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A woman who was attacked by a mountain lion in Northern California says her dog jumped to her defense and was badly wounded in protecting her. Erin Wilson says her Belgian Malinois named Eva is a hero for grappling with the cougar on Monday near the Trinity River during a walk. Wilson was scratched when the animal lunged but Eva jumped in and was grabbed by the head and dragged. Wilson says the animal wouldn't let go even when she attacked it with rocks, sticks and her fists. Wilson and another woman finally managed to drive it off but authorities say Eva is in guarded condition. 

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A co-owner of the Boston Celtics is donating $2 million toward protecting the Florida manatees and their habitat following two seasons of record-breaking manatee mortalities in the state. Fox Rock Foundation will give $1 million each to the nonprofits Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Save the Manatee Club. The foundation is a family charity overseen by Celtics co-owner Rob Hale and his wife, Karen. Last year, a record 1,100 manatees died largely from starvation because water pollution from agricultural, septic tank, urban runoff and other sources has diminished their main winter food source along Florida’s east coast.

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Scotland's leader says the Russian war in Ukraine only makes Scotland’s drive for independence from the U.K. more important. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke to The Associated Press Tuesday on her first U.S. visit since the COVID-19 lockdown. Sturgeon says the crisis posed by Russia's war demands that Scotland play its “full part” in ensuring stability and security in Europe. She says her government still plans to hold a new referendum on Scottish independence by the end of next year. And she calls NATO membership essential for an independent Scotland. Her U.S. visit is focusing on Scotland’s rapid domestic transition to renewable energy. Scotland in 2020 generated almost all its electricity from renewables.

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Someone new is joining the ranks of fitness enthusiasts who monitor the number of steps they take each day with Fitbits and other fitness tracking devices. Only Helen isn’t human: She’s a 30-year-old white rhino at Walt Disney World. Helen went out onto the savanna at the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction at Animal Kingdom on Monday wearing a fitness device all-day. The purpose is to gather data on the number of steps she takes each day, whether she is walking, running or sleeping, and which part of the man-made savanna she favors the most. 

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His partners tout him as a successful case of rehabilitation and second chances: When he was 20 years old, Harel Hershtik planned and executed a murder. Today, he is the brains behind an Israeli health-tech startup, poised to make millions of dollars with the backing of prominent public figures and deep-pocket investors. But with his company set to go public, Hershtik’s past is coming under new scrutiny, raising questions about whether someone who took a person’s life deserves to rehabilitate his own to such an extent. It also tells an astounding tale of a life derailed and improbably set back on track.

A beloved, endangered shorebird in Chicago named Monty the Piping Plover has died. Chicago Park District spokeswoman Irene Tostado says, "It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Monty, one of the Montrose Beach Piping Plovers.” Monty was taken to Lincoln Park Zoo, where he will be tested. Results are expected in about a week. Tamima Itani of the Chicago Piping Plovers _ a collaboration among the Chicago Audubon Society, the Chicago Ornithological Society and the Illinois Ornithological Society _  says “Monty will be very sorely missed.”

U.S. wildlife managers want to see at least 320 Mexican gray wolves roaming the Southwest within the next several years. While a population cap would be eliminated under a proposed management rule, environmentalists say the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service isn’t going far enough to ensure the recovery of the endangered species. They're pushing for the release of more captive wolves — specifically bonded pairs with pups. Federal officials on Friday released their proposed management plan for the wolves and a related environmental review. A court order required the revised plan to be finalized by July 1.

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A baby giraffe was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park with an unusual disorder that caused her front limb to bend the wrong way. But as of this week, she can run along like the other giraffes after safari park staff reached out to experts in orthotics at the Hanger Clinic. Ara Mirzaian was part of a team that helped design braces for the giraffe that corrected the problem. The case is the latest example of zoos turning to medical experts who treat humans to aid ailing animals. Mirzaian hopes to hang up a picture of the baby giraffe in her patterned brace so the kids he treats will be inspired to wear theirs.

Officials with the Iditarod announced Thursday they have reversed the penalties levied against two mushers who were demoted in final standings for breaking a rule against sheltering their dogs inside a cabin during vicious storms during this year’s race across Alaska. However, mushers Mille Porsild of Denmark and Michelle Phillips of Canada were then fined $1,000 each, the same as another musher who was initially fined but not demoted for also sheltering dogs inside near the end of the race in March. Porsild was dropped from 14th to 17th position, while Phillips dropped one notch to 18th.  Their original finish positions and prize money were restored with the board’s decision.

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The U.S. Army has identified Staff Sgt. Seth Michael Plant of Saint Augustine, Florida, as the soldier who died earlier this week after a bear attack in Anchorage. Plant had been at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage since July 2021. The Army says he was an infantryman from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The Army says the incident happened Tuesday in a a training area west of the Anchorage landfill. Plant was taken to a base hospital following the mauling where he was pronounced dead. Another soldier received what the Army described as minor injuries during the incident. 

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In the 30 years that Ara Mirzaian has worked with orthotics, he has never had a patient like this: A baby giraffe. The calf was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park with an unusual disorder that caused her front limb to bend the wrong way. But as of this week, she can run along like the other giraffes after safari park staff reached out to experts in orthotics at the Hanger Clinic, where Mirzaian works. He was part of a team that helped design braces for the giraffe that corrected the problem. The case is the latest example of zoos turning to medical experts who treat humans to aid ailing animals. 

A rescued juvenile bottlenose dolphin flown from Texas to a Florida Keys research center seven weeks ago has been moved to the facility’s primary dolphin lagoon. Thursday's transfer marks the male marine mammal's final integration into a “forever family” of other permanent dolphin residents. Ranger convalesced in a medical quarantine pool specially designed to increase his eating and weight, while strengthening both his immune system and his bond with human caregivers. He was rescued a year ago after being discovered stranded in waters around Goose Island State Park in Texas. When found, he suffered from an underlying respiratory infection and dehydration following his mother’s death.

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A man who stars on a TV show called “The Bear Whisperer” has been accused of illegally killing a black bear in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park and lying about where it was killed. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says it has filed misdemeanor charges against Harvey Neil Anthony and Nature Productions Inc. The Anchorage Daily News reports Anthony goes by the name of Blaine Anthony in the television series he also produces. An online court records system did not show an attorney for Anthony. The Associated Press sent an email seeking comment to Nature Productions Inc. on Thursday. A virtual arraignment hearing in the case is scheduled for next month.

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A federal appeals court has ruled that California's ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons to adults under age 21 is unconstitutional. A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday that the law violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The court in a 2-1 ruling says a San Diego judge should have blocked what it called "an almost total ban on semiautomatic centerfire rifles” for young adults. The Firearms Policy Coalition, which brought the case, says the ruling makes it optimistic other age-based gun bans will be overturned. The author of the law says he's disappointed it was struck down. 

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Several property owners in Virginia are suing the state Department of Wildlife Resources over a state law that allows hunters to retrieve their hunting dogs from private property. A number of states allow hunters to retrieve their dogs without permission from property owners under certain circumstances. But Virginian’s law says hunters are allowed to retrieve dogs even when the property owner has specifically denied access. The property owners allege that allowing hunters to go on their property without permission amounts to an uncompensated taking of their land. However, the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance says the vast majority of hunters are considerate of land owners and want to continue Virginia's centuries-old tradition of hunting with dogs.

A U.S. Army soldier has died of injuries sustained in a bear attack Tuesday in Alaska. The soldier was part of a small group in a training area west of the Anchorage Regional Landfill when the bear attacked. The name of the soldier was being withheld pending next-of-kin notification. The 673d Security Forces Squadron initially responded to the incident. Alaska Wildlife Troopers are searching for the bear in the area, which is closed to the public for all recreation activity. No other information was immediately available. 

The Idaho Fish and Game Department is investigating how many illegally-stocked walleye fish are in Lake Cascade after a second walleye catch was reported in four years. Regional Fisheries Manager Jordan Messner told Boise television station KTVB that the only way walleye could have gotten into the lake is if they were illegally put there. The lake is a popular destination for perch fishing. Wildlife managers say walleye could threaten the perch population because walleye eat other fish. It is illegal in Idaho release live fish or their eggs without permission. 

Humans don’t know what they’re missing in Miami, just under the surface of a busy shipping channel in the “cruise capital of the world.” Just below massive ships, an underwater camera is sending a livestream from another world, showing marine life that’s trying its best to resist global warming. It's one of the most popular ventures of Coral Morphologic, a company formed by a marine biologist and an artist. Their mission is to raise awareness about dying coral reefs by combining science, art and commerce to bring gorgeous images into pop culture. They've even got a line of coral-themed beachwear. 

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The death toll of a powerful explosion at a luxury hotel in Cuba’s capital has increased to 31 as search crews with dogs hunt through the rubble of the iconic, 19th century building looking for people still missing. The five-star Hotel Saratoga in Old Havana was preparing to reopen after being closed for two years when an apparent gas leak caused a massive explosion on Friday. The blast damaged nearby structures, including the historic Marti Theater and the Calvary Baptist Church. It's the headquarters for the denomination in western Cuba. Municipal authorities say burials for victims have begun, but some people are still waiting for news of missing friends and relatives.

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