Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's the weekend

Leopard and cub cross river

A leopard and its cub cross the Sabie River at the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

YouTube link.

Wildebeest migration time-lapse

Footage shot by British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas over five days in Northern Serengeti, Tanzania, showing thousands of migrating wildebeest crossing the Mara River while moving south into Tanzania from Kenya.

YouTube link.

Stolen chicken wing led to man being knocked unconcious by pool ball and stabbing

Police officers in Collier, Florida, say a man who stole a chicken wing from another diner was knocked out when another patron threw a pool ball at his head.

 His friend, who was also involved in the ensuing brawl, had to be flown to the hospital for serious injuries after he was stabbed. 
 Deputies arrested Amaury Perez, 28, of East Naples, on Tuesday.

According to reports, Perez and four others were at Bowland Beacon on Sept. 28 when they noticed people at another table were calling them names. 
 One of the victims walked by Perez and his friends and took a chicken wing off of their table.
 Perez and his friends threw a pool ball at a man who fell unconscious.

The group then beat up a second victim and stabbed him in the leg and abdomen. 
 Number plates from the suspects’ car were recorded as they fled the bowling alley. Deputies later tracked them to Perez, who is the only one to be arrested in the incident so far.

Homeowner surprised by salamander pile-up on doorstep

The St. Louis office of the Missouri Department of Conservation received a call last week from a homeowner who found a pile of ringed salamanders trapped in an outside stairway.

In autumn they travel by night to fishless woodland ponds where they may congregate by the hundreds for breeding. The salamanders were moved to a nearby fishless pond so they could continue.

Taiwan's Meat-shaped Stone is returning home

One of Taiwan's more unusual national treasures is returning home after an exhibition drew thousands of visitors in Japan.

Nearly 84,000 people went to see the famous Meat-shaped Stone, which was on display at Japan's Kyushu National Museum in the southern city of Fukuoka, a daily average of 5,995 visitors.

One of Taiwan's most revered artefacts, the Meat-shaped Stone is a piece of jasper, carved and dyed to resemble a chunk of stewed pork. According to the National Palace Museum, the craftsman "took the rich natural resources of this stone and carved it with great precision... the veining and hair follicles making the piece appear even more realistic."

Concerns for the Meat-shaped Stone's safety mean that the Taiwanese museum has kept its travel plans a closely guarded secret. But it's known that it had to undergo a 24-hour period of motionless after it had been packed before it was allowed to travel.

Terrified woman called SSPCA to report rubber snake

A terrified woman called the Scottish SPCA after finding a stray snake, only to discover it was made of rubber. They were alerted after a member of the public spotted the two and a half foot long creature on Glasgow's Claremont Street.

When Senior Inspector Billy Linton arrived he was amused to find a toy snake. Billy said, "The woman had put a cardboard box over the 'snake' to contain it and I lifted it with caution as I expected the snake to be moving.

"However, I soon realised it was made of rubber. The toy is quite lifelike so I can understand why the woman was fooled. She genuinely thought it was real and was very frightened.

"Many of the incidents I attend involve injured and neglected animals, so this was a bit of light hearted relief and it certainly put a smile on my face. While this particular rescue turned out to be a false alarm, we'd still always encourage anyone with concerns for an animal to contact us."

Woman suing drum shop over claims cymbal strike caused tinnitus

A woman is suing a drum shop for £20,000 damages after she claims she developed tinnitus when a cymbal was struck as she was visiting to buy earplugs for her son. Dorothy Brannigan, 54, maintains that she became aware of pain in both ears immediately after leaving RWJ Drum Store in Perth, Scotland. She claims that as she was getting ready to leave, owner Kevin Smith struck a large cymbal with force at least twice, allegedly to demonstrate the effects of the condition.

In the action it is said she told Mr Smith that her son, who was taking a sound engineering course, had been suffering from the condition and his doctor had advised he use ear protection. She maintains that having made her purchase she turned and walked towards the door of the shop on February 15, 2011. But she alleges Mr Smith shouted for her to wait and walked towards her holding a drum stick and cymbal. Her counsel Stephen Laing said: "He lifted the cymbal up to around level with the pursuer's ear with his arm outstretched. The cymbal was approximately four to five feet away from the pursuer's ear.

"Without giving the pursuer warning the defender proceeded to strike the cymbal with force at least twice producing a sudden loud, high-pitched, bell-like sound that resonated towards the pursuer and had a long sustain. There was approximately 15 seconds between each strike with force upon the cymbal. He said to the pursuer: 'Imagine that all the time'." Ms Brannigan, of Perth, said that after she got home she became aware of ringing in her ears which became louder over the following weeks. She tried to go to her work as a nursery assistant but struggled because the noise aggravated her tinnitus and the condition made it hard for her to sleep.

The court also heard that she bought custom made ear plugs which she wore constantly at work for two years. Mr Laing said his client's hearing has returned to normal but the tinnitus persists and she avoids noisy surroundings. She uses ear plugs when carrying out tasks such as vacuuming or using a blender and when going to the hairdresser or dentist. He added that she is anxious about flying as she had found that increases the volume of the tinnitus. Ms Brannigan is seeking compensation for her pain and suffering and various expenses. It is claimed by Mr Smith's lawyers that he is not liable in the action and the sum sued for is excessive.

Blind man claimed guide dog misled him when he harassed family about inheritance

A blind man convicted of harassing his family in a furious doorstep row over £100,000 inheritance claimed he had literally been led up the garden path when he was taken there by his guide dog. Raymond Knott, 62, denied intending to go to the address and instead blamed his pooch, claiming he had been led there without realising.

He said he was completely surprised when he discovered where he was but "took the opportunity" to knock on the door. The grandfather then verbally abused daughter-in-law Rachael Knott, accusing her of swindling him out of the cash, before demanding it back. When she asked him to leave he told her to "scream away" before continuously holding down the doorbell for around a minute, a court heard.

Courtney Daley, prosecuting, said: "When she [Rachael] opened the door she found Knott standing there and they had a verbal argument where he said he wanted his money back. She asked him to leave but he stepped forward and said he was going to start on her parents and put them all over the papers." She added Knott had had a T-shirt printed with the slogan: Would you or would you not steal £102,000?" on the front.

Knott, of Castle Cary, Somerset pleaded guilty to pursuing a course of conduct amounting to the harassment of Rachael Knott. He was handed a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting his son and daughter-in-law directly or indirectly and from going to their address. South Somerset Magistrates Court heard Knott's father had died earlier this year, and left him £102,000 in his will. To stop him from losing his benefits, Knott, who is registered blind, handed it to his grandchildren, the court was told. But in April he was reported to police by his son after he began harassing him, and his wife, in relation to the money.

Police investigation after thieves stole garden shed but left all the contents

Devon and Cornwall police are investigating the ‘unusual’ theft of a complete garden shed. The shed's contents were first taken out before the thieves made off with the structure itself.

Police think somebody must have seen the shed being picked up and hauled away. The incident occurred sometime between Friday October 17 and Tuesday, October 22, at an unoccupied house in Heathfield, Newton Abbot.

The garden shed was removed from the rear garden and the contents were left in the rear garden. Officers have described the incident as 'most unusual'.

Acting Detective Sergeant Shane Robertson of Newton Abbot CID commented “This is a very unusual crime and I believe that someone local would have seen the removal of the shed”.

Friday, October 24, 2014

No matter what

Lucky the dog shadowed by tiny stalker

YouTube link.

Orphaned fawns gleefully boing back to the wild

After months in the care of the California Wildlife Center in Malibu, California, five orphaned fawns enjoy their first moments back in the wild where they belong.

Orphaned fawns are prevented from seeing human faces and forms during their time in the rehabilitation setting. In keeping with that policy, this video was filmed from behind a camouflage blind in the woods, by a volunteer.

Vimeo link.

Police used patrol units, dogs and helicopters to catch man who had snatched pack of cigarettes

An 18-year-old man was arrested in Florida on Tuesday morning on charges of stealing a $4 pack of cigarettes, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

The 43-year-old victim was in a parking lot in Bradenton at 9:11am when Shaquielle Olmeda ran by and snatched a pack of cigarettes out of the victim's hand.

Olmeda ran off and the victim called law enforcement. Deputies used patrol units, dogs and helicopters to set up a perimeter, and eventually found Olmeda in the east parking lot of Magic Mile Plaza.

The victim positively identified Olmeda and the pack of cigarettes was located on his person, deputies said. Olmeda was arrested without further incident.

Lady caught stealing Rock Hard erection cream, handcuffs and Deep Throat desensitizing spray

Police in Spartanburg, South Carolina, arrested 18-year-old Karla Farmer for shoplifting on Tuesday.

Ms Farmer first took the Rock Hard erection cream and Deep Throat desensitizing spray from the “love unit” of a Spencer’s store, according to a police report.

After exiting the business, she returned a few minutes later to take the handcuffs, investigators allege. Mall security subsequently detained Farmer and handcuffed the teenager when she fought with them and tried to flee.

When police searched Farmer’s purse, they recovered the Spencer’s merchandise, as well as a bra and two pairs of underwear apparently stolen from a Victoria’s Secret location in the WestGate mall in Spartanburg. Ms Farmer was charged with shoplifting and booked into the county jail.

Woman set roommate on fire during argument about thrown away spaghetti and meatballs

Police in Florida have arrested a woman they say doused her roommate with nail polish remover and set him on fire. At around 2:30am on Wednesday, 33-year-old Melissa Dawn Sellers got into an argument with 42-year-old Carlos Ortiz Jr. at a home in Clearwater.

The two had been drinking, and Sellers doused Ortiz's upper body with nail polish remover and ignited with him a lighter or cigarette, police said. According to Ortiz's friend and witness, Ines Causevic, Sellers was angry at Ortiz because he had thrown out her spaghetti and meatballs. "She was setting little objects on fire, then that turned into pouring nail polish remover all over him, and then all of a sudden, the lighter sparked and he lit on fire," said Causevic.

Causevic said she threw water on Ortiz and tore his shirt off, trying to put out the fire. "When he got up, his face was like melting off, it was pink and sore," said Causevic. "His lips were burning." Ortiz was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he is listed in critical condition with burns to his face, chest and shoulders. Sellers left the scene before police arrived, but returned later from her stepfather's home nearby and was arrested, police said.

She was charged with aggravated battery. Neighbours and friends of Ortiz said they are sickened by the incident. They said Ortiz was a good guy who helped people out and let Sellers move in because she had been evicted. "That's my friend and I can't imagine such a horrible thing, because he didn't deserve that," said Katherine Muds. "He would never hurt anybody." Sellers has prior arrests for battery and robbery.

Security guards monitor chocolate milk sales

Security guards have been employed in New Zealand to monitor supermarket fridges containing Lewis Road Creamery Fresh Chocolate Milk as customer demand continues to froth over. Since the chocolate milk went on sale three weeks ago, demand has been so great that customers are queuing up for fresh deliveries, purchase limits have been put in place at supermarkets, and security guards are being employed to watch over fridges containing the chocolate gold.

Auckland's New World Victoria Park owner, Jason Witehira, said the chocolate milk stock had run out every day since it was launched. Hoardes of devotees queued down the supermarket aisle every day in hope of getting their hands on it, and the weekends were particularly busy, he said. The supermarket received nearly 500 bottles of chocolate milk each morning, which sold out within 90 minutes, Witehira said.

"The interest in it has surprised me immensely. We've had some pretty good product launches in the past but this pretty much takes the cake." The store had put a limit on the number of bottles to two per customer, after one customer took nearly all the bottles on display, he said. "That's his right to do that, but we have to be fair to everybody." Lewis Road Creamery founder Peter Cullinane said he was also aware of security guards monitoring fridges. "It's not fabulous to have a situation where you have to have security guards in place," he said.

Lewis Road Creamery was producing 30,000 litres a week with partner Green Valley Dairies, he said. That could increase to about 50,000 litres per week, but to go beyond that would require either a second production facility or waiting until Green Valley Dairies had completed building its new production facility, about May next year. The company was not considering producing another milk flavour until it had its chocolate milk supply under control. A black market has also emerged, with numerous online auction sites selling two 75ml bottles of the chocolate milk from $30.

Poorly hedgehog has lost all its prickles

A hedgehog that has shed its prickles because of an infection is being cared for at a rescue centre in Cheddar, Somerset.

Pumpkin was taken to Prickles Hedgehog Rescue with swollen legs but later lost his fur and prickles.

YouTube link.

Staff at the centre plan to care for the creature until he has re-grown his spines to ensure he is not left vulnerable to predators.

The hedgehog will be released back to the wild in spring.

Hunt for barn owl hindered by chip shop decoy

A week-long search for a missing tame barn owl has been hindered by false sightings, including one of a plastic model on top of a fish and chip shop. Whisper flew off on 14 October after being mobbed by seagulls during a falconry demonstration in Gorleston, Norfolk. Owner David Gook has followed up sightings of an owl in sand dunes, in back gardens and a plastic owl perched on a chip shop roof in Great Yarmouth.

He said time was running out for Whisper, who cannot fend for himself. The three-year-old owl, which Mr Gook raised and trained from a chick, was spooked by the gulls at Cliff Park Ormiston Academy. He flew off towards a nearby housing estate and has not been seen since. Mr Gook, who runs Hawking Experience in Acle, said Whisper was unlikely to survive for more than five days and began a search, helped by local falconry clubs.

"Three days after he went missing a man said he'd seen a light owl in sand dunes at Yarmouth, about six miles away, so I spent ages there, but found nothing," Mr Gook said. "Then someone called and said her son had photographed an owl sitting on a fish and chip shop late at night, so I went there, too." When Mr Gook arrived at Rogers Fish and Chips on St Peters Road in Great Yarmouth, he realised the owl was not Whisper.

"It's a plastic owl on top of the shop. It doesn't bear the slightest likeness to mine," he said. Owner Roger Millward said he put four plastic owls on the roof to deter seagulls who were pecking the insulation from his solar panels. "When that failed I put a flying raptor on a pole, and then they got the message," he said. Mr Gook said he feared he "may not see Whisper again". "I'm gutted to think Whisper might be starving to death," he said. The 30cm (12in) bird, which weighs 255g (9oz) has never learned to hunt.

Football club's mascot reprimanded for swearing at own fans and challenging them to a fight

A football club's giant seagull mascot has been ruffling feathers after allegedly calling home fans "c*nts and cocks" - and challenging them to a fight. Torquay United's Gilbert the Gull was spotted arguing with his own supporters as the team crashed at home to visitors Grimsby. Shortly after the game fans took to the internet to complain about the novelty character's alleged bad language and threatening gestures. Torquay chief executive Andrew Candy launched a probe into the bizarre spat at last weekend's Conference Premier clash which Grimsby won 3-2. He cleared the mascot to resume his duties at the team's Plainmoor ground - but banned him from the Popside home stand to avoid further aggro with die-hard fans.

One supporter told the fans forum afterwards: "Around five minutes after Grimsby scored their third, Gilbert came over to us and shouted 'where's the drummer!' We all thought he was having a laugh, but then he called us a bunch of "c***s and c**ks" and after a few words exchanged he waddled off back to the Family Stand. At the end of the game, Gilbert came over again and in front of us on the pitch, he gave the 'come on then' body language towards us and wouldn't stop until hiding behind the stewards and again waddling off as we moved towards the exits. I (and many others) complained to the stewards about this and I personally spoke to Andrew Candy about this issue and he will be having a word. We have the worst mascot in football."

Another supporter added: "The mascot was, and no doubt about it, offering fans on to the pitch for a fight. What would have happened to the club if 10 or more decided to take up the mascots offer and jumped over the wall and on to the pitch?" Mr Candy confirmed he had reprimanded the employee who was inside the mascot costume. He said: "There was an exchange of views between Gilbert and the fans in the Popside. Gilbert was trying to generate some support and get the fans behind the team but it appears that there was a small altercation with the fans. There was no malicious intent in what was said but things were said that, in hindsight, should not have been. Gilbert has been spoken to and been told that this should not have happened and that this will not happen in the future."

Gilbert the Gull admitted getting into a spat with home fans but denied swearing during the angry exchange. Steve Jegat, a dad-of-two, has been donning the novelty costume for the past year to gee up supporters. He said: "Basically after Grimsby scored their third goal I went over and said 'where's the drummer gone' and ended up getting a load of abuse," he said. "The fans on that side had just given up. But I didn't swear like they were trying to say. I went and told the stewards 'I'm more welcome at the away end'. I even had a load of abuse on Gilbert's Facebook page when I got home. They say that I'm the ambassador for the club but if I'm the ambassador why are they trying to knock me about?" Despite the altercation, Steve vowed he wouldn't be put off going back on the pitch. He said: "I'm going to be there for the next home game. I do so much for the club, with charity things and other games, that when the club spoke to me they said 'just stay away from the Popside'."