Off the wire

Florida kite surfer dies in shark attack

A man who died in a shark attack while kiteboarding off South Florida's Atlantic coast was experienced on the water and usually went out with a buddy, his friend said Thursday. Stephen Howard Schafer, 38, was the first person killed in a shark attack in Florida in five years, experts said.

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Giant squid invade Calif. waters, entice anglers
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Giant squid weighing up to 60 pounds have invaded the California waters off Newport Beach and are being caught by sport fishermen by the hundreds. The squid showed up last week and anglers started booking twilight fishing trips over the weekend to catch them.

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• Read more about catching giant squid with Joel Shangle's weekly column.

The case of the deadly moose battle
It must have been a battle of epic proportions. But in the end, two huge bull moose lost their lives in Minnesota's St. Louis County when their 4-foot-wide antlers became locked together. They were found buried under snow last weekend by Tim Bradach of Gilbert, Minn., who was hiking in the woods in search of shed deer antlers.
Read complete story from TwinCities.com.

Highland County deer set state record
A southwestern Ohio hunter has set an Ohio hunting record. Brian Stephens' 18-point, non-typical (non-symmetrical antlered) deer was certified with a score of 232 5/8. It becomes the largest non-typical rack ever taken with a muzzleloader in Ohio history, beating out the 2004 record of 225.
Read complete story from the CantonRep.com.

Sharpshooters hunt deer in park around Camp David
HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Government sharpshooters are taking aim at hundreds of white-tailed deer in the national park surrounding the Camp David presidential retreat in western Maryland.
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Grape growing, fish protection clash in Calif.
HEALDSBURG, Calif. — Grape growers in Northern California's cool, fertile Sonoma County wine region are stomping mad at a new plan to limit the amount of water vineyards can pump from local rivers and streams to protect crops from frost - a proposed regulation meant to safeguard coho salmon, a species on the brink of local extinction.

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Despite hunts, wolves hold steady in N Rockies
BILLINGS, Mont. — A new tally of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies shows the population held steady across the region in 2009, ending more than a decade of expansion by the predators but also underscoring their resilience in the face of new hunting seasons in Montana and Idaho.
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Watchdog: UK university hid climate data
LONDON — The university at the center of a climate change dispute over stolen e-mails broke freedom of information laws by refusing to handle public requests for climate data, Britain's data-protection watchdog said Thursday. A cache of e-mail exchanges between leading climate scientists that were stolen from the University of East Anglia's climate research unit and recently made public show that the institution ignored at least one request from the public for data, the Information Commissioner's Office said.
Read complete story from the Associated Press.

World bank wants tiger farms shut
BANGKOK — China and other Asian nations should shut privately run tiger farms as they are inhumane and fuel demand for the endangered big cat's bones and skin, the World Bank said Thursday. The call came as governments from 13 countries where tigers exist in the wild met in Thailand to discuss their conservation and how to boost tiger numbers.
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13 countries agree plan to save wild tigers
HUA HIN, Thailand — A dozen Asian nations and Russia vowed Friday to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, crack down on poaching that has devastated the big cats and prohibit the building of roads and bridges that could harm their habitats. However, the historic declaration adopted by the 13 countries that have wild tigers includes no new money to finance the conservation efforts.
Read complete story from the Associated Press.

Hungry otters stray into fishermen's territory
LOS ANGELES — The first hint of trouble in trying to save endangered sea otters and protect fishermen competing for the shellfish the creatures eat was when bureaucrats drew a line in the ocean separating the two.
Read complete story from Associated Press.

Navy sued to halt training near endangered whales
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Environmental groups sued the Navy on Thursday to halt plans for an offshore training range that they fear would threaten endangered right whales, which migrate to nearby waters off Georgia and Florida each winter.
Read complete story from Associated Press.