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📰 Video shows tiger roaming in Texas neighborhood | National | news.lee.net

A tiger seen in a Houston neighborhood was wearing a collar and was prowling around a front yard until someone came out of a house and brought it inside, according to TV station KHOU.

HOUSTON - Authorities were searching for a Texas man whose tiger was found wandering around a residential area in Houston on Sunday night.

Video of the encounter shows the tiger coming face-to-face with an armed off-duty Waller County sheriff's deputy, police said. The deputy tells the tiger's caretaker, "Get your tiger back inside."

Apparently there's a tiger loose on my parents' West Houston street? pic.twitter.com/TgdIiPSPKx

No shots were fired.

The big cat was later corralled back inside the home, and then the caretaker rushed the tiger away in a white Jeep as police arrived, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Tigers are not allowed within Houston city limits unless a handler, such as a zoo, is licensed to have exotic animals.

FILE - In this May 20, 2018, file photo, Nepalese veteran Sherpa guide, Kami Rita waves as he arrives in Kathmandu, Nepal. Rita, 51, an ace Sherpa guide scaled Mount Everest Friday for the 25th time breaking his own record for the most successful ascents of the world's highest peak.

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - A Sherpa guide scaled Mount Everest for the 25th time on Friday, breaking his own record for the most ascents of the world's highest peak.

Kami Rita and 11 other Sherpa guides reached the summit at about 6 p.m., Department of Tourism official Mira Acharya said.

They are the first group of climbers to reach the summit this year and were fixing the ropes on the icy route so that hundreds of other climbers can scale the peak later this month.

Everest was closed to climbing last year on its southern side, which is in Nepal, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Climbing permits were issued this year to 408 foreign climbers.

Rita, 51, first scaled Everest in 1994 and has been making the trip nearly every year since then. He is one of many Sherpa guides whose expertise and skills are vital to the safety and success of the hundreds of climbers who head to Nepal each year seeking to stand on top of the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) mountain.

His father was among the first Sherpa guides, and Rita followed in his footsteps and then some. In addition to his 25 times to the top of Everest, Rita has scaled several other peaks that are among the world's highest, including K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu and Lhotse.

He was at Everest's base camp in 2015 when an avalanche swept through, killing 19 people. After that tragedy, he came under intense family pressure to quit mountaineering, but in the end decided against it.

Forty-three teams have been permitted to scale Everest during this year's spring climbing season and will be assisted by about 400 Nepalese guides.

Each May, there are usually only a few windows of good weather at the summit during which climbers can attempt to scale the peak.

BOSTON (AP) - The owner of a Massachusetts pizza parlor lied about the number of employees he had to fraudulently obtain more than $660,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds, then used some of the money to buy and stock an alpaca farm in Vermont, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Dana McIntyre, 57, of Grafton, Vermont, was arrested Tuesday and charged with wire fraud and money laundering, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office in Boston.

He is scheduled to appear remotely in U.S. District Court in Boston later Tuesday.

"My client denies the allegation and will have further comment at a later date," McIntyre's attorney, Jason Stelmack, said in an email.

McIntyre, who formerly lived in Beverly and Essex, Massachusetts, was the owner of Rasta Pasta Pizzeria in Beverly in April 2020 when he applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, prosecutors said.

But in his application, he falsified an official tax form and claimed the pizza shop had almost 50 employees, when records indicate it had fewer than 10, in an effort to inflate the size of the loan he was entitled to, authorities said.

After receiving the loan, he sold the pizza shop and used the money to purchase and upgrade a farm in Vermont and buy several alpacas, authorities said. He also bought at least two vehicles - including a 1950 Hudson - and weekly airtime for a cryptocurrency-themed radio show that he hosted, prosecutors said.

If convicted of both charges, he faces up to 40 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.

Arthur, one of Europe's biggest brown bears, is seen in Romania in this 2019 handout photo provided by NGO Agent Green.

Romanian authorities are investigating after one of Europe's largest brown bears was allegedly shot and killed by a prince from Liechtenstein.

Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein - the 32-year-old nephew of the tiny principality's reigning Prince Hans-Adam II - is accused of shooting 17-year-old Arthur in March during a hunting expedition.

Prosecutors opened an investigation Thursday on two grounds: The bear's killing was not licensed and some of those involved may not have had weapons permits, according to CNN affiliate Antena 3.

Environmental organization Agent Green believes the prince was granted a four-day hunting permit from the Ministry of Environment to shoot a young female bear that had been attacking farms in Covasna county, Transylvania.

Instead it is alleged that the prince shot Arthur, who lives in a protected area.

Gabriel Paun, the president of Agent Green, said in a statement on the group's website that he didn't understand how the prince could confuse a young bear that had been stealing chickens from a village with the largest male bear that existed in the depths of the forest.

Romania has the biggest bear population in Europe outside Russia and is proud of its ursine heritage.

It outlawed trophy hunting in 2016. However, exceptions are made in extreme cases, such as when a bear has damaged property or threatened human life.

This story has received widespread media attention in the country.

Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu said media reports were incorrect and Arthur may not be the biggest brown bear in Europe. His response has been widely criticized.

The prince has said "he doesn't want to be involved in this sensitive matter," Antena 3 reports.

Romanians have been bombarding the website of the family's Riegersburg Castle with abuse. Travel review site TripAdvisor says it has temporarily suspended reviews of the castle.

ATLANTA (AP) - A Georgia woman was caught trying to smuggle $40,000 worth of cocaine in multiple pairs of shoes through the Atlanta airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Customs officers stopped the 21-year-old on Sunday after she arrived on a flight from Jamaica, the agency said in a statement Monday. Her bags were inspected, and seven pairs of shoes were found to have a powdery white substance concealed in their bottoms.

The substance tested positive for cocaine, according to the agency. About 3 pounds (1.3 kilograms) of the drug were recovered.

"Smugglers go through great lengths to conceal drugs from our officers," Paula Rivera, the agency's Atlanta port director, said in the statement. "Narcotics interdiction remains a priority CBP enforcement mission, one that we take very seriously."

The officers turned the unidentified woman over to Clayton County Police Department for state prosecution.

Customs and Border Protection says it seizes an average of nearly 3,700 pounds (1,700 kilograms) of drugs daily.

Multiple backhoes were used to demolish the side of the well and excavate a trench for the elephant to walk out on.

A baby elephant's misadventure turned into an elaborate rescue mission in a small Indian village after it fell into a well nearly 30 feet (9 meters) deep.

The calf was among a herd of elephants to enter Nimatand village from the nearby forest, in Giridih district in the eastern state of Jharkhand, late on May 2. Villagers shooed away the herd, but discovered the calf at the bottom of the well the following morning.

"Unfortunately, in the dark of the night, roughly around 9 p.m. local time, an elephant calf fell into the well," said local government official Shashikant Verma, who photographed the rescue.

A baby elephant was rescued from a well in a village in India's Jharkhand state.

"The (water) level wasn't high enough, but the calf got some buoyancy after falling and didn't get any injuries."

Villagers alerted the local forest department, which launched a rescue operation using three backhoes. Officials demolished an entire side of the well wall, eventually cutting a ramp into the earth to allow the calf to walk out on its own instead of being lifted vertically.

Eight hours later, the calf stumbled out of the well, covered in mud and dust.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) - More than 350 goats are using their mouths to help protect The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum from wildfire danger.

The herd returned this week to eat brush around the institution's campus in the Southern California community of Simi Valley.

The goats create a firebreak between the natural vegetation and the facility, library spokeswoman Melissa Giller told the Ventura County Star.

Goats were credited with helping keep the library safe from a wildfire in 2019.

"During the huge fires a year and a half ago, many of the firefighters who were battling the fire that came within feet of the library said that it was the perimeter created by the goats that allowed them to fight the fire and stop it from getting onto our campus," Giller said.

This year there is not as much for the goats to eat because there has been little rain and little vegetation regrowth, said Capt. Robert Welsbie, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.

The elephants can wander around their new habitat and don't have to come back to their barn unless they want to.

After years of entertaining fans under the big top -- and a few years in retirement -- in Central Florida, a herd of former circus elephants is settling into their new home at a wildlife refuge.

The 12 female Asian elephants arrived at White Oak Conservation, outside Jacksonville, Florida, recently and were released into a forest habitat with pine trees, ponds, wetlands and open grasslands, according to an announcement from the refuge.

The elephants range from 8- to 38-years-old and had previously belonged to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.

They were all born in the United States and never lived in the wild, said Michelle Gadd, the chief of conservation for the Walter family, which owns White Oak Conservation and bought the animals from the circus.

"They are doing amazingly well. I am very surprised at how quickly they adapted to the environment, how readily they went out of the gates as soon as the gates were opened," Gadd told CNN.

She was afraid they would just hang out around their barn because they're used to being around people, but Gadd said the elephants will sleep out in the woods and venture on their own for a few days at a time.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey retired its elephants in 2016 after complaints about their treatment by animal rights groups and regulators. The circus gave its final performances in 2017 after more than a 100 years of existence.

White Oak also bought the farm where the female elephants had lived in Polk City, Florida, near Orlando, which Gadd said is much smaller and doesn't have as many trees.

The 12 female elephants range from age 8 to 38.

Asian elephants are listed as endangered with an estimated population of between 40,000 and 50,000 in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They once roamed across much of Asia but now are restricted to 15% of their original range. They are threatened by poaching, habitat loss and conflict with humans.

This elephant group has been socialized together the past two years and includes two sets of full sisters and several half sisters, Gadd said. They are also the youngest elephants and were expected to be the most adaptable.

Staff put out hay, produce and special elephant supplements around the habitat, but Gadd said the elephants are starting to eat some of the food options that are growing there.

They also like to dig up saw palmettos, and Gadd said they use the branches to scratch their undercarriage.

It took them a few days to get used to pine trees, which would spring back and smack an unsuspecting elephant in the face when they tried to snap them with their foreheads, Gadd said.

"On the first day it had scared them and one female trumpeted and ran away," Gadd said. "But by day three that tree was well and truly flattened."

The heard will be joined by up to 20 additional elephants from the Polk City farm once additional construction is completed on the 2,500 acre area. The space will be able to be divided into multiple habitats for different herds or to separate some of the elephants. It will also have three barns with high tech veterinary equipment.

The second barn is expected to be built next year, but Gadd said they aren't rushing the project.

"The elephants always take precedence," Gadd said. "So our priority is letting them settle in and be undisturbed here and have the whole place to themselves for a while without construction crews, and without disturbance, and without additional elephants even, coming right away"

Gadd said eight of the elephants at Polk City are males, who need to be kept apart by "a whole different level of fortification" of fences, barns and transportation.

"Asian males are not known to be forming cohesive groups that tolerate one another," Gadd said. "So we're not going to be moving multiple males up here until we have multiple habitats and barn spaces ready for them."

The Polk City farm is also home to some of the oldest female elephants in the US and some of them might not respond well to change, or the 200 mile trip to White Oak, which requires specially customized trucks for them and their veterinarians and handlers.

"We will continue to care for elephants there throughout their lives if they cannot be brought up here," Gadd said.

White Oak Conservation, a 17,000 acre refuge certified by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, is home to many rare animals, including rhinos, cheetahs and antelopes.

It has worked with state and federal agencies to save Florida panthers, Florida grasshopper sparrows, Mississippi sandhill cranes and whooping cranes, according to its website.

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