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SC auction to have paintings by penguin

COLUMBIA, S.C. – This art is created not by hands, but by paws and claws. Paintings featuring the brush strokes and paw prints of animals such as snow leopards and sea lions from zoos around the nation sold Tuesday for surprising amounts of money.

Just a few minutes into the auction, a painting by Cha Cha the Lion had already sold for $550 while Pinto the Pig’s masterpiece sold for $250.

The sale is part of an online auction at to raise money for zoo conservation efforts. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is the sponsor.

“Art in some level is storytelling and there’s an amazing story to tell here about the great care that the animals receive and the conservation programs that the sale of this art will support, ” spokesman Steve Feldman said.

Zookeepers have long used painting as a way to mentally stimulate animals. Animal artwork also has been sold for some time, but Feldman said Tuesday marked the first collaborative effort by zoos.

Bidding began at 5 p.m. with a painting by Ricky the penguin from Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo that sold for $180.

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Martin Vince, curator of birds at the South Carolina zoo, said it wasn’t hard to get Ricky inspired to paint.

“What we did basically was put some paint on the floor and aim him toward it with a fish on the other side,” Vince said. “I would call it a special penguin version of abstract painting.”

The auction is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums national meeting in Milwaukee this week.

Teen ‘detective’ leads police to stolen bike

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Police in suburban Westchester County said a 13-year-old’s detective work led them to a 17-year-old accused of stealing a $2,275 mountain bike. Scarsdale police said the bike was stolen while its 13-year-old owner was inside a village deli.

The boy searched the Internet and found a bike that fit the description of his for sale on eBay. He gave the information to investigators.

A detective posing as a potential buyer arranged to meet the bike’s seller in White Plains. Police arrested the 17-year-old on charges of felony criminal possession of stolen property.

The 17-year-old was freed without bail to his parents and is due in City Court on October 1st. There was no telephone listing for the teen’s address.

World’s oldest man has 113th birthday in Japan

TOKYO – The world’s oldest man celebrated his 113th birthday Thursday in southern Japan, telling reporters he wants to live another five years. Tomoji Tanabe, who was born Sept. 18, 1895, received birthday gifts, flowers and $1,000 cash from the mayor of his hometown of Miyakonojo, on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu.

Tanabe told reporters he wants to live “another five years or so,” according to city spokesman, Akihide Yokoyama. That was a slight downgrade from last year, when he said he wanted to live “for infinity.”

The former city land surveyor, who lives with his son and daughter-in-law, is in good health and sticks to the habits that have gotten him this far. He rises early and reads the newspaper each day, drinks milk every afternoon and eats regular meals. He also avoids alcohol and does not smoke.

On Tuesday, he woke up early in the morning to eat breakfast before walking out to meet the mayor and members of the press at his home, Yokoyama said. The cash gift he received is given annually to the city’s oldest resident.

Japan has one of the world’s longest life expectancies, nearly 86 years for women and 79 years for men, which is often attributed to the country’s healthy diet rich in fish and rice.

The number of Japanese living past 100 has more than doubled in the last six years, reaching a record high of 36,000 people this year. Women, who make up 86 percent of the total, dominate the country’s centenarian ranks.