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Feb. 24, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
A group of 19 manatees, including a calf, are now safe after being rescued from a very tight spot overnight. The endangered animals were likely looking for warmth when they swam into a 36-inch municipal storm drain in Satellite Beach, Florida, and became trapped. "It's been cold lately and these canals are all filled with manatees,'' said Satellite Beach Fire Chief Don Hughes, reported CBS News. "I wouldn't even begin to venture a guess as to how they got into the drainage pipes. They will go wherever there's warm water." About 60 responders from Florida Fish and Wildlife, SeaWorld and the fire department worked to move the manatees from the drain to a local lagoon, where they were released. Although some suffered scrapes, they were healthy enough to be freed. The first call about their plight came in at 4 p.m. Monday, and the last of the manatees was rescued at 2 a.m. Tuesday as a crowd of onlookers cheered. — Read it at NBC News
There’s positive news for critically endangered Amur leopards. In 2007, there were only 30 of them counted in Russia’s Land of the Leopard National Park. Now, the World Wildlife Fund says a new census puts that number at 57. The park covers about 60 percent of the big cat’s habitat. An additional eight to 12 leopards were counted in adjacent areas of China, meaning the numbers have doubled in less than 10 years. The WWF credited conservation efforts for the increase. "There's still a lot of work to be done in order to secure a safe future for the Amur leopard, but these numbers demonstrate that things are moving in the right direction,” said Barney Long, director of species protection and Asian species conservation for WWF. — Read it at Live Science
Earlier this month, Guinness World Records gave the title of world’s oldest living cat to Tiffany Two, a 26-year-old tortoiseshell cat from California. But now, another feline is challenging that claim. Asa Wickberg of Sweden says her cat, Missan, is 29 years old. She said it’s “highly likely” Missan will live to celebrate her 30th birthday this spring. "She's a bit of a loner, and has always been a bit shy and a little cautious. But she likes dogs. She takes to them very quickly," said Wickberg. Wickberg would need to prove Missan’s age to Guinness to officially get the title. Tiffany Two was given the title after the death of Poppy, a 24-year-old U.K. cat who was previously listed as the world’s oldest feline. — Read it at UPI
About 90 police officers from across southern New Jersey lined up outside the Swedesboro Animal Hospital St. Francis Veterinary Clinic to bid an emotional goodbye to K9 officer Judge on Friday. "Judge and I had such overwhelming and positive support that day," said West Deptford Police Cpl. Michael Franks, Judge’s partner. "Though Judge was extremely lethargic and could barely walk the days before the ceremony, he was able to bite onto his favorite protective decoy arm sleeve used in training and carry it into the hospital." Judge retired from the West Deptford, New Jersey, Police Department in 2013 after seven years of service because he was suffering from Cushings Disease. Franks and Judge’s veterinarian decided that the time had come to put the loyal 9-year-old dog down because of the pain he was suffering due to complications of his disease. "He was a true asset to our department and will be forever missed. RIP Judge, gone but never forgotten!" the department posted on its Facebook page. — Read it at ABC News
Rami is one of a kind. Last month, after he was found in a backyard in rural Georgia, a picture of the unusual looking dog posted on the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society’s Facebook page went viral. Although thousands of people have applied to adopt the Pit Bull-Dachshund mix, who has 4,000 followers on his own Facebook page, the shelter has decided to keep him as an ambassador. Rami will become a certified therapy dog who will raise awareness about adopting shelter pets. His celebrity status has already helped boost adoptions at the shelter. "Please be assured that I am being well taken care of and loved," Rami posted. "No more worries as a dog on the street, now I have food in my tummy, a warm cozy bed, and lots of friends and most important ... LOVE!!" — Read it at CNN
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