Gorillas get birth control at U.S. zoos
CINCINNATI, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden -- once dubbed "the world's sexiest zoo" for it's breeding success -- gives animals birth control to monitor genetics.
The zoo is not unique. Some 223 accredited institutions are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and ascribe to the Species Survival Plan, which was set to up to carefully monitor animal breeding to promote genetic diversity, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Sunday.
"It is a very important part of what we do. It's being responsible," says Terri Roth, the zoo's vice president of conservation and science.
The Cincinnati Zoo has been so successful in its gorilla breeding program, it's had to put a halt on new births since 2006 to prevent its gorillas' bloodlines from being overrepresented in the North American population, the Enquirer said.
"We're a little bit of a victim of our own success," animal caretaker Ron Evans said. "No zoo is an island. We all have to cooperate to properly manage species."
Some animals, like the gorillas, are given crushed up birth control pills -- just like what humans use -- while others receive vaccines or implants. The zoo avoids more permanent, surgical neutering so the animals can possibly be bred again in the future.
Company employing goats to clear brush
SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Fire-prone residents and municipalities in California are calling an up-and-coming company that employs goats to eat away fire-fueling vegetation.
Brush Goats 4 Hire, a Santa Barbara County outfit, will bring more than 60 goats to eat chemise, ceanothus, thistle and assorted native grasses that pose fire hazards, USA Today reported.
"They'll eat for about 20 minutes, then lie down like they're pregnant," said owner Lorraine Argo.
The company is paid for by a federal Fire Safe Council grant of $67,000 that was procured by the local homeowner's association.
"Our concept is to put the goats where they shine the best. On hillsides where you can't put machines or where it's dangerous for people to be. These goats are amazingly agile," said Ian Newsam, Argo's husband.
Michele Steinberg, Firewise Communities program manager for the National Fire Protection Association, said goats have been used in Emigration Canyon, Utah, Hidden Valley Ranch in Prescott, Ariz., and in Broomfield, Colo., earlier this spring in similar projects.
And, there is still room for growth for businesses such as Brush Goats 4 hire on a national level, said Roger Ingram, farm adviser with the University of California Cooperative Extension
"It's still a kind of embryonic industry, but there is certainly more and more growing demand. It's going to continue to evolve because the fire risk is not going to go away," he said.
Police shoot man carrying sword
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Police in Stockholm, Sweden, shot a sword-wielding man who allegedly threatened several taxis and police officers, officials said.
Police received several calls Saturday evening from people who said a man armed with a sword was attacking taxis, The Local.se reported.
Police were dispatched to the scene shortly after 11 p.m.
"They met a male person around 25 years old who appeared psychologically unstable. He waved a sword towards the taxi vehicles and the public. He then attacked the police unit," Mikael Ericsson at Stockholm police told the Aftonbladet daily newspaper. "They were forced to open fire and shot him in the arm."
The man, whose name was not reported, was shot in the arm then rushed to a hospital where he was under police guard.
Semis block path of drunken driver
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Two semi drivers in Kentucky blocked the path of a woman who was later arrested and charged for drunken driving, police said.
Police responded to a report that a woman was driving erratically Interstate 71 north just before 2 a.m. Thursday, WDRB-TV, Louisville, reported.
When police arrived at the scene, they found two semis had pulled in front of the woman's car, blocking it and all northbound traffic.
The driver, identified as 31-year-old Miranda Works, allegedly was passed out behind the wheel.
When officers awoke Works, they said she "smelled of alcohol, had glossy eyes, and slurred speech."
She allegedly failed several field sobriety tests and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.29 when she was breathalyzed, the report said.
Works was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and reckless driving.