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March 27, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Erin Cramer was home sick recently when the dog she’d adopted two months earlier started acting strangely. Clobber, a Greyhound, was standing with his nose against a wall upstairs in her Indianapolis home. She tried to take him outside, but he immediately pulled her back inside, and raced back up the stairs the moment she took off his leash. Still not sure what Clobber was up to, Cramer went to the laundry room, where she felt like she was hit by a “wall of gas.” It turned out that her water heater was leaking gas into the room, and a plumber she called for help told her it was also sparking. “[The plumber] said it probably would have ignited the gas fumes and taken out not only this house but several around me,” Cramer said. She’s very grateful to her alert dog. “If it wasn’t for him coming into our lives, we probably wouldn’t be here right now.” — Watch it at Indiana’s Fox 59
Just a month after it shocked the world by euthanizing a healthy giraffe, Denmark’s Copenhagen Zoo said it killed two lion cubs and their parents on Monday, in preparation for the arrival of a new male lion. The decision has sparked a massive global backlash on social media. The zoo defended itself, saying it had to do this for genetic purity and conservation. “If the zoo had not made the change in the pride now, then we would have risked that the old male would mate with these two females — his own offspring — and thereby give rise to inbreeding,” officials said in a statement. The situation has caused an uproar among animal activists around the world. Gerald Dick, executive director of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, explained that American zoos prefer to use contraception to prevent overpopulation or inbreeding, European zoos often favor animals expressing their natural behavior and use selective euthanasia as a last resort. — Read it at The New York Times
A new study shows a Cuvier’s beaked whale was able to hold its breath while diving for more than two hours and reaching nearly two miles below the surface off the coast of Southern California. Scientists from the Cascadia Research Collective used 3,700 hours of satellite data to study the whales’ diving behavior. “It’s remarkable to imagine these social, warm-blooded mammals actively pursuing prey in the darkness at such astounding depths, literally miles away from their most basic physiological need: air,” said lead author Gregory Schorr. Their findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Discovery News
Pandas Have a Sweet Tooth
Giant pandas might eat bamboo almost exclusively, but a new study finds that they also love sugar. The research team gave pandas at the Shaanxi Wild Animal Rescue and Research Center in China two bowls of water over the course of six months. One contained only water, and the second contained water with one of six natural sugars at varying concentrations. They found that the bears had a clear preference for the sweetened water — and they preferred natural sugars to artificial sweeteners. The researchers also used DNA testing to confirm that pandas have sweet-taste receptors. "Our results can explain why Bao Bao, the 6-month-old giant-panda cub at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is apparently relishing sweet potato as a first food during weaning," said study leader Danielle Reed of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. The results were published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Live Science
Emergency dispatchers in Nebraska were concerned when they answered a 911 call recently and were met only with breathing and scratching. Then, they learned that the call had not come from a person in distress, but from a little dog who accidentally dialed 911 from her owner’s smartphone when she was trying to curl up next to her on the couch. The owner, Melissa Acosta, realized Sophie, her 2-pound Japanese Chin, had called 911 when she heard a voice from her phone asking for the address of the emergency. Acosta called the incident “a little embarrassing.” — Read it from AP via the Washington Post
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