Fisherman fined for undersized crab
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JUNEAU - A Petersburg fisherman pled no contest Tuesday in Juneau District Court for possessing under-sized Dungeness crab while commercial fishing on the vessel Barbara.
Jacob W. Slaven, 28, received a $3,000 fine with $1,500 suspended and one year of probation, according to Alaska State Troopers.
Grizzly bear search planned in two states
BOISE, Idaho - Officials with two federal and two state agencies plan to search a 5,000-square-mile area for grizzly bears in north-central Idaho and western Montana next summer, using motion-sensitive cameras and special fur grabbers.
The $60,000 search, which still must be funded, comes after a black bear hunter from Tennessee mistakenly killed a grizzly bear in September in rugged north-central Idaho terrain near Kelly Creek about three miles from the Montana border.
The last previous confirmed sighting of a grizzly in the area was in 1946. But after the young, 450-pound male grizzly was killed on Sept. 3, officials began wondering if more grizzly bears had returned to the area.
"We don't know," said Steve Nadeau, large carnivore coordinator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. "We don't think there are very many bears up there, otherwise we'd be getting more observations that are verifiable."
In addition to Idaho Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will take part in the survey if the money is approved, a prospect Nadeau said was likely.
The last time the area underwent an extensive survey for grizzlies was in 1991 and 1992, Nadeau said. The proposed survey would likely start in May if snow levels allowed access, he said, and last through September.
Fur would be obtained from barbed wire and back scratchers placed in key locations. DNA from such fur can tell scientists whether the animal is a grizzly and whether it's male or female. Motion-sensitive cameras would also be set up in some areas.
Swans have record year in Wyoming
JACKSON, Wyo. - A record number of trumpeter swans nested in Wyoming this year thanks to ideal conditions and years of work by state Game and Fish Department officials to increase the numbers and distributions of swans in the state.
"All the right factors came together this year," said Susan Patla, a nongame biologist with the Game and Fish Department's Jackson office who monitors wild trumpeter swan populations for the state.
Patla said in a news release that a total of 35 swan pairs occupied nest sites in northwest Wyoming. She said 20 pairs of those hatched 74 young, or cygnets.
She said 59 cygnets survived until they were large enough to fly in the late fall.
That represents a 55 percent increase in the number of nesting pairs and a 140 percent increase in productivity, compared with the previous 10-year averages, she said.
Swan numbers hit a low in 1993, when only 278 swans were found in the greater Yellowstone region.
Dog saves new owner from Idaho home fire
BOISE, Idaho - Sometimes rescuers need to be rescued, too.
Candace Jennings was sleeping on the couch when she was nudged awake by her dog, Anna, to find her mobile home engulfed in flames early Thanksgiving Day. The blond heeler, an abused stray dog Jennings had adopted from an animal shelter, whined and howled until they ran outside.
"I had an awful headache. The place was filled with smoke," she told the Idaho Statesman for a story published Saturday.
But Jennings said she ran back into her burning home to save some items.
"I'm a janitor in town," she said. "I had everyone's keys in my backpack. I had to go back and get them."
She crawled back into her burning home in Idaho City, about 40 miles northeast of Boise, with Anna close at her side.
But Jennings said she became disoriented and was nearly overcome by smoke. She tried to get back out but crawled in the wrong direction, heading toward the pantry instead of the door.
Anna showed her the way out.
"She pushed on me; she nudged me out the door," Jennings said.
The roof collapsed as Jennings, barefoot and wearing only pajamas, ran to some trees in the 15-degree weather. Jennings suffered burns to her feet and then frostbite. Anna and two other dogs Jennings has were not injured.
"She's a hero," said Jennings, an artist who has lived in the mountain town since 1975.
Grant Hawk, owner of the trailer park, said an electrical problem might have started the fire in the mobile home, which he said is a total loss.