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PARIS - A survey of over 3,000 species has found that animal numbers have plunged by more than half in just 40 years as Earth's human population has nearly doubled, conservationists said Tuesday. Credit: Getty Creative From 1970 to 2010, there was a 39-percent drop in numbers across a representative sample of land- and sea-dwelling species, while freshwater populations dropped 76 percent, the green group WWF said in its 2014 Living Planet Report. All told, "the number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish across the globe is, on average, about half the size it was 40 years ago," it said. The 52-percent decrease confirms mankind is chomping through nature's bounty much faster...

NEW YORK - Politics can sometimes be unpredictable, as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio learned following reports that a groundhog he dropped during a photo session died last February. Credit: Getty Editorial The groundhog, named Chuck, squirmed out of the six-foot-three mayor's arms while he was posing for photos on February 2 -- Groundhog Day -- and plummeted to the floor, the New York Post reported Thursday. The rodent died a week later from "acute internal injuries," the newspaper reported. According to popular folklore, if a groundhog emerges from its cage and sees its own shadow, winter will continue for another six weeks. If the day is cloudy and the groundhog does not cast a shadow,...

Alarm Over Fate of Monarch Butterfly

MEXICO CITY - The migration of monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico is threatened by the use of pesticides that have reduced food sources for their epic journey, Mexican experts warned Tuesday. Credit: Associated Press The orange-and-black butterflies consume milkweed as they fly across the United States on their way to their winter grounds in the forests of central and western Mexico. But the availability of the plant has "fallen considerably" due to the heavy use of pesticides in Canadian and US soybean and corn fields, said Luis Fueyo Mac Donald, the commissioner of the National Protected Areas of Mexico. The monarch butterfly population was the lowest in 20 years during the...

White Tiger Kills Youth at New Delhi Zoo

NEW DELHI - A white tiger on Tuesday attacked and killed a youth who apparently jumped into its enclosure at a zoo in the Indian capital. Credit: Getty Editorial Witnesses said the tiger grabbed the young man by the neck as horrified onlookers at the National Zoological Park in New Delhi screamed and threw sticks and stones to try to save him. One witness said he raced to the enclosure after hearing screams to see the victim locked in the tiger's jaws, "writhing badly in pain". "He kept suffering for the next 10-15 minutes, but nobody helped him," Himanshu, who only gave one name, told the CNN-IBN news channel. The head of the zoo told AFP that a guard posted at the enclosure raised the...

Britain's Panda Pregnancy Fails

LONDON - Britain's only female giant panda has suffered a failed pregnancy, her second in two years, Edinburgh Zoo said on Monday. Credit: Getty Editorial Edinburgh said its 10-year-old panda Tian Tian, who is spending a decade in the Scottish capital on loan from China with her male companion Yang Guang, was on course to carry to full term, but "sadly this did not happen". "She is no longer pregnant," said Iain Valentine, director of giant pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. "Panda reproduction and biology is complex. All data gathered since conception took place pointed to a pregnant panda likely to carry to full term. Sadly this did not happen." "There is no evidence...

Zeus, Tallest Dog in the World, Has Died

WASHINGTON - Zeus, the Great Dane who in 2012 earned the Guinness World Record as tallest dog in the world, has died at age five, a local US newspaper said Friday. Credit: Associated Press Zeus died last week of old age, owner Kevin Doorlag told the Kalamazoo Gazette, a local daily in the midwestern US state of Michigan. He would have celebrated his sixth birthday in November. The gentle giant, who measured 44 inches at the shoulder and more than 7-feet tall when standing on his hind legs, weighed more than 150 pounds, the paper reported. In 2012, when Zeus entered the records book, Doorlag said his massive canine often sparked astonishment when he took him on walks. "The most common...