QUIRKY WORLD ... A daily look at some of the world’s stranger stories

NEW ZEALAND: Cat owners aren’t feline fine after a local council passed a bylaw limiting the number of cats that can be kept in a household.

QUIRKY WORLD ... A daily look at some of the world’s stranger stories

Cat lovers in Rangitikei District can now only have three moggies, TVNZ reported. The limit came in after some people complained to the council about bad smells and noise.

Cllr Michael Hodder told TVNZ: “This is a case of dealing with nuisances. We haven’t instituted a reign of cat inspectors. It’s not like your dog registration.”

Mayor Chalky Leary said the council simply wants the authority to act: “We’re not going to count people’s cats. We don’t care how many cats they’ve got. So long as the cats are happy, the neighbours are happy and everybody else is happy.”

While some pet owners felt the limit was unnecessary, others pointed out that cat breeding in the area combined with a lack of pets being neutered had contributed to the problem.

The law does not apply to animal welfare charities but also outlaws pigs, beehives, and roosters from urban homes and restricts households from keeping any more than 12 chickens.

JAPAN: The Japanese town made infamous by the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove will open a marine park where visitors can swim with dolphins, but officials said Monday its annual slaughter of the creatures will continue in a nearby bay.

Organisers want tourists to be able to eat dolphin and whale meat as they watch the captive animals frolic.

The town of Taiji has begun researching a plan to section off part of a cove and turn it into a place where people can swim in the water and kayak alongside small whales and dolphins, Masaki Wada said.

But, the local government official insisted, far from caving into pressure from conservationists who want an end to a yearly hunt that turns waters red with blood, the project was aimed at helping to sustain the practice.

“We already use dolphins and small whales as a source of tourism in the cove where dolphin-hunting takes place,” he said.

“In summer, swimmers can enjoy watching the mammals that are released from a partitioned-off space.

“But we plan to do it on a larger scale. This is part of Taiji’s long-term plan of making the whole town a park, where you can enjoy watching marine mammals while tasting various marine products, including whale and dolphin meat,” he said.

The 2009 film The Cove brought Taiji to worldwide attention, winning an Oscar the following year, after graphically showing the killing of dozens of trapped animals, including by using underwater cameras. Activists continue to visit the town to protest the hunt.

SCOTLAND: An egg of one of the world’s most endangered species of bird, dating back almost 100 years, has been discovered at a university.

Details of the surprise find in a collection at the University of Aberdeen’s zoology museum in 2008 have just been revealed.

The egg is 2cm-3cm long and is similar to the size of a small duck’s egg, but it took five years to establish the egg’s identity, including DNA analysis.

Breeding habits of the south Indian bird called Jerdon’s Courser, or Rhinoptilus bitorquatus, are unknown and an egg has never been found by an ornithologist.

Experts hope that the discovery will help conservationists identify the species’ egg in their work to save it from extinction.

Dr Alan Knox, the university’s emeritus head of museums, said: “I was looking through drawers of uncatalogued eggs in the university’s zoology museum when I spotted an egg labelled as belonging to this species.

“It was one of those eureka moments — finding something nobody else knows about, something so rare and exciting. I could hardly believe my eyes.”

The egg was taken to the Natural History Museum in Tring, Hertfordshire, home of the world’s largest egg collection. DNA was extracted from the dried-up membrane, scraped from the inside of the egg, and a match was found with DNA from the toe of a 140-year-old Jerdon’s Courser at the museum in Tring.

CHINA: A Chinese village Communist Party official was fired yesterday after reports of his son’s three-day, $260,000 wedding emerged, state media reported.

The official Xinhua News Agency said that the party discipline inspection commission in Beijing’s Chaoyang district made the ruling Tuesday against Ma Linxiang, a deputy party director in the village of Qingheying.

The extravagance came at a time when China’s leadership has warned party officials not to flaunt excesses that stoke public anger.

Though the local discipline inspection commission found no evidence that Ma used public funds for the wedding, it said the extravagance of the celebration ran counter to the party’s strictures.

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox