Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Elephant and dragon

Two current news items have caught my eye - one heartwarming, the other chilling...

A woman who harbored a zoo elephant in her backyard during the "Belfast Blitz" during World War II is being sought to acknowledge her role in saving Sheila, who was returned to the zoo and lived on until 1966. Other animals - including a tiger, a black bear, a lynx, a hyena, two polar bears, and six wolves - had been killed preemptively in case they escaped and endangered the public. Instead, Sheila was led to a red-brick house on Whitewell Road where she spent several months in the safety of an unidentified woman's backyard. As it celebrates its 75th anniversary, the Belfast Zoo hopes to document this gap in their history by identifying the "elephant angel" known only from a couple of grainy photographs.
Meanwhile, a man in Indonesia has been killed by Komodo dragons after trespassing on a small island in Komodo National Park to pick sugar-apples. Muhamad Anwar, 32, bled to death as he was being transported to a nearby clinic by other fishermen. Komodo dragons are the heaviest lizards on earth. They can grow up to 10' in length and their bite is poisonous.

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