The Odd Side – January 11, 2016

Solo Entrant In Michigan City Contest Wins $2,000 Package

BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) – A man has won prizes worth nearly $2,000 after being the only person to enter a contest to celebrate a Michigan city’s 150th anniversary.

MLive reports that Taylor Langstaff had to do 25 activities in the Bay City area and stamp them off on a “passport” to win the prizes.

The activities included enjoying a beverage at Tri-City Brewing Co., and going on a holiday tour of homes in Bay City’s Historic District.

Langstaff’s prizes included restaurant gift certificates, a yearlong membership to the Bay Area Family Y, Bay City-branded T-shirts and a four-person pass to sail aboard the tall ship.

Because Langstaff was the only entrant, he also received second- through tenth-place-winner prizes.

Bay City is 115 miles northwest of Detroit.

A Goat Was Supposed to Be a Siberian Tiger’s Dinner; Now They Are Best Friends

MOSCOW – In a zoo in the far reaches of Siberia, predator and prey have become best buddies. Amur the tiger and Timur the goat’s charmed friendship started in late November, when Amur decided not to eat the goat when it was unleashed into his enclosure.

The intention was that the goat would be a gastronomic delight, not a playpal. But instead the two animals appear to have bonded, sharing a food bowl and appearing to play with each other by romping through Amur’s pen.

By December, they had already drawn enough attention that the Primorsky Safari Park set up a live stream of the enclosure. But they rocketed to stardom when one of Russia’s state-run media networks unveiled a 44-minute documentary ode to their friendship during the slow news week between Jan. 1 and Jan. 7, a time when all of Russia is on vacation.

“The situation is really weird. For three years running we have fed Amur a huge number of goats, rabbits, roosters and rams,” said Dmitry Mezentsev, the general director of the Primorsky Safari Park, in a telephone interview from the zoo, which is in Russia’s far southeast, seven hours ahead of Moscow.

The friendship started after the goat, seemingly unfazed that it was on the dinner menu, chased the tiger out of his sleeping place, a converted aviary, and claimed the comfortable area for its own.

Amur, apparently confused that the goat was not properly submissive, went to sleep on the roof.

“Amur has never rejected prey before,” Mezentsev said. “There was just one case when the goat given to Amur lived through the night. Amur ate him the following morning.”

Since their first encounter, the pair has spent their days together, watched by an increasing number of Russians.

“Every morning … brings a treat of apples and cabbage for Timur, and meat for Amur,” the zookeeper said.

The zoo has given up feeding goats to the tiger, instead switching to a two-rabbit diet, twice a week, and supplementing with other meats every day.

Timur and Amur enjoy playing with a ball, one snatching it from the other and running away, as the other tries to catch up, Mezentsev said.

Amur, a Siberian tiger, has benefited from conservation efforts promoted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The species, also known as the Amur tiger, is endangered; there are an estimated 550 alive.

But population levels have stabilized in recent years. Putin released three cubs into the wild in 2014. They drew headlines when one wandered into China and snacked on local farmers’ livestock before returning to Russia.

Violinist Leaves $2.6 Million Stradivarius on German Train

BERLIN – An American violinist who left her $2.6 million 1727 Stradivarius in the luggage rack on a train in western Germany was “more than relieved,” police said, when officers retrieved it one minute before it left the station.

The woman, in her 20s, left the ‘General Dupont Grumiaux’ edition of the famous violin brand on a train traveling on Tuesday from Mannheim to Saarbruecken in western Germany, where she alighted.

Realizing her error after leaving the train, she alerted the police.

One minute before the train heading back to Mannheim departed, police found the violin in the last section of the carriage concerned and returned it to the woman.

The instrument was not damaged, police said in a statement.

Judge: Monkey Cannot Own Copyright to ‘Selfie’

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A crested macaque that took a now-famous “selfie” cannot own the copyright to the photograph, because he is not human, a U.S. judge ruled in a suit brought by animal rights group PETA.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals brought the case in September on behalf of the monkey, Naruto, against British photographer David Slater, who published the photo in a wildlife book.

Naruto, who resides on a reserve in Indonesia, took the image and several others in 2011 using a camera left unattended by Slater, the suit said. PETA argued he should be declared owner of the photos and receive damages for copyright infringement, which would be used for habitat preservation. While Congress and the president have the power to extend legal protections to animals as well as humans, “there is no indication that they did so in the Copyright Act,” U.S. District Judge William Orrick said at a hearing on Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco, according to a court transcript. Orrick said he would give PETA an opportunity to amend the lawsuit before he dismisses it outright.

“Although we are disappointed, we are celebrating the fact that this is a historic case,” PETA’s lawyer Jeff Kerr said. “For the first time we are arguing that an animal can own property, rather than merely being a piece of property himself.”

Slater asked Orrick in November to throw out the case because, he argued, animals do not have legal standing. “Monkey see, monkey sue is not good law,” he said in court papers.

Slater’s lawyer, Andrew Dhuey, said that even if PETA can amend its lawsuit, Orrick will likely rule in his client’s favor.

“My tuxedo cats could have won this case,” he said. “It’s not a complicated situation. All that really matters is that the plaintiff is a monkey.”