January 8, 2013

    Photo: amanderson2/Flickr

11 Elephants Killed by Poachers in Kenya

Rangers are in pursuit

Wildlife officials in Kenya are on the lookout for a group of ivory poachers after a family of 11 elephants was found shot and killed in Tsavo National Park on Saturday. Kenya banned the trade of ivory in 1989, and while elephant poaching did enter a period of decline, the recent market demand has created a fierce resurgence. Saturday’s incident is one of the largest elephant slaughters in Kenya’s history. “We’ve seen nothing as bad as this since the 1980s,” said Kenyan researcher Iain Douglas-Hamilton. “We’re right back to where we were.” The group of poachers, whom officials have called a “gang of 10," are being pursued by by rangers using helicopters and police dogs.



    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Oprah Nabs First Armstrong Interview

Will he take advantage of the soft, forgiving couch?

Last week the New York Times reported that Lance Armstrong was considering admitting, finally, to the doping allegations that have left him stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and millions of dollars in lucrative endorsements. There is now a good possibility that he will do so with none other than Oprah.

Oprah Winfrey's OWN network announced today that, on January 17, they will air a 90-minute special episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter in which Armstrong will give his first “no-holds-barred” interview since losing his titles and being banned from professional competition for life. Many are speculating that Armstrong will admit to blood doping and using performance-enhancing drugs before breaking down in tears on Oprah’s storied couch. (We'll fuel the rumors, since we're not sure what else there is to talk about.) If you don't get OWN—or think you might but have no idea where it would be on your dial—the interview will also be live-streamed at Oprah.com.


Lance Armstrong     Photo: PoweriPics/Flickr

Armstrong Offered USADA Large Donation

Tygart said it was declined

In 2004, Lance Armstrong offered to donate around $250,000 to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, according to a report by 60 Minutes set to air on Wednesday. Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, tells 60 Minutes that a representative for Armstrong tried to make a "totally inappropriate" gift, similar to his $100,000 donation to the International Cycling Union after they allegedly gathered a suspect blood sample in 2001.

"I was stunned,” Tygart said. “It was a clear conflict of interest for USADA. We had no hesitation in rejecting that offer."

Armstrong's relationship with the UCI is now under internal investigation.

In a confusing series of responses to the report, Armstrong's attorney told USA Today that the cyclist never made any such attempted donation. "No truth to that story. First Lance heard of it was today. He never made any such contribution or suggestion," said Tim Herman when reached for comment. He then told the Los Angeles Times that, "At some point ... I thought around the mid-2000s ... someone was seeking some money for testing equipment and Armstrong offered to help. I don’t know for sure what happened."


Wingsuit     Photo: Richard Schneider/Flickr

Police End Search for Wingsuit Flier in Washington

Went missing in the Cascades

Police have abandoned the ground search for a man who disappeared over Washington's Cascade Mountains on Thursday after making a wingsuit jump from a helicopter at 6,500 feet. Based on flight records and cell phone data, Kurt Ruppert of Lake City, Florida, is thought to have disappeared somewhere around 4,200-foot Mount Si. No one saw Ruppert jump or whether he was able to deploy his parachute. "The guys on the ground could not see where he jumped from their angle, and the pilot couldn't see when he went out the door because he was focused on flying," a King County Sheriff’s spokeswoman said. Authorities abandoned the search due to the difficulty in exploring the remaining cliffs and ravines and the improbability that Ruppert could have survived the weekend's cold temperatures. Friends described Ruppert as an experienced skydiver and comfortable using a wingsuit.



    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Wild Dogs Suspected in Mexico Killings

Four dead over two weeks

Wild dogs in Mexico City may have mauled and killed four victims over the past two weeks, according to city authorities. The victims were found in the Cerro de la Estrella, a wooded park in the city’s poor Iztapalapa district. Parkgoers first found the bodies of a 29-year-old woman, Shunashi Mendoza, and a one-year-old child. Six days later, the bodies of a teenage couple, Alejandra Ruiz, 15, and Samuel Martinez, 16, were found.

Mexico City is known for its very serious stray dog problem. Public Safety Secretary Jesus Rodriguez has warned residents against visiting the park, day or night. Police officials swept the park over the weekend, capturing 25 wild dogs. The animals will be tested for traces of human blood and have their stomach contents searched for incriminating remains.

Diana Ruiz received a call from her sister during the attacks. On the tape Alejandra can be heard screaming, "Several dogs are attacking us, help me!" But Ruiz remains unconvinced that dogs were responsible. "What kind of dog can tear the skin from your whole arm and leave just bone, and if it was an attack dog why didn't it attack her neck?" she asked.

City authorites have not said what will become of the captured dogs, but animal rights activists are urging them not to kill the animals.

Via MyFox



    Photo: Backcountry Access

K2 Acquires Backcountry Access

Brand will continue R&D

In an indication of the growing popularity of backcountry skiing, K2 sports announced Monday that it has acquired Boulder-based ski safety equipment manufacturer Backcountry Access, adding it to the company's 15-strong portfolio of snow sports and other outdoor brands. Speaking to ESPN, Backcountry Access co-founder Bruce Edgerly said that the deal wouldn't change BCA's structure. "The BCA brand will continue to thrive, the management team will stay in place, and we'll keep our HQ right here in Boulder," Edgerly said. "Now that we're no longer risking our homes to finance the company, you can expect a bold new set of product development and marketing initiatives." While K2 will take over BCA's accounting and finances, BCA, which produces avalanche-safety equipment such and probes and beacons, will continue to manage its own design and marketing.