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Australian Crocodile Kills Fisherman

SYDNEY - A white-headed crocodile nicknamed Michael Jackson has been shot dead, reports said Tuesday, after the predator apparently killed a fisherman in Australia's north. Credit: Associated Press Authorities were called in when a 57-year-old man disappeared after wading into the croc-infested Adelaide River to disentangle his fishing line late on Monday. Police said the man's wife was with him on the river bank but did not see the moment the animal, believed to be 4.5 metres (15 foot) long, attacked. "The initial information is that she did not see him taken but (heard) a scream and then turned around and saw a tail splashing in the water," Northern Territory duty superintendent Jo...

MIAMI - US theme park operator SeaWorld said Friday it would build new, giant tanks for its killer whales, whose captivity has caused uproar and hit the company's earnings. Credit: Getty Editorial SeaWorld also pledged $10 million in funds for killer-whale research and announced a multi-million-dollar ocean health partnership, but animal rights groups were quick to savage the initiatives. The Orlando, Florida company, whose shares have hit their lowest point since going public in April 2013, has faced rising criticism since last year's release of the documentary "Blackfish." The film probed the impact of captivity on SeaWorld's orcas and the fatal 2010 attack by one of them, Tilikum, on...

PRETORIA - South Africa plans to evacuate hundreds of rhinos from the famed Kruger National Park to safe havens beyond horn smugglers' reach, the environment minister announced Tuesday. Credit: Getty Editorial "A decision has been made on this issue of translocation," Edna Molewa said, announcing an action plan to curb escalating illegal hunts for rhino horn. "Relocations from the Kruger National Park and the creation of rhino strongholds could allow the total rhino population size of South Africa to continue to grow," she said. The authorities "could relocate up to 500" rhinos, which can weigh a tonne or more, said South African National Parks ecologist Sam Ferreira. Illegal rhino...

MADRID - Spain's biggest hotel chain Melia Hotels International said Monday it has removed shark fins from the menu of all of its restaurants around the world, joining a growing global campaign against the popular delicacy in Asia. Shark fins. Credit: Associated Press "With the removal of shark fin as an ingredient, Melia contributes to the protection of the important role sharks have in maintaining balance in marine ecosystems," the company said in a statement. "As predators, sharks are a key species in the food chain and also indicators of the health of our oceans. They eliminate the weakest prey, maintain balance with competitors, and guarantee the diversity of species," it...

Our species caused 322 animal extinctions over the past 500 years, with two-thirds of those occurring in the last two centuries, according to a paper published in a special issue of the journal Science this week. West African Black Rhinoceros (Extinct). Credit: Flickr/Arno Meintjes Wildlife Many animals are threatened with human-caused extinction now, with researchers expressing particular concern over amphibian and invertebrate (creatures without a backbone) losses. Numbers of the latter group have nearly halved as our population doubled in size over the past 35 years. Ecologists, zoologists and other scientists believe that, without urgent steps to stem the losses, we are facing global...