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April 29, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Thirty-three circus lions from Peru and Colombia boarded a flight to freedom today. After negotiating their release, the animal rights group Animal Defenders International is moving them to Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, South Africa, in the largest lion airlift ever. The lions were gently coaxed into their custom travel crate before the flight. The seating chart was carefully arranged so the lions face others in their family groups during the 14 to 15 hour flight, which includes one refueling stop in Brazil. The lions can’t be released into the wild because they’ve suffered injuries that would prevent them from hunting, ADI said. — Read it from The New York Times
Plus: In other circus animal news, the Ringling Bros. elephants will give their last circus performance on Sunday in Providence, Rhode Island. The animals are headed for retirement at the Center of Elephant Conservation in Florida. Animal rights groups had fought for years for their retirement. The “Greatest Show on Earth” will continue to feature lions and tigers. — Read it at Providence’s WJAR
The critically endangered kakapo, a flightless parrot species, has had a much-needed boost in its population. With only 123 adult kakapo remaining, there are now 37 new chicks. The New Zealand birds have had a hard time defending themselves from threats without being able to fly. They are the only flightless parrot and, at 8 to 9 pounds each, they’re the heaviest one in the world. Wildlife officials say better technology has allowed them to keep watch over the birds in a non-invasive way. — Read it at Discovery News
When an elderly man went missing from an assisted living facility in Massachusetts on Wednesday night, state police dog Riggs was called in to help. After smelling something that belonged to the man, Riggs started tracking along a path into the nearby woods. He and his human partner, Trooper Sean Kenney, walked for about a mile into the forest before Kenney heard a “faint cry for help.” Just before midnight, they found the man lying on the ground, covered in cuts and bruises and shivering from the cold. The man had been missing for about five hours. The team kept him warm while Fire and Rescue responded to the scene to transport him to the hospital. “Without Riggs locating the man, the outcome could have been very different. Nice work!” the Massachusetts State Police posted on Facebook. — Read it at Masslive
An unexpected player jumped into the match between professional soccer teams Deportivo Táchira F.C. of Venezuela and Pumas UNAM from Mexico — and he brought his A game. The delighted yellow Labrador Retriever darted around the field, playfully jumping around and playing keep-away from the players who tried to catch him. But his burst of fun was short-lived. One player caught him and picked him up to carry him off the field — while getting lots of kisses from the friendly dog. — Watch it at People Pets
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