Pet Scoop: 16-Pug Proposal Held in Central Park, Elusive Wild Cat Caught on Camera

Nov. 5, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Ed Grant invited 16 Pugs to help him propose to longtime girlfriend Alexandra Justins.
Ed Grant invited 16 Pugs to help him propose to longtime girlfriend Alexandra Justins.
Dogs Help With Marriage Proposal

London resident Ed Grant knew that his vacation to New York City with girlfriend Alexandra Justins would be the perfect time to pop the question. So, he started planning. Ring? Check. Beautiful setting in Central Park? Check. But there was one more element he knew would make Justins even happier: Pugs. "If we see a Pug (which is often), then Alex chases it down the road to say hello. Her face lights up when she sees Pugs," Grant said. So, he contacted an area Pug meetup group and found 16 willing participants from New York and New Jersey. When the couple arrived at the park’s Bow Bridge, a crowd had already gathered to see the little dogs, who were all wearing pink heart-shaped balloons. The pack of Pugs descended on the bridge, and Grant read a short speech before getting on one knee to ask Justins to marry him. “It made an incredibly special moment even more memorable,” Justins said. “I was so touched that people that we had never met wanted to be a part of our special moment.” — Read it at Today

Beagle Trained to Sniff Out Bear Pregnancies

Polar bear pregnancies are notoriously difficult to detect. But if zoos know a cub is on the way, they can better prepare by separating the mom from the males, getting her into a den with extra bedding, setting up video camera monitoring and staffing for a 24/7 cub watch. Now, they’re about to find out whether Elvis, a 2-year-old Beagle, who’s been in training for a year, can help them out. The dog smells samples from polar bears and sits down if he detects a pregnancy. "He was very methodical," said Elvis’ trainer, Matt Skogen, of the dog’s work. "You could tell he was really running it through the think tank." Elvis is now examining samples from 22 female polar bears in 14 zoos, and Skogen is recording his reactions. Once Elvis is done, the zoos will be informed of what the dog thinks. And later this year, they’ll find out if he was right. — Read it from the AP via the Huffington Post

Snow Leopard Cubs Born at New York Zoo

The adorable spotted brother and sister pair were born over the summer and are now making their debut at the Central Park Zoo. The cubs, who weigh about 30 pounds each, were born to first-time parents Zoe and Askai. This is the second snow leopard birth at a Wildlife Conservation Society zoo this year. In August, the WCS introduced a snow leopard cub who was born at the Bronx Zoo. Snow leopards are among the most endangered big cats in the world, with an estimated 3,500 to 6,500 remaining in the wild. — Read it at Science Daily and watch it at NBC New York

The bay cat was caught on remote cameras in Borneo.
Oliver Wearn, SAFE Project, ZSL
The bay cat was caught on remote cameras in Borneo.

Bay Cat Caught on Camera

Until now, the elusive and endangered bay cat has only been recorded on camera a handful of times in its home in the forests of Borneo. In fact, it was only photographed for the first time in the wild in 2003. But now, scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Imperial College London say they’ve recorded more images than ever before of the world’s least known cat — in a heavily logged area of the forest, where they weren’t expected to thrive. “Conservationists used to assume that very few wild animals can live in logged forest, but we now know this land can be home for many endangered species,” said Robert Ewers of Imperial College London. The researchers describe their findings in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Discovery News

German Dog Gives Birth to 17 Puppies

Quassia vom Wandsbarg, a 4-year-old Irish setter who resides in Germany, has had quite the introduction to motherhood. She gave birth to 17 puppies in her first litter, and 15 of the beautiful little redheads have survived. Her surprised owners were expecting eight or nine pups, so they were shocked when the babies kept coming, reports the U.K.’s Daily Mail. The puppies were born on Nov. 1, and will remain with their mom until March. — See photos at People Pets

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