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B.C. releases plan to control grey wolves to ire of conservation groups

VANCOUVER - The B.C. government says it's taking a balanced approach with its long-awaited wolf management plan, but the strategy is already drawing attacks from conservation groups. The plan, aimed at controlling the province's grey wolf population, was released Thursday after a careful review of more than 2,500 submissions of public input since a first draft was produced a year and a half ago.

California weighs listing grey wolf as endangered species while other states allow hunts

FRESNO, Calif. - While much of the country has relaxed rules on killing grey wolves, California will consider protecting the species after a lone wolf from Oregon raised hopes the animals would repopulate their historic habitat in the Golden State. The California Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday postponed for three months a decision on whether to list the grey wolf as endangered. Commissioners heard impassioned arguments from environmentalists who want the wolves to again to roam the state and from cattle ranchers who fear for their herds.

Britain's love-shy panda artificially inseminated

Britain's only female giant panda, Tian Tian, has been artificially inseminated after failing to mate with her male partner Yang Guang, Edinburgh Zoo said Tuesday. Experts had been hopeful the pair, donated by China in 2011, would mate this breeding season but Tian Tian's hormone levels plummeted before they had the chance. "Time restrictions meant we needed to move quickly to artificial insemination," said Iain Valentine, director of giant pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

Japan intends to resume whaling in 2015

Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research on Friday filed briefs in the U.S. District Court in Seattle stating its intent to resume whale hunting in the Southern Ocean as early as fiscal 2015. The move immediately faced strong opposition from conservation group Sea Shepherd as it came less than two weeks after the International Court of Justice ordered Japan on March 31 to stop its so-called research whaling in the ocean.

Report: Southwest bird and reptile species to shift as climate gets hotter, drier

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - As temperatures climb across the Southwest, researchers have found some species will win, but others stand to lose — and lose big. The U.S. Geological Survey and researchers from the University of New Mexico and Northern Arizona University released a report this week that takes a closer look at some of the effects climate change is likely to have on species such as the desert tortoise and the pinyon jay.

All eyes on Britain's panda pair as mating season approaches

Experts at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland have begun daily check-ups of Britain's only female giant panda Tian Tian and male partner, Yang Guang, the zoo announced on Monday. The zoo is hoping to put behind the disappointment of last year, when Tian Tian suffered a late-term miscarriage after being artificially inseminated, and is looking out for signs that the pair are ready to mate.

Nature group buys private land to preserve endangered B.C. grasslands

VANCOUVER - A huge tract of endangered grasslands in southern British Columbia will be preserved, after it was bought from private landowners by a non-profit conservation group. The Nature Conservancy of Canada said the new Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area near Osoyoos, B.C., is home to more than 30 species at risk — including sage thrashers, an extremely threatened bird species with only a handful of breeding pairs remaining in Canada. Biologists were also surprised to find canyon bats, a tiny species that has never before been recorded in this country.

Lesser prairie chicken listed as threatened species, 5 states affected

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced Thursday it is placing the lesser prairie chicken on a list of threatened species, a move that could affect oil and gas drilling, wind farms and other activities in five central and southwestern states. The decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service is a step below "endangered" status and allows for more flexibility in how protections for the bird will be carried out under the Endangered Species Act.

Pandas and yak soup on Michelle Obama's China menu

US First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday wrapped up a week-long trip to China by feeding a panda before having a yak-based lunch at a Tibetan restaurant. Obama, who is travelling with her mother and daughters, visited the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in the southwestern province of Sichuan. There, the Obamas viewed a 22-year-old grandmother panda named Lili as well as five young pandas, according to base staff. Pictures showed the First Lady using a long stick to pass apples to some of the black and white bears in a grassy enclosure.

EU readying invasive alien species hit-list

Killer slugs, Asian ladybirds and American muskrats will all be blacklisted under plans drawn up by Brussels to stop "invasive" species from threatening European wildlife, an EU source said on Tuesday. European Union institutions have agreed to draw up an open-ended list of rapidly-spreading species that damage the environment and cause health hazards, the source said on condition of anonymity.
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