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August 20, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Two 8-week-old kittens from the Humane Society of New York snagged roles alongside stars Rose Byrne and James Earl Jones in Broadway’s “You Can’t Take It With You.” Alfonso topped 14 other cuddly kittens to take a starring role in the show. His brother, Louis, will play a smaller role when the comedy opens next week. "The role required a kitten to remain very still on a small desk for five or six minutes and Alfonso had the perfect temperament," said Sandra DeFeo, the Humane Society’s director of public relations. And if you fall in love with one of the feline stars, you’ll have the chance to bring them home. During intermission, the audience can fill out applications to adopt Alfonso and Louis once their Broadway run is over. — Read it at ABC News
The highly contagious parvovirus has killed 15 dogs in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the last two weeks. Officials there are warning dog owners to make sure their dogs’ vaccinations are up to date. They said dog owners who suspect their pet is ill should keep them out of public areas and get them to a veterinarian right away. The MSPCA is working with the state and animal welfare groups to provide free parvovirus vaccine clinics. — Read it at CBS Boston
After a disastrous fire swept through the Pinnacle Ridge talus slope on Oregon’s Mount Hood in September 2011, researcher Johanna Varner of the University of Utah assumed the pikas (small, rodent-like mammals) she was studying must have died. The trees and shrubs at the site were 100 percent burned, meaning there had a been a high temperature fire and severe burn. But sensors she had placed there showed that in the crevices of the rocks, where the pikas live, temperatures never exceeded those recorded on the summer days before the fire. "These data suggest the pika could have survived the fire," Varner said. Her research is the first evidence that sheltering in place helps the species survive a fire. "The take-home message is that pikas may be more flexible in their habitat than we thought," she said. Varner shared her findings at the Ecological Society of America's annual meeting in California last week. — Read it at Live Science
Two impossibly cute clouded leopard cubs were born to first-time parents Suksn and Tarak on June 6 at the Houston Zoo. It’s also the first clouded leopard birth at the zoo. The kittens like to show off big cat skills, pouncing on each other — and their stuffed animals. After their birth, the pair was moved to a veterinary clinic, where they’re getting 24-hour care from the zoological team. Because the animals are so rare, it’s common practice for zoos to hand raise them. — Read it at Zooborns and see more photos of adorable zoo babies
Researchers say a female bottlenose dolphin in New Zealand has adopted a young common dolphin who was abandoned. Known as Kiwi, the bottlenose dolphin lost her own baby five years ago when it was stranded on a muddy bank. Experts say it’s extremely rare for one species to adopt a baby from another species. Kiwi has been nursing and swimming with the baby, who researchers have named Pee-Wee, since January. They were just able to get clear pictures of the two together last week. “It’s just so unusual — the crew are ecstatic,” said dolphin expert Jo Halliday. — Read it at the U.K.’s Daily Mail
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