorities say cyclists had no role in the accident. Investigators say the teenager thought his friends, Josey Macala Cox, 17, and Timothy Michael Arrowood, 19, crashed last December because they were trying to drive around cyclists in the road. Cox and Arrowood both died at the scene. At that time several people said cyclists caused the crash.

But investigators said the crash happened when Arrowood lost control of the vehicle, left the road and hit trees, and cyclists were not to blame. The teen apparently continued to believe the wreck was caused by cyclists, and he began to target road riders, deputies say. The teen shot fireworks at cyclists and on several occasions, he even tried to run them off the road with his car, according to Jonathan Smith with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. The teen was caught after members of the Greenville Spinners Bicycle Club started posted warnings on their Facebook page about a driver harassing cyclists.

A GCSO investigator rides with the Spinners, and he started an investigation into the incidents. The investigator said he determined the lengthy pattern of assaults involved the same motorist with cyclists in the same part of the county. All the incidents involved the same driver in a black Hyundai Tiburon. Several victims reported the driver verbally assaulted, and in some cases physically assaulted both male and female cyclists who were riding their bikes on the road. The physical assaults included spitting, throwing drinks and lit fireworks at the cyclists, and even attempting to cause the cyclists to crash or to crash the vehicle into them.

The incidents known to investigators happened between December 2014 and April 2015. Eleven victims have been identified. The teen, whose name is not being released because of his age, was arrested on Friday. He is charged with six counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault and battery, two counts of third-degree assault and battery, two counts of shooting fireworks from a vehicle and eleven counts of taunting cyclists. Investigators believe there may be additional victims who have not yet come forward. Anyone who believes they have been victimised by the teen is asked to call police.

With news video.

Parents charged after both overdosed on heroin while bathing their 3-year-old son

The parents of a 3-year-old boy have been arrested after police in Manchester, New Hampshire, said they overdosed on heroin while the youngster was in the bathtub.

Police said the incident happened late last year at a residence on Bethel Court. Investigators said that on Dec. 4, 2014, police were called to an apartment by the child's grandmother after she found the parents unconscious in the bathroom with the child in the tub.

Police said the boy was unhurt in the incident. Authorities said the grandmother became suspicious when the bathroom grew quiet and went to see what was happening. That's when she found the couple passed out, police said.

YouTube link.

Eric Carter, 21, and Stephanie McCassin, 24, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The parents were arrested on Thursday and released on bail. They are scheduled to appear in court on May 22. Police said the child was turned over to the custody of his grandmother.

Young birds now back down to earth following suspected magic mushroom trip

A group of inquisitive birds were left out of their tree after eating what is believed to be magic mushrooms at a wildlife sanctuary in Wellington, New Zealand. Five rare little hihi, mostly juveniles, were found "sort of paralysed or spasming" on the ground in the Zealandia Sanctuary in Karori after a ranger noticed them pecking at an unidentified fungus. Zealandia lead ranger conservation Matu Booth said the age of the birds that ate the mushrooms may go some way towards explaining their strange behaviour. "Maybe it was a bit of a teenage 'let's try it' mentality. Perhaps one bird was down there trying it and others were encouraged to do it, too," he said.

All the birds recovered after being placed in cardboard boxes and left to come down for a few hours. Booth said the birds were always looking for new food sources. "But for a species to suddenly go from nectar and insect eating to apparently eating fungi, that's a bit of a strange one. One explanation may be that there were some insects on the fungi." The hihi, or stitchbird, is one of New Zealand's rarest birds because of its carefree, friendly nature and propensity to nest in tree holes, making it an easy target for rats and other predators. Zealandia conservation manager Raewyn Empson said hihi usually ate nectar, fruit and insects and consuming mushrooms was unheard of.

It could not be confirmed that the birds' condition had been caused by the fungi, nor what sort of mushrooms they were. "We've never heard of hihi eating mushrooms before, but that's not to say that they don't," she said. "We do know that tui get drunk on the nectar of flax flowers and have been affected by rhododendron flowers, so it's not unusual for animals to have effects from eating something." There was no way to know whether they deliberately consumed mind-altering substances. "We can't get into their heads so we don't really know what's going on," she said.

The hihi was wiped out from New Zealand's mainland by 1885 and at one time the only surviving population was located on Little Barrier Island. After extensive conservation efforts, the birds have been reintroduced to the Karori reserve, Tiritiri Matangi and Kapiti Island. Even if their penchant for hallucinogenic substances cannot be proved, hihi are undoubtedly quirky characters famous for being the only bird known to sometimes mate face to face. Their Maori name translates to "rays of sun", the story being that the demigod Maui threw the bird into a fire after it refused to fetch him water, resulting in the male's yellow breast plumage. "They're a delightful little bird," Booth said. "They are special on lots of levels - they're special because they're endangered but also because they're quite unusual."

Man and his baboon arrested after theft of cash from man leaving bank

A pair of criminals with two baboons waylaid a man as he was leaving a bank in Lagos, Nigeria, recently. The unsuspecting victim who had withdrawn the sum of 230,000 naira (£775, $1,150) from a bank was shocked when he stepped out only to see some roughly dressed young men with two giant-sized baboons starring at him menacingly. The man took to his heels, abandoning his bag of money. The bandits used their baboons to scare the victim after driving close to the banking premises with an unregistered Nissan Primera. It was learnt that two of the suspects alighted from the vehicle with two baboons and ambushed the man as he was coming out of the banking hall after withdrawing the money from his account. The victim reportedly was frightened and dropped the bag containing the cash on the ground and ran for dear life. While running, the victim discovered that the suspects who took the bag containing his cash was also running with the baboon towards the opposite direction and he went after him.

On realising that the victim was coming after him, the suspect took some of the money from the bag and threw it at the victim who immediately bent down to pick the naira notes which littered the floor, a move the suspect capitalised on to escape into a waiting vehicle with his baboon. It was learnt that as soon as the suspect and his baboon got into the waiting vehicle, the driver zoomed off abandoning the baboon and his colleague identified as Mohamed Nafiu and at the crime scene. An angry mob that was attracted to the scene nearly lynched both Mohammed and the baboon but the fierce-looking baboon stood stoutly in defence of his master and succeeded in warding off intending attacks, until police arrived the scene and apprehended the suspect. Confessing to the crime, Mohamed Nafiu said: "I am from Gdala Local Government Area in Kano state. I am married with two children. I am a farmer but later, I began to sell herbal medicines for Malaria, typhoid, hypertension and body pains.

"After a while, I decided to relocate to Lagos to enable me have more patronage. But before I came to Lagos, I bought a baby baboon as a pet that was a year and eighteen months and started training him. I came to Lagos almost ten years ago with the baboon and used it for entertainment and for showmanship while selling my herbal medicine. It was during that period that I met Nura, the leader of the gang, who also has a baboon. He was the person that brought the idea of using the baboon to frighten and rob victims. After the first operation, I quit selling my herbal medicine because it was not as lucrative as robbing. I have participated in over ten robbery operations using baboons within Lagos. We use the two baboons each time we want to rob victims. Nura and I would alight from the vehicle with the baboons while a hired driver will be on the alert to drive off. We purposely hire different vehicles for the operation so that we would not be traced.

"We pay the driver in advance before each operation and also pay him after each operation. Usually, we operate in areas where we assume victims will be in possession of cash and where it will be easy to escape after the operation, like: banks and shopping malls. The baboons have been trained to scare victims and snatch their valuables and they do whatsoever we tell them to do. We pay each hired driver based on the time contracted because of the risk involved, once the time is up, he zooms off with or without us. Also before the operation, we agree on the amount, we give the driver advance payment for fuel then pay up after the job. I met Nura in Lagos several years back and my fortunes changed as I was constantly having cash with me. Immediately I saw the police officers, I surrendered myself to them and also assisted the officers in handcuffing the baboon." Lagos police com­mand spokesman, DSP Kenneth Nwosu said that police are still on the trail of Nura, while Mohamed Nafiu and the baboon will be charged in court at the end of investigation.

Man surprised by unexpected cockerel named Humphrey living in his back garden

Being a postman, Chris Kitchen is used to delivering packages of all shapes and sizes. But he had a surprise delivery of his own last week when he got home from work to discover a cockerel named Humphrey had set up home in his back garden in Driffield, Yorkshire. "I had gone to let the dog out in the back garden when I noticed the cockerel," Mr Kitchen said.

"I went to investigate and noticed straw bales and a big chicken shed. Then I found a cereal container with food in it labelled Humphrey. I was just scratching my head, I didn't know what to do." Mr Kitchen phoned his fiancé Sam and his other friends to see if he had fallen foul of a prank, but none of them knew anything about Humphrey. He then discovered a note in the rooster's pen from his "owners", named Andy and Sarah, thanking him for looking after the cockerel.

The note reads: 'Thanks again for looking after Humphrey. We have left him in the garden as discussed. He will need one cup of feed per day and water. I think we covered everything else last week. We arrive home on the 24th, so we will come and pick up Humphrey that afternoon. Any problems, just call us. Thanks again. Andy and Sarah.' "I am just baffled by it all," Mr Kitchen said.

"In the letter, they tell me they will be back off their holidays next Friday to pick Humphrey up, so we will just have to see what happens." Humphrey is now being cared for by a friend of Mr Kitchen's, Annette Guy. Mrs Guy used to keep bantam chickens and is making sure Humphrey is cared for until his owners return. "He was up at 5.30am waking everyone up," she said. "He is a right character and you can tell that he has been looked after by whoever does own him."

Woman threatened ex-partner after learning he'd slept with prostitute who was her son's girlfriend

A woman sent a text to her ex-partner threatening to smash his windows after being told he had sex with her son’s prostitute girlfriend. Carol Bulut, 56, appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court where she admitted sending a message that was offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.

The court heard that Bulut and her partner had been together for 23 years and had four children together. Defence agent Alex Burn explained the circumstances of the case. He said: “Her son received a phone call from his partner, who is a prostitute. The girlfriend says ‘I have just got £100 from a punter’ and that she is having a Chinese.”

Mr Burn said at that point her son realised the phone being used belonged to his stepfather – and deduced that punter in question was his relative. The solicitor said the son then phoned Bulut and told her: “He (the stepfather) is having sex with my bird.” The solicitor went on to say that his client was furious and engaged in the mobile phone text message.

Mr Burn described it as a case of “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. Sheriff Alison Stirling admonished Bulut of Balmedie, for the offence. Speaking after her court appearance, an emotional Bulut said she was glad it was over and said what happened had a “detrimental effect on the family”.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Happiness is a piece of cabbage

Little dog doesn't like to dine alone

Rescue dog Bonnie has a solution in order to eat alongside her new friend Clyde.

YouTube link.

Four caged puppies strapped to roof of van rescued by police

Police officers in Akron, Ohio, pulled over a van on Interstate 76 on Friday after getting multiple calls of caged puppies strapped to the roof. Police rescued the four puppies halfway through a Mennonite family's 300-mile trip from Ashland County to Pennsylvania.

"They've been travelling a long way already and had a long way to go and they had no idea what they were doing was wrong," said Sergeant Kris Beitzel. "I did ask him why the dogs were not in the car and he said he had far more important things to put in the car and there wasn't room."

Raw video of the traffic stop.

YouTube link.

Police did not arrest the family of six which included a couple with their four children less than six years old. Instead police gave them a warning and educated the family on the law. "I didn't see any injuries, I did notice all four would not leave each other," said Beitzel. "They were huddled together, they were scared.

News video.

YouTube link.

"They had urinated throughout the cage, when I tried to get them out they ran back in the cage. They were very scared and I imagine intimidated, having been on top of that van for that long. Now they did have a tarp that covered three sides of the cage, but they are still experiencing a lot of wind, a lot of noise." The three-month-old puppies were taken to Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron where they are cared for before being taken to Summit County Animal Shelter.

Peculiar self-amputating vertical swimming sea creature found washed up on beach

An unusual self-amputating, vertical swimming, serpent-like marine specimen has washed up on Aramoana Spit at the entrance to Otago Harbour in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Department of Conservation service manager David Agnew said he was called by resident Don Gibbs, who discovered the 3m-long fish. He had never seen anything like it in his 20 years with DoC. University of Otago New Zealand Marine Studies Centre manager Tessa Mills confirmed it was an "oarfish".

They have been known to grow up to 11m long. "They are usually found in deep water in tropical temperatures but I think they do come up to feed on the surface." She said it was unusual that it had been found washed up in a cold-water area. Marine studies programme director Sally Carson said it was one of the most "bizarre rare fish".

She said the oarfish hangs vertically in deep water and is known to "self-amputate" by biting off its own tail. "Why it would do that I have no idea." Myths have surrounded the fish with people around the world mistaking it for a sea serpent - there has even been a suggestion the mythical Loch Ness Monster could be an oarfish.

Wild chimpanzees look both ways before crossing roads

In a 29-month survey, researchers observed and recorded 20 instances of wild chimpanzees crossing a busy road in Sebitoli, in the northern part of Uganda's Kibale National Park. They watched 122 chimps cross the highway used by 90 vehicles an hour, many speeding at 70 to 100 kilometres an hour.

It's the first report on how chimpanzees behave crossing a very busy asphalt road, says Marie Cibot of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. Chimps are exceptionally cautious when they cross the road. Ninety-two per cent of them looked right, left, or both ways before or during crossing, and 57 per cent ran across, showing that they knew the value of reaching the other side as quickly as possible.

YouTube link.

Alpha males led and organised 83 per cent of the road-crossing groups. This implies that they recognised the importance of extra vigilance during road crossings. There was also evidence that healthy and dominant chimps often made sure that stragglers or more vulnerable members of the group crossed safely. Some 86 per cent of the healthy chimps looked back or stopped when at least one vulnerable individual, such as an infant or injured chimp, trailed behind.

Cibot now hopes to work with the Ugandan authorities to test new safety measures. "We aim to test mitigation measures such as bridges, underpasses, reduced speed limits, speed-bumps and police patrols in the area," she says. "Road infrastructure is spreading throughout Africa to support regional development, industry and tourism, and studying chimpanzee adaptation facing roads represents a way to reduce the risk of collisions."

Man fined for putting rats in wife's attic

A court has heard how a man whose wife took action to evict him from their home in Dumfries, Scotland, retaliated by putting rats in the attic. Lee Thompson, 42, bought the animals at a pet shop knowing his wife had a phobia about them. He admitted behaving in a manner likely to cause fear or alarm at the house in May last year.

Thompson, of Portling, near Dalbeattie, was fined £710 for the offence at Dumfries Sheriff Court. The court heard the couple had been married for 12 years but their relationship had broken down prior to the offence. Ann Thompson then took legal action to have him removed from the house and within hours he went to the pet shop and bought the two rats. When she returned with a friend to the house they found empty boxes from the pet shop with literature about caring for rats.

Fiscal depute Jennifer McGill said: "The wife has a deep-rooted phobia about rats, which he is well aware of." It was a few days later that the scuttling was heard from the attic and rat traps were put down in the loft. Ms McGill said: "The first night one of the rats was found dead in a trap and the following day the other was also discovered dead." Solicitor Carolyn Priestley said the relationship had now resumed and the couple were back living together and working things out.

She said Thompson, who had been going through a period of ill-health at the time, now realised it had been "a stupid thing to do". She added that the children of the family had been talking about rats as pets and this was partly why he bought them. Sheriff Kenneth Robb dismissed the suggestion they had been bought with the children in mind and told Thompson: "This was a nasty piece of behaviour to get back at your wife."

Man surprised and his sister hospitalised after 3ft-long snake found dangling from oven

A man from Halliwell in Bolton, Greater Manchester, found a 3ft-long snake dangling from his oven on Wednesday evening. David Atherton, 65, had left his oven on to preheat, and was opening it to put on some food, when he saw the reptile hanging at its side. As he watched, the black and white snake, now identified as a banded California king, fell onto the floor and curled up. Mr Atherton said: “When I pulled down the oven door this black and white thing was hanging down from the side of it.

“It was about an inch thick and at first I thought it was part of a packet, but then I realised it was a snake. There is a small gap between the oven and the fitted cupboards, which must be what it came through. You could not make it up. It is not something that happens every day.” Mr Atherton put the snake in a plastic food recycling box, and when police arrived it was moved to an empty bin for safekeeping.

RSPCA officers later retrieved the snake and the escapee has found a temporary home with Atherton conservationist and reptile enthusiast Crocodile Joe. Mr Atherton’s sister Margaret Meadows, who is in her seventies, has a huge phobia of snakes and suffers from heart problems. While she did not see the snake, after hearing about what happened she became distressed and was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital, where she remains in a stable condition.

Mr Atherton added: “Her phobia is so bad she cannot even look at a snake on TV, let alone see one in real life. I would not like to hazard a guess as to what would have happened if she had been the one to open the oven and see it. It could have been much worse. Nobody is saying Margaret is in hospital as a direct result of what happened, it is not what put her in hospital, but obviously it hasn’t helped either.” Crocodile Joe, who said that banded California king snakes can grow up to 6ft in length and as thick as a broom handle, said the Halliwell escapee was a “beautiful” specimen.”

Suspected would-be thief cut free from charity clothes bin after becoming trapped inside

A man suspected of trying to steal clothes had to be freed by firefighters after becoming trapped in a charity bin at St Stephen's Shopping Centre in Hull. A member of the public alerted security at the shopping centre when they heard banging coming from the bin at about 4.30am on Friday morning.

Because of the way the bins close, they were unable to reach in and get the man out themselves. In the end, emergency services had to free the suspect from the British Heart Foundation recycling bin using a disc grinder. Police also attended and an arrest was made. Shopping centre manager Jim Harris said: "It would appear some individual who was trying to steal clothes out of the bin had fallen in.

"These things have got a closing mechanism which only opens one way – he couldn't get out and we couldn't get him out. We had to call the fire brigade and they to grind the corner off and cut him out." The clothes bin is in the shopping centre's car park and is owned by the British Heart Foundation. The fire service confirmed officers attended shortly after 5am.

A spokeswoman for Humberside Police said: "A man was arrested after being found allegedly removing clothing from a charity bin in Hull. Officers attended after receiving a call and found a man inside the recycling bin. Humberside Fire and Rescue Service was called to assist in helping the man out of the bin and the 33-year-old man was then arrested on suspicion of theft."

Vigilance urged after naked grunting bald man seen aggressively masturbating at bus stop

Residents of Grove Park in south east London have been urged to be extra vigilant after a naked man was seen “aggressively masturbating” at a bus stop.

A woman was walking past the bus stop in Heather Road at 12.30am on April 16 when she noticed the man, who she described as being a white, in his late 50s and balding with light grey hair on the sides.

The woman, who cannot be named, said: "When he saw me, and I saw him, I started running and he started making the most awful grunting sounds and became quite aggressive with his willy.”

The woman added: "Even though he never chased me, who's to say he won't chase the next young woman and do something more aggressive." A police spokesman said: "We were called to reports of a naked man outside Grove Park station playing with himself. When officers arrived the man had made off, the area was searched but officers were unable to locate the man."

Mixed feelings over mystery bench plaque

A mysterious message has appeared on a bench in Leytonstone, east London. A plaque on a bench close to Saint John the Baptist Church in Church Lane now reads “Sit on me. I bet you haven’t felt wood this hard since Church.”

Staff at Artistry hair salon, in Church Lane, said they were shocked by the message. Carole Edrich, 40, from Wanstead, burst out laughing after the message was pointed out to her. She said: “I think it is brilliant. I’m sorry if it used to be a memorial bench, but it is funny.”

Lady Catherine, a Christian who works in Wild Goose coffee shop in High Road, was not impressed by the message. She said: “It is awkward. It is like an innuendo but with lewd anti-religious connotations, theres a lot going on. I’m not offended but I wouldn’t want to have to explain it to children and it is a family area.”

The Vicar of Saint John the Baptist Church, David Britton, said: "I only noticed it walking past a couple of weeks ago. I have no idea who put it up. I'm not quite sure what is meant by the message but I suppose the plaque is not a ringing endorsement for church pews. My hope and prayer is that for whoever wrote the plaque, the next time they are in church they would feel a sense of God's presence and his love rather just the hard wood of their seat."