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ROME - One of the handful of brown bears living in the Italian Alps has died after being tranquilised for capture in an operation ordered after she mauled a mushroom hunter. Credit: Getty Editorial In an incident that enfuriated animal rights groups, the 19-year-old female, Daniza, was knocked out so that she could be transferred to a more remote part of the Trento region of northern Italy, a spokesman for the provincial government said. "The bear was put to sleep but, unfortunately, did not survive," he said. An autopsy has been ordered to establish the cause of death. Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti said he had asked the region for an explanation. "We have to be sure this does...

A Maine man who dedicated his life to providing a home for ailing elephants may tragically have been killed when one of the animals he cared for stepped on him. Credit: Facebook/Hope Elephants Reports suggest that Dr. James Laurita, 56, founder of the non-profit group Hope Elephants (in Hope, Maine), fell in a corral while caring for the animals at his sanctuary. Laurita apparently fell and hit his head on the cement floor, knocking him unconscious, according to WCSH. Examinations by the state medical examiner's office indicate that an elephant then stepped on him. He died of asphyxiation and multiple chest fractures. RELATED: 10 Ways Elephants Are Like Us Paramedics responded to the...

HONG KONG - Hong Kong police said Sunday they had launched an animal cruelty investigation after a man joked online about killing a dog by trapping it inside a churning washing machine. Credit: Getty Creative An image uploaded to Facebook by a man calling himself Jacky Lo shows a small, white dog attempting to climb out of the machine, while another apparently portrays the animal struggling to keep its head above water with the washing cycle in full flow. A police spokeswoman told AFP that a case of suspected animal cruelty was under investigation. "A picture has been posted onto the internet about an animal suspected of being tortured. It is a case of animal cruelty," the spokeswoman...

WASHINGTON - The animal rights group PETA has increased its reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a man filmed kicking a squirrel into the Grand Canyon. Credit: Getty Editorial In addition to the $15,000 bounty it offered last month, PETA on Wednesday added a free vacation to the Grand Canyon, including air fare and lodging for two, in its bid to identify the culprit seen in a video that went viral on YouTube. It showed the man luring a squirrel with food to the edge of what appeared to be the Canyon's South Rim, and then with a flick of his foot, flinging the animal into the abyss. The Grand Canyon is a mile (1.6 kilometers) deep and up to 18 miles (29...

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...