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Ohio's Position on Exotic Animal Ownership

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As an Ohio resident, I can say that we have some really great things to offer tourists – beautiful lakes, wonderful cuisine, professional sports, world famous amusement parks, and even an upcoming mental_floss trivia show. (Shameless plug alert).

In addition to all those great attractions, it seems that we also offer people the chance to come face-to-face with incredibly dangerous, carnivorous animals like that big guy pictured above. Not just at the Jack Hanna's world-famous Columbus Zoo, but also perhaps in your backyard or in the grocery store parking lot.

You’ve probably heard by now about the tragic story that unfolded in rural Ohio, where dozens of exotic animals escaped (or were released) from the property of a private citizen who was found dead in his home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. As of this evening, CNN reported that many of the escaped animals had been killed, and one monkey remained at large.

Like many residents of the Buckeye state, I wasn’t aware this was even an issue until today's news. However, a little research uncovered a report called Ohio’s Fatal Attractions that was published by The Humane Society of the United States earlier this year. It contains a number of eye-raising passages, like this:

Due to the lack of regulation of dangerous wild animals in Ohio, many unqualified individuals across the state possess, breed, and sell these animals. This is a growing problem, as exotic animals are easily available from breeders, auctions, and Internet dealers.

And this:

…Since 1990, Ohio ranks fourth among the 50 states in dangerous incidents involving big cats, bears, and non?human primates that resulted in injury and death.

We do? The report even references the exact animal owner involved in this current situation as:

A man sentenced in 2005 to six months of house arrest and fined $2,870 for a conviction on abuse of animals claimed to have 21 tigers as well as lions and leopards.

As for the many stories I’ve seen that refer to Ohio’s exotic animal laws as among the most relaxed in the nation, it seems, as with most things, politics play a role. Just before leaving office earlier this year, Ohio’s Former Governor Ted Strickland enacted a series of animal control laws that would have restricted the "possession and sale of dangerous wild animals, specifically big cats, bears, wolves, non?human primates, large constricting and venomous snakes, and crocodilians."

However, the new administration promptly nixed the new regulations, proving once-and-for-all that even that pesky “let’s-not-get-mauled-by-ferocious-jungle-cats” issue is not enough to get politicians to reach across the aisle.

If you’re interested in seeing how restrictive your state is when it comes to lions and camels and other non-native species, Born Free USA has a state-by-state rundown.

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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]


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