Not-so-cute animal tricks. This thead may grow...

Discussion in 'Hunters Rights Forum' started by The Other David, Aug 4, 2005.

  1. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Cougar attacks girl on Canadian Pacific Coast
    Thu Jul 28, 2005 6:34 PM EDT

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A four-year-old girl was recovering in hospital on Thursday from head injuries suffered when she was attacked by a cougar on Vancouver Island, officials said.

    The girl was walking with her family on a trail to the Kaouk River near the coastal village of Zeballos on Wednesday when the mountain lion pounced out of the trees, according to the Conservation Officer Service.

    Wildlife officers said the girl's mother hit the animal with a cooler until it let go of the child and fled. Search crews attempted to track the animal, but were unable to find it in the rough terrain.

    Vancouver Island, on Canada's Pacific Coast, is home to an estimated 400 cougars. Although it is rare for the carnivorous cats to hunt humans, there have been attacks in recent years at the northern end of the island, where Zeballos is located.

    "It is a predatory attack but a sudden one. There's no way it was stalking that particular group of people. It was probably waiting by the trail for something to come along," said Peter Pauwels, a conservation officer.

    Pauwels said the cougar was probably a younger animal, because it was described as being smaller than a normal adult cougar. Adult cougars usually weigh between 120 and 130 pounds in that area of Vancouver Island.

    The girl, who is from the Vancouver area, was transported by air to a Vancouver hospital, where she underwent surgery for a scalp wounds and was reported to be in stable condition.

    Pauwels said it is unlikely the cat poses a special threat to humans because its attack was unsuccessful. "We may never see this cat again," he said.

    Wildlife experts say people who are attacked by cougars should fight back rather than attempt to flee.
     
  2. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Tuesday, August 2, 2005
    By LYNN OLANOFF

    Herald Staff Writer

    MONTAGUE — A bear bit a sleeping camper and tried to drag him away from a shelter along the Appalachian Trail at High Point State Park last month, state officials said Monday. The bear was killed Friday after becoming ensnared in a trap at the same campsite, officials said.

    The male camper, whose name has not been released, was sleeping with a group around 6:30 a.m. on July 13 at the Mashipacong Shelter when the bear bit him on the leg and attempted to drag both him and his sleeping bag, said Karen Hershey, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

    The bear left "marks" on the camper, Hershey said, but would not release details of his injuries Monday.

    State officials learned of the incident from a High Point State Park ranger on July 21, Hershey said. The spokeswoman said the late notification combined with a weeklong investigation into the incident was the reason for delayed public notification.

    The State Division of Fish and Wildlife set a trap for the bear Wednesday at the shelter, the campsite on the Appalachian Trail in Montague where the July 13 incident occurred, Hershey said. The shelter is near Deckertown Turnpike in the southeast corner of the park close to the Wantage border.

    The 152-pound, 5-year-old female bear caught in the trap Friday was later identified as the same bear who bit the camper, Hershey said. She did not say how the bear was identified.

    "The Division (of Fish and Wildlife) was confident it caught the offending bear," she said.

    DEP Press Director Elaine Makatura said the department does not release the names of people involved in bear incidents to "protect (their) anonymity."

    The Mashipacong Shelter and nearby sections of the Appalachian Trail were closed for a few days during the investigation. They have since been reopened.

    High Point State Park Superintendent John Keator referred a call Monday inquiring about the incident to the DEP press office.
     
  3. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    from the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune

    Attacks on dogs increase as wolf population grows

    By Jim Lee
    For Central Wisconsin Sunday
    PARK FALLS - As Wisconsin's timber wolf population expands, attacks on hunting dogs have become more frequent, particularly in the northern half of the state where the bulk of wolf habitat lies.
    "Since 1986, when the first claim was filed, we've had 82 dogs killed by wolves and 27 injured that we know of," said Adrian Wydeven, Department of Natural Resources wolf expert.

    "We paid for most of those claims, but there were a few cases when people did not request payment.

    "As of the end of June, we had paid $144,200 for the 82 dogs killed and about $10,000 for veterinarian bills, most of it for dogs but for other animals as well."

    Hunting dog fatalities were infrequent until the mid-1990s.

    "It seems like every year after 1996 - when the wolf population exceeded 100 animals - that we've had dogs killed," Wydeven said. "Since then, it seems to have become an annual event. The number of dogs killed has been higher in the past four or five years."

    Seventeen dogs were killed by wolves in 2001, the highest number of fatal attacks to date. Fifteen dogs were killed in 2004, the second highest total on record. Five dogs have been lost to wolves thus far in 2005.

    Hounds pursuing bear, bobcat or coyote have been the target in almost every wolf attack, Wydeven said. Hounds noisily track their targets well ahead of hunters, often into deeply wooded areas where wolves are the dominant predator and view the dog as an interloper in their territory.

    "We've had four or five beagles killed by wolves," Wydeven said.
    "But we haven't had any bird dogs attacked by wolves while in a hunting situation. The human presence is a deterrent. Grouse hunters stay close to their dogs. Their whistling and calling is usually enough to prevent wolves from hanging around.

    "But we have had a couple of bird dogs attacked while just roaming near homes. One was a Brittany spaniel in central Wisconsin that was running on dikes near a cranberry bog."

    Wydeven said 80 of the state's 108 wolf packs are located where bear hunting with dogs is practiced, and three packs have been responsible for most of the recent attacks. "It seems some packs are more prone to attacking dogs," he said.

    Minnesota saw its wolf population increase from an estimated 2,450 in 1998 to 3,020 wolves in 2004 while wolf range remain unchanged. That means wolves are occupying smaller territories.

    "I think we're starting to see some of that here, too," Wydeven said. "In the last few years, wolf territories have been averaging about 40 square miles. It used to be 50 to 60 square miles. Still, some territories are as small as 20 square miles, and others are as large as 80 to 100 square miles."
    A large deer herd can sustain more wolves on less land, he said. Where deer are in shorter supply, a wolf pack needs a larger territory to sustain it.

    As wolf packs evolve into tighter territories, the odds of hunters and their dogs encountering wolves increases.

    "We're starting to see wolves moving into more developed areas," Wydeven said.

    Wolf packs have established residence at Mead Wildlife Area and Dewey Marsh Wildlife Area, both tracts of public land in the midst of farm country north of Stevens Point, "places that we had considered only marginal habitat for wolves," he said.

    The 1999 Wolf Management Plan set a goal of 350 wolves for Wisconsin outside Indian reservations. The most recent estimate - not including 2005 production - put the state wolf population at 414 to 442 outside reservations.

    Wisconsin has downlisted the timber wolf to protected species status, but the federal government still considers it an endangered species and thus entitled to full protection.

    "If a hunter encounters a wolf attacking his dog, he can shout and try to scare it off, but currently you can't shoot the wolf itself," Wydeven said.

    If the federal government delists the timber wolf and restores management authority to the state of Wisconsin, private landowners might be allowed to kill a wolf attacking livestock but that authority is unlikely to be given a hunter defending his dog on public land, Wydeven said.
     
  4. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Tiger Kills Teen During Senior Photo Shoot

    MOUND VALLEY, Kan. (AP) - A Bengal tiger attacked and killed a teenage girl who was posing for her senior high school pictures at an animal sanctuary Thursday in southeast Kansas, authorities said.

    The Labette County Sheriff's office identified the victim as Haley R. Hilderbrand, 17, of Altamont. A news release said Hilderbrand was at the Lost Creek Animal Sanctuary posing for a photo with the 7-year-old tiger, which was being restrained by its handler, when the animal attacked her.

    Officers and handlers killed the animal. Emergency personnel were not able to revive Hilderbrand.
     
  5. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    In Jefferson (NJ), snake bites the hand that tries to save it
    Wednesday, August 17, 2005
    BY BILL SWAYZE
    Star-Ledger Staff

    Stephen Sodones spotted it along the edge of Route 23 in Jefferson, a snake just starting its precarious slide to the other side of the highway.

    So the 62-year-old animal lover picked it up, hoping to carry it to safety. But in doing so, Sodones quickly learned one of nature's more important facts: Snakes bite.

    What bit Sodones three times on the arm Monday night was a copperhead, which can grow to 4 feet and have fangs like hypodermic needles. No one is quite sure how big this one was.

    Sodones, who lives in the Newfoundland section of Jefferson, remained hospitalized last night in the intensive care unit at Chilton Memorial Hospital in Pompton Plains. His condition was listed as critical, but improving, a hospital spokeswoman said.

    Sodones was given an antivenin intravenously, and is expected to be fine, said Steven Marcus, medical director at New Jersey Poison Information and Education System.

    Some say Sodones could have fared much worse.

    "If you had to be bit by some venomous snake, you'd want it to be a copperhead," said Joe Abene, venomous snake expert at the Bronx Zoo. "Most people do not have to go to the hospital."

    Copperheads get their name from the copper-like hue of the head and are fairly common in the Jefferson area. They account for more cases of venomous snake bites than any other snakes, but their venom is the least toxic of the species, according to the Web site snakesandfrogs.com.

    What prompted Sodones to pick up the snake in the first place remains a question to police, authorities said.

    But to those who know Sodones, his actions made perfect sense.

    A animal lover, Sodones lives alone with a white long-haired cat named "Old Cat." He likes to feed bears and stop traffic so ducks can walk across the road. Not too long ago, he tried to revive a bumblebee, keeping it in the palm of his hand with some water until it buzzed away two hours later, said John Bross, a friend and neighbor.

    "One time, I stepped on a spider and he wouldn't talk to me for two days," Bross said. "Steve's got a problem with animals. He loves them too much."

    Friends said Sodones routinely takes walks along Route 23, not far from his house. At about 8:30 Monday night, he spotted the reptile in the road. When he picked it up, it attacked him, police said.

    At first, Sodones didn't think much about the bites. But about four hours later, when he felt woozy, Sodones called 911, police said.

    By then, the snake was long gone.

    "It was a good thing to do, but the wrong way to do it. I wouldn't recommend anyone touch a venomous snake unless they know what they are doing," Abene said. "What the heck was he thinking?"
     
  6. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Coyotes Hunting Pets On North Shore
    Coyotes Venture Into Residential Areas In Search Of Food
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    (AP) GLENCOE North Shore authorities say some pets are falling victim to coyotes venturing into residential areas in search of food.

    One Glencoe service officer, Katie Sweeney, says six domestic cats in Glencoe have been attacked and killed in the last month alone. And coyote sightings seem to be up all around the North Shore.

    Wildlife experts say drought seems to be responsible for the increasing number of coyotes straying into the residential areas.

    They say well-meaning people -- out of concern for animals during the drought -- have been placing more birdseed, corn and salt licks in their yards. That, in turn, attracts small animals hunted by coyotes.

    But Sweeney says coyotes are lazy and once they enter a residential area, they might single out cats or small dogs as easier kill than raccoons or skunks.
     
  7. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Wildlife officials: Don't blame bear problems on lack of hunt

    By Scott Condon August 24, 2005

    An increase in the number of encounters between black bears and humans in recent years in places like Aspen has got some observers contending the problem exists because a spring hunt was eliminated.

    State wildlife officers claim that is nonsense. They say hunters are killing more bears now, when hunting is limited to fall, than they ever killed when hunting was allowed in both spring and fall.

    Colorado voters eliminated the spring hunt in a 1992 election. The ballot issue championed by animal rights' advocates also banned the use of bait and dogs to hunt bears.

    Bear problems have skyrocketed in some parts of the state in the last decade, particularly in years when bears' natural food supplies were wiped out by late frost or drought. Aspen is one of the state's hot spots, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

    Kevin Wright, wildlife officer for the Aspen area, has responded to numerous calls of bears breaking into homes and property in recent years. But he strongly dismissed any connection between bear problems and elimination of the spring hunt.

    "In my mind, I don't buy off on that," Wright said. "We are harvesting about twice as many bears now as we did with the spring bear hunt."

    In 1992, hunters across Colorado killed 479 black bears during the spring and fall hunting seasons. In 1993, the first year the spring hunt was eliminated, only 278 bears were killed.

    But hunters adapted to the limited hunting season for bears. From 1995 through 2004, the number of bears killed in the fall hunt was higher than it was in the years prior to the elimination of the spring hunt, according to wildlife division statistics.

    The "harvest" over the last 15 years peaked at 857 bears in 2002. Last year, 506 bears bit the bullet.

    John Broderich, a terrestrial biologist for the wildlife division, said the number of black bears has increased steadily since the 1970s. Before then, bears were routinely hunted without rules. Seasons were eventually established but bears could be baited, even though other big game couldn't.

    Animal rights advocates collected enough signatures to place a question on the statewide ballot in 1992 to change some of the hunting rules for bears. The Division of Wildlife was officially neutral on the question.

    Bear populations in Colorado are definitely on the rise, but the bear kills during the fall hunt, which starts in September this year, have kept pace, Broderich said.

    "Those bears are dying in record numbers since the spring season was closed," he said.

    Some proponents of a spring hunt contend the number of bears killed isn't as important as the timing of when they are killed.

    Sub-adult males are often the bears killed in hunts. Once their mothers stop caring for them it takes time for them to learn to care for themselves and establish their territory.

    Those young males are also believed to be the bears most often involved with conflicts with humans. They are desperate for food, so they seek the easiest source possible. That's often in the house of a person who left windows open or a door unlocked.

    Critics of current rules claim that if the spring hunt was in place, it would eliminate some of those sub-adult males that tend to have conflicts with humans later in the summer.

    Wright said he consistently hears that argument. He countered that the fall hunt also tends to eliminate the sub-adult males, so they aren't around to get in trouble the following summer. A dead bear is a dead bear, he said.

    Wright contended that the reason for increased conflicts is increased development of prime bear habitat. As the valley grows, much of the development occurs in areas where bears reaped natural foods like acorns and service berries.

    With fewer food sources, bears go for easy pickings in town and around homes in rural areas, particularly in years when natural factors like a late frost or drought affect acorns and berries.

    "We've placed ourselves in direct conflict," Wright said.
     
  8. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Urban grizzly attacks man and dog; both OK

    By DOUG O'HARRA
    Anchorage Daily News

    Published: August 25, 2005
    Last Modified: August 25, 2005 at 02:31 PM

    Gary Paterna was walking his dog down an overgrown trail in the woods southeast of his Chugach Foothills neighborhood Tuesday evening when a heart-stopping roar erupted behind him.


    "I hadn't taken one or two steps when the bear burst out of the brush," he said Wednesday. "It charged down and then it stopped."

    It was a grizzly sow, with at least one cub, and it growled upon finding a human so close to its offspring. The encounter was near the boundary of Far North Bicentennial Park, perhaps 1,200 yards from suburban homes and lawns off the Tudor-Muldoon curve.

    "What I remember was just how big the head was -- it seemed enormous," Paterna said later. "I was scared. I took another couple steps backward and then it hit me."

    The bear swatted his chest and knocked him to the ground so fast that Paterna later wasn't quite sure how it happened. But the dog, a 9-year-old Brittany spaniel named Tok, drew the bear's attention.

    The bear pounced on the dog, giving Paterna time to leap to this feet. He saw Tok trapped between the bear's paws and started to back away. He didn't get far.

    Twice more, the bear knocked him down. Twice more the dog's presence seemed to interrupt the attack.

    "Each time she hit me, it was a matter of backing off and snarling, and it was fast," he said. "More like a body check -- she'd hit me, knock me down and back off quickly."

    After the third hit, the bear bolted up the trail, allowing Paterna and Tok to run for the Klutina Drive trail head, where he warned other hikers and called 911.

    The 60-year-old grandfather of five suffered scrapes and a sore hip where he'd fallen -- plus five distinct claw marks and a purple bruise across his chest.

    And Tok, the dog who didn't flee when his master was attacked, didn't appear hurt at all.

    "It's great to be alive," said Paterna, a former air traffic specialist who organizes schedules for a tour company. "It is just super."

    The bear apparently tried to neutralize a threat to its cubs and then flee -- normal behavior for a surprised sow, said assistant area biologist Jessy Coltrane with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. She posted a sign at the trail head warning people about the attack.

    The incident should remind people that both brown and black bears roam the Chugach Mountains foothills, especially near the North Fork of Campbell Creek and its run of spawning salmon, she said.

    Last September, a resident from the same neighborhood shot and killed a brown bear that charged him along the popular Tank Trail, several hundred yards north of the most recent attack. That bear had been feeding on a moose carcass.

    "We just urge people to use common sense where they're walking and make a lot of noise," Coltrane said. "If a bear physically makes contact with you in a defensive attack, the best thing is to stay put and not move."

    Of course, she said, that's easier said than done.

    You got that right, Paterna said.

    "I'll tell you straight up, it's a lot to ask when you see the jaws above you," he said. "We were pretty much face-to-face. I thought, 'Here it comes -- she's going to chew on me.' But she backed off."

    Paterna has lived on Resurrection Drive with his family for 26 years and walked the same trails countless times. On Wednesday, he marveled at his lack of serious injuries. His left arm was already in a cast, broken from a bike accident earlier in the summer, but it didn't get yanked further by the encounter.

    During the first charge, he thinks, he brandished his telescoping walking stick but the bear batted it away. At some point, he grabbed a little canister of pepper spray, but he couldn't release the trigger in time.

    Paterna said he plans to carry a larger can of bear spray in the future ---- and practice firing it. And he will avoid overgrown trails with poor visibility.

    The bear left him with a souvenir of the encounter: a muddy paw print on his old T-shirt from a 1995 racquetball tournament.

    "It's got a beautiful claw mark," Paterna said. "I think I'm going to get that one framed."
     
  9. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    2 Hikers Attacked by Yellowstone Grizzly

    BOZEMAN, Mont. - A grizzly bear attacked two hikers in Yellowstone National Park, but the men escaped serious injury, the National Park Service said Thursday.

    Pat McDonald, 52, of Bismarck, N.D., and Gerald Holzer, 51, of Northfield, Minn., were hiking on a trail near Shoshone Lake in the park's southern section Wednesday when they noticed fresh bear scat, officials said in a written statement.

    They decided to continue, but were charged by a grizzly bear "at full stride" about a quarter-mile further along the trail, the release said.

    Holzer, who was in front, sidestepped the bear. McDonald stepped behind some trees and dropped to the ground, officials said. The bear ran past him, but returned and swatted at him, then turned to Holzer, who had dropped to the ground and was lying on his stomach.

    The bear jumped on Holzer's back, swatted at him, then retreated briefly. During that time, McDonald retrieved the bear spray strapped to his waist and doused the bear in the face when it returned and starting biting his leg. The bear then ran off, officials said.

    The two men hiked 4 miles to the trailhead and drove to the clinic at Old Faithful for treatment.

    McDonald suffered a puncture wound to his leg. Holzer was not injured, and officials said his backpack protected him during the attack.
     
  10. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Cougar tales abound
    Stories of encounters punctuate public hearings

    PAULINE BRAYMEN
    Freelance Writer

    BURNS, Ore. – Ranchers, sportsmen and interested citizens spoke passionately to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife representatives of their concerns about an increasing cougar population in Oregon.

    Some traveled over 130 miles to attend the meeting in Burns, one of eight held around the state in late August to gather comment on the 2005 Draft Cougar Management Plan.

    Craig Foster, district wildlife biologist for the Lakeview Office of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said that what will drive the Cougar Management Plan for Oregon is public safety and damage control.

    A cougar population that has grown from 200 in 1960 to an estimated 5,000 in 2004 is causing more conflict and public concern. The plan strives to maintain a population of no less than 3,000 cougars, the 1994 level.

    Comments in Burns covered education of the urban public, more funding for wildlife service control efforts from the Legislature, and aggressive control in problem areas including the use of trained hounds.

    The use of hounds for hunting was outlawed by a citizens ballot initiative in 1994, although ODFW says hound hunting is generally considered the most effective and selective method. ODFW estimates that cougar numbers have increased from 3,000 to more 5,000 since the law was passed.

    “Just because something’s cute doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous,” said John Hatch of Jefferson, in Marion County. He and others present advocated education programs in the urban areas – education for voters who may not understand the dangers to citizens and livestock, pets and other wildlife when increased numbers of cougars push the cats to roam wider areas in search of food and in closer proximity to populated areas.

    One rancher told of killing six cougars in a five-mile radius in the past year. Landowners are allowed to kill cougars who are damaging their livestock or threatening safety. Under these circumstances the carcass must be turned over to ODFW and cannot be kept as a trophy.

    Concern was expressed about deer, elk and bighorn sheep populations, which are being hard hit in some areas by cougars.

    “Averaging it out, an adult cougar eats the equivalent of one deer a week,” wildlife biologist Craig Foster said.

    Shane Otley, of the Venator-Riverside area of Harney County, said he had been at the ranch where he works for only four years, but, “Where I live ... when I started there I couldn’t chase enough deer out of the field. There were so many. And now they are down to hardly any. I just think the deer in our area are really getting hammered and the elk, too.

    “I killed (a cougar) not 5 feet off the front of my porch. My wife walked out on it. It was going to get my dogs. I’m not a cougar hunter, but I’ve killed three of them.”

    Funding for predator control and game management programs comes from licenses and tags sold by the state to hunters. Jim Schultz of Hines, a member of the Isaac Walton League, said he advocates more funding for wildlife management coming from the state’s general fund.

    “Non-hunters should help pay,” he said. “The general population has required you (ODFW) to have a cougar plan and manage the cougar, but the general population doesn’t have to pay for that.”

    Sharon Livingston of Long Creek, president-elect of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, echoed the sentiment, asking ODFW to lobby for more funding from the general fund.

    “I know where the problem is and the rest of the people in this room do, too,” she said. “I know what the public has said. The people in Oregon are not going to allow hunting with hounds and they are not going to change that – at least not at this time.

    “I would like to see ODFW advocate in the plan for using hounds to hunt cougar and take a strong stand for it. Then when the next legislative session comes, you could lobby for it. And we would help you,” Livingston said.

    Later, she explained that what she is proposing is to bring in trained houndsmen to work as agents of ODFW for predator and population control of cougars. It is already legal for landowners to use hounds to hunt cougar on their own property for damage and safety concerns. ODFW also may use hounds for taking cougars.

    The day after the meeting, back home at her isolated ranch in Grant County, Livingston said she saw a cougar by the haystack near the barn a short distance from the house. The animal was killed.

    “It is the first time I’ve seen a cougar,” she said. “My grandchildren play in the barn and around the haystack. I was an advocate before, but now I will be strongly supporting cougar management through the use of trained houndsmen.”

    The draft Cougar Management Plan proposes actions by zone throughout the state and is not a one-size-fits-all formula for the entire state. The quotas for cougar harvest are calculated by taking into consideration the unique conditions in each zone.

    Comments will be taken until Oct. 31 by ODFW, and the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will see the draft at its Dec. 2 meeting. The commission will take comments again at its January meeting.

    A copy of the draft plan may be obtained from Lindsay A. Ball, director, Oregon Fish and Wildlife, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE, Salem, OR 97303; calling (503) 947-6000; or at www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/cougar/.
     

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