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FLORA AND FAUNA
Wolf found in Netherlands, first for 150 years
by Staff Writers
Luttelgeest, Netherlands (UPI) Jul 22, 2013


Rhino gores man to death in Nepal
Kathmandu, Madhyamanchal (AFP) July 22, 2013 - A rhinoceros gored a man to death as he fished in a river in southern Nepal in what experts said Monday was a rare event.

The 38-year-old was killed Saturday by the animal in Chitwan National Park, Nepal's biggest conservation area, located in the southern plains, police said.

Although attacks on humans are common as deforestation forces wildlife to stray into villages, rhinos rarely kill people, an expert said.

"Rhinos are not aggressive animals so it's rare for them to kill humans," the park's chief warden, Kamal Jung Kunwar, told AFP.

Kunwar said the rhino appeared to have killed the man because he had strayed into the animal's habitat in the park in the Himalayan nation.

Early this month an elephant trampled a 40-year-old woman to death as she collected fodder for cattle in a remote area of southeastern Nepal.

A dead animal found by a road in the Netherlands was a wolf, thought to be the first to be discovered in the country for 150 years, official said.

DNA tests were conducted on the animal, apparently killed by a car near Luttelgeest in the northern Netherlands, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

Since the discovery there has been debate among Dutch conservationists over whether wolves are in fact living in the Netherlands or if the dead animal was carried across the German border.

A local conservation group claimed the dead wolf was more likely from Germany or Poland and may have been dumped by the roadside as a "joke" by East European agricultural workers in the region.

"There could not have been a living one here. No one has come forward because they have hit one, no footprints have been found and a wolf is too shy to come to such a densely populated area," Nettie van den Belt, a spokesman for the group Faunabeheer Flevoland, said.

But another group, "Wolven in Nederland," which campaigns "to prepare the Netherlands for the expected return of wolves to our country," said the discovery should come as no surprise given the growth of the wolf population in neighboring Germany.

"I have looked forward to the wolf's arrival in the Netherlands for six years," group spokesman Leo Linnartz said. "Based on the rapid growth of the population in Germany, the migration of the animal was really just a case of wait and see."

Gull population explosion puts endangered species at greater risk
Hayward, Calif. (UPI) Jul 21, 2013 - An exploding population of sea gulls is putting more pressure on endangered bird species in the San Francisco Bay area, experts say.

Tens of thousands of California gulls now live in 10 colonies on bay levees off San Jose, Palo Alto, Union City, Fremont, Richmond, Alcatraz Island and Hayward, leaving people to wonder what steps might be taken to get them under control, the San Jose Mercury News reported Saturday. Park workers and volunteers have taken to shooing them away by blasting horns, clapping and blowing whistles. Sometimes guns are used to thin out the flocks, the newspaper said.

The gulls try to eat least terns, which are small endangered birds that lay eggs at Hayward Regional Shorelin Park.

Scientists are mystified by the increase in the gulls' population from 24 birds in 1980 to the current number of 53,000, the Mercury News reported.

Nobody knows how to stop the population boom, which causes problems such as birds colliding with airplanes, swarming landfills, divebombing neighborhoods and schools, and eating shorebirds that governmental agencies have worked for years to bring back from the brink of extinction, the newspaper reported.

The voracious birds are a serious threat to the West Coast's largest wetlands restoration effort: the restoration of 15,100 acres of former South Bay Cargill industrial salt ponds back to their original tidal marshes. A main goal of that effort, which has cost taxpayers more than $300 million, is to increase the populations of endangered species, scientists said.

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