Dingo wakes sleeping teen
A teenager described yesterday how her sleeping bag was torn off by a dingo as she slept at a campsite, weeks after a landmark ruling that a baby was snatched in 1980 by one of the wild dogs. Rebecca Robinson, 13, was sleeping on a mattress under a caravan awning at the Aurora Kakadu Lodge, about 250km from the northern city of Darwin, on Sunday when she was woken by a dragging sensation. “I could feel someone pulling me, I was not going anywhere, but I could feel the sleeping bag getting dragged,” she told the Northern Territory News. “I woke up and there was a dingo there, chewing at my sleeping bag.” Robinson’s mother said the teenager shouted at the animal and it ran off, adding that she had been told it was the fourth such event at the lodge this year — an unusual spate of incidents. It comes after a coroner ruled last month that baby Azaria Chamberlain had been taken from a tent at Uluru, or Ayers Rock, 32 years ago, exonerating her mother Lindy, who spent three years in jail convicted of her murder.
Well-traveled cat recovering
A three-month-old kitten is recovering in California after surviving a journey across the Pacific in a shipping container from China, without food or water, officials said on Tuesday. The orange-and-white animal has been named Ni Hao after being found when the container was opened last week, following the two-week, 10,450km trip from Shanghai. At first he was too weak to stand, but the short-haired kitten is finally taking his first steps — and officials are now seeking a local cat-lover to adopt him. “Ni Hao greeted the medical team with his first meows this morning and is attempting to stand,” said Marcia Mayeda, head of the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control. In theory, he has to remain in quarantine for 60 days, but he “may be allowed to finish the quarantine period under the care and supervision of a foster family if his health continues to improve,” Mayeda said.
Party held for orangutan
A Sumatran orangutan believed to be the oldest reproductive specimen in captivity celebrated his 50th birthday on Tuesday at a zoo in western France. As photographers snapped pictures, Major, a 125kg father of 16, blew out the candles on a strawberry birthday cake at the zoo in La Boissiere-du-Dore near Nantes where he has lived for more than 20 years. Born in 1962 in Indonesia, Major was captured seven years later and held in zoos in Germany, before being transferred to France in 1989. His keepers said Major, who lives at the zoo with his three female companions and four children, is especially prized for his reproductive prowess. “When you know that an interval of four to five years is needed between each birth for a female, it’s exceptional,” zoo director Sebastien Laurent said.
Top soldier quits military
The nation’s most highly decorated soldier is quitting the military to work with young people. Corporal Willie Apiata is the only living New Zealander to hold the country’s top award for battlefield gallantry, the Victoria Cross. The 40-year-old won the honor after saving the life of a severely injured soldier in Afghanistan in 2004. According to his Army citation, Apiata carried the bleeding soldier 70m through enemy fire to safety. Prime Minister John Key confirmed that Apiata is joining the High Wire Charitable Trust to work with vulnerable youths.