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Weird National Briefs (11/17/2021)

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Transatlantic trash can

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — Instead of a message in a bottle, it was the decals on a barnacle-covered trash barrel that shows just how far it traveled, from the southeastern U.S. coast to a beach in Ireland, more than 3500 miles (5633 kilometers) from home.

The City of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina announced Monday that a waste barrel had somehow washed up in County Mayo, on the emerald isle’s northwestern coast.

According to the city, Keith McGreal of Ireland wrote them and shared pictures of the bright blue barrel with city stickers on it.

“I wanted to share some images of a Blue Trash barrel that has been washed up on our local beach on the West Coast of Ireland, Mulranny, County Mayo,” McGreal wrote, according to an exchange the city posted online. “We spotted the stickers and thought it would make a good news story.”

The city posted the photos online, showing that the barrel’s Atlantic crossing took enough time for it to be encrusted with shells.

City officials also wrote McGreal, saying the barrel must have been carried away in the Gulf Stream during a major wind or storm event.

“We typically remove trash containers from the beach before a hurricane, but this one apparently had a mind of its own,” they said, adding that they’d “already had a city employee volunteer to come fetch it.”

TME – And you thought going over Niagara Falls in a barrel was impressive.

Shelf incrimination

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — Santa may have fewer eyes in homes this Christmas season after a Georgia judge — jokingly — banned the Elf on the Shelf.

Cobb County Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Leonard posted a mock order on Twitter Thursday banishing these elves.

“Tired of living in Elf on the Shelf tyranny? Not looking forward to the Elf forgetting to move and causing your kids emotional distress? I am a public servant and will take the heat for you. My gift to tired parents,” Leonard tweeted.

According to the holiday tradition, the elves hide in homes for weeks before Christmas and report back to Santa on who’s been naughty and nice. The elf dolls are supposed to move to a different location each night.

“Inexplicably, Elves sometimes move and don’t move overnight. When those Elves do not move, it leaves our children of tender years in states of extreme emotional distress,” Leonard wrote in his order.

He recalled a “horrific incident” in his own home when “three children were sent to school in tears, with one child being labeled an ‘Elf Murderer’ and accused of making the elf ‘lose his magic.’”

Given the risks of such emotional damage — and supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic — the judge wrote that he had no choice but to banish the elves from Cobb County.

He did make an allowance for parents who don’t feel overwhelmed by the “Elf on the Shelf tyranny,” writing in his tweet: “If you love your elf, keep your elf. No contempts.”

TME – It’s important to have a degree of elf awareness.

Grin and bear it

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A grizzly bear and her four cubs who are already well-known to wildlife watchers got even more attention by taking a nighttime stroll through a city in northwestern Wyoming.

Security video showed the bears wandering around downtown Jackson on Tuesday night, according to local police.

Police and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials shooed the five bears into a less populated area near town, the Jackson Police Department said in a statement Wednesday.

Grizzly No. 399, so named for an ear tag she received after being trapped for study, has been familiar to wildlife watchers for years. She’s had a reputation for lingering with her cubs near roadways in Grand Teton National Park, making her arguably the Yellowstone region’s most well-known grizzly.

Biologists speculate that hanging around people helps keep away male grizzlies, which are known to kill cubs.

Charming as it may seem for a mother bear and four yearling cubs to roam a tourist town, the bears’ behavior has worried wildlife managers. The bears have been raiding garbage, bee apiaries and animal feed in the Jackson area, raising the risk of a dangerous encounter with people.

On Saturday, biologists trapped three of the four cubs. They put tracking collars on two in the hope that knowing the bears’ whereabouts will help prevent problems.

Wildlife managers have urged local residents to keep trash, pumpkins, bird feeders and other potential food out of reach of bears.

Grizzlies in the Yellowstone region are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act. Their numbers have rebounded from 100 or so in the early 1970s to as many as 1,000 today.

TME – Truly a grizzly fate.

Zoo story

NEW YORK (AP) — A woman who was charged two years ago with trespassing near the lion exhibit and taunting the animals at the Bronx Zoo is wanted again for doing the same this past week, New York City police said.

Police asked for the public’s help Friday night in locating Myah Autry, 32, who is accused of trespassing in a fenced-in area near the lion exhibit Thursday, authorities said.

Cellphone video obtained by WNBC-TV shows a woman wearing a red dress and leopard-print shawl standing across a moat from a lion and talking to it, holding roses and tossing money.

“This situation involves one individual who is determined to harass our lions with no regard for her safety, or the safety of our staff and our guests, and no regard for the well-being of the lions,” a zoo spokesperson said in a statement. “The Bronx Zoo has a zero-tolerance policy in matters such as this and will aggressively seek prosecution against this individual and anyone who violates park safety rules.”

Police said Autry fled the scene and is being sought on a new trespassing charge. It’s not clear if she has a lawyer who could respond to the allegations.

TME – Everyone should have a hobby, but this seems a bit much.

Snake on a … boat?

MARCO ISLAND, Fla. (AP) — A python looking for a joyride snuck aboard a sailboat in the Florida Keys and ended up staying until the boat finished its nearly 100-mile voyage, police said.

The crew found the 7-foot (2.1-meter) snake in the boat’s shower after docking Friday in Marco Island on southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast after the trip from Indian Key, a distance of about 95 miles (155 kilometers) around the southern tip of the peninsula.

Police quickly responded and transferred the invasive snake after its joyride to a local wildlife handler, according to a police news release.

The police department posted multiple photos of a uniformed officer grinning wildly on the boat with the python coiled multiple times around his arm.

In May, an “8-foot-long-plus” python was captured on a boat in Coral Gables, the Miami Herald reported.

Pythons believed to be descended from pets freed from captivity over past decades are now ravaging native species in parts of South Florida and overrunning the Everglades. The pythons, which can grow to 20 feet (6.1 meters) and 200 pounds (90 kilograms), are devouring native mammal and bird populations.

The U.S. Geological Survey says there is no evidence of pythons swimming from the Everglades to the Keys, but they didn’t rule it out entirely.

“Because pythons regularly escape or are released from captivity, it can be difficult to determine whether a snake encountered in the Keys arrived there by swimming from the mainland or was a former captive pet on the island,” the agency has said previously.

TME – Planes, boats, cars – snakes’ general grasp of transportation options is terrifying.

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 November 2021 08:10


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