- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Injured bear cub coming to webcam

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE | Li’l Smokey will soon be broadcast live on the Internet.

The injured American black bear cub who gained international fame after his rescue last month from the embers of a Shasta County, Calif., wildfire will soon have a webcam to complement his new blog.

“[The webcam] is something we have never done before,” said Cheryl Millham, executive director of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, where the cub is recovering from his burns.

Li’l Smokey, who was the focus of a recent “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” segment, will be seen on a 24-hour webcam starting this week, Miss Millham said.

The care center has been keeping track of Li’l Smokey, as well as all the other injured critters, through a black-and-white, closed-circuit camera system unavailable to the public.

The new webcam images will be in color and will be available to anyone who wishes to go to the nonprofit group’s Web site.

The Internet address is www.ltwc.org. Li’l Smokey’s rehabilitation blog is at www.ltwc.org


Humans impinge on mountain lions

Increased mountain lion sightings have prompted a study intended to minimize risks when humans impinge on the big cats’ turf, state officials said.

State Department of Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said as the urban landscape in Colorado continues to push into wilderness areas, the reclusive big cats have begun venturing among humans, the Denver Post reported Monday.

“We really don’t have a wilderness in Colorado any more,” Miss Churchill said. “It’s impossible to tell people, ‘You can go here, and you won’t have a problem.’”

The state study comes a month after a mountain lion was killed in Idledale after grabbing a dog from its home. A couple in New Castle also fatally shot an aggressive mountain lion they encountered.

Boulder County wildlife specialist Dave Hoerath said the study will look at how best to limit human-mountain lion interactions in the future.

“This is the first large-scale, urban-suburban, human-mountain lion interaction study,” he said. “Most are done in more remote places.”


Tropical storm Ike forms in Atlantic

MIAMI | Tropical Storm Ike has formed in tropical Atlantic waters, forecasters said.

The ninth tropical storm of the season has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. At 5 p.m., the storm was located about 1,400 miles east of the Leeward Islands, and it was moving west at about 16 mph.

The storm’s projected course late Monday would take it toward the Bahamas over the next several days, but the paths of storms often vary from predictions made several days out.

Forecasters expect the storm to reach hurricane strength in the next 36 hours over warm Atlantic waters.


Zoo visitors welcome panda cub

ATLANTA | Visitors flocked to welcome the only panda born at a U.S. zoo so far this year and watch mother and child on a live video feed at Zoo Atlanta on Monday.

The tiny, hairless cub, which is the size of a stick of butter, is sequestered with her mom, Lun Lun, in the zoo’s birthing den, where they will remain for several months.

The bundle of joy was born Saturday, just a week before the second birthday of Mei Lan, the zoo’s first panda cub.

Zookeepers won’t know the sex of the cub for a few weeks until Lun Lun lets them touch her baby, said Megan Wilson, assistant curator of carnivores at the zoo. For now, the proud mom is cradling and nursing her cub just as she did with Mei Lan, Miss Wilson said.


Start of school year signals asthma season

NEW YORK | Asthma hospitalization rates can more than triple between August and September, a New York City health department specialist said Monday.

“Children with asthma can encounter more asthma triggers in the fall,” said Lorna Davis-Robinson, director of the asthma initiative. “To avoid letting asthma cause illness and unnecessary school absence, parents should consult with their child’s health care provider now.”

The child’s doctor should write an action plan to help manage the condition, with a medication administration form completed by the doctor. The form allows the child to take asthma medications at school when necessary. Parents must have an adequate supply of medications and request a flu shot for the child.

Parents can help prevent asthma episodes by guarding against infections through good hand-washing habits, keeping the home smoke-free and using an air conditioner when pollen or pollution is bad. Parents should also be aware roaches are a common asthma trigger, Miss Davis-Robinson said.


Michigan balloonist survives crash

ANDERSON | A Michigan man survived a hot-air balloon crash in South Carolina when the balloon’s basket got caught in a tree about 10 feet above the ground, officials said.

Officials said pilot Chuck Walz of Muith, Mich., broke his leg and pelvis Sunday morning in a crash at a balloon festival in northwest South Carolina.

Anderson Fire Chief Jack Abraham said Mr. Walz’s balloon may have been 9,000 feet in the air when it deflated. The fire chief said the balloon’s basket was skewered by a tree branch 10 feet from the ground and stopped the fall.

Mr. Walz fell from the basket to the ground. He was conscious when rescuers arrived.

Federal aviation officials are investigating.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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