Pet Scoop: Beagles Rescued From Testing Lab, Vaccination May Help Save Frogs

July 10, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
 

Seven Beagles walked on grass for the first time in Texas after being rescued from a lab Tuesday.
Seven Beagles walked on grass for the first time in Texas after being rescued from a lab Tuesday.

Seven Beagles Get Freedom

Seven Beagles who’d spent their lives in a lab on the Texas-Mexico border got a taste of freedom Tuesday when they were delivered to Hutto, Texas, to start new lives. The Beagle Freedom Project, which has rescued more than 200 Beagles since 2010, made a deal with the unnamed lab to take the dogs when they were done with them. This was the group’s first rescue in Texas. The five girls and two boys, ages 2 to 9, were only known by numbers until they were freed. They’ve now been named Candy, Luca, Frida, Dolly, Nina, Bobby and Grumpy. Household products including toothpaste and dishwasher detergent, as well as pharmaceuticals, were tested on the dogs. Beagles make up a large majority of the dogs that are used in testing because of the gentle nature, says the Beagle Freedom Project. This group of seven pooches is now off to foster homes where they’ll stay until they’re adopted. There are close to 1,000 people waiting to adopt a Beagle from a lab. — Watch it at USA Today

Study: Gorillas Use Stinky Scent to Communicate

Researchers who followed one wild male silverback gorilla for a year have concluded that the animals can use a pungent smell to broadcast their presence or turn it off to hide from strangers. The gorilla, who the researchers named Makumba, broadcasted his scent when he encountered other gorillas, as if to say, "I am strong, powerful and here, protecting my females and babies," said study co-author Phyllis Lee, a psychologist at the University of Stirling in Scotland. But when strange and possibly threatening silverbacks were nearby, Makumba would suddenly turn off his scent. "We think he was then trying not to tell the other male where and who he was," Lee said. Lee and her co-author followed Makumba in the Central African Republic rainforest. Their findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Live Science

Satellites Used to Count Polar Bears

With the threat that diminished sea ice and a changing climate pose for polar bears, it’s important for scientists to keep track of their population. But the white bears are notoriously difficult to count against the white landscape. Now, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and other groups have found that using high-resolution satellite imagery can be as accurate as doing a survey by helicopter. When both techniques were used on the same area in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, they produced similar estimates, suggesting that, “bear identification using imagery was quite accurate,” according to the study, which was published in PLOS ONE. — Read it at the Alaska Dispatch

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Vaccination Could Help Frogs

The deadly fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has spread quickly around the world, putting frogs and other amphibians at risk of extinction. But a new study is offering hope. Senior author and ecologist Jason Rohr says one possibility is to vaccinate hundreds of amphibians that have been removed from contaminated habitats and then reintroduce the immunized frogs to the wild to reduce the spread of the fungus. "This is the whole idea behind vaccinating a portion of the human population and being able to protect everyone," Rohr said. Another possibility would be to dump vaccine into ponds to induce an acquired immune response. While the research, published in the journal Nature, is promising, "there're a lot of technological hurdles still to come," said Allan Pessier, an amphibian disease expert at the San Diego Zoo who wasn’t involved with the study. — Read it at NBC News

Owl Picks LeBron James’ Next Move

With NBA analysts and fans anxiously waiting to see whether star player LeBron James decides to go back to Cleveland, stay in Miami, or go elsewhere, a wise old owl at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo weighed in with an unbiased view. Unfortunately, she didn’t have great news for her hometown. When she was released, she flew right to the Miami Heat jersey, rather than picking the Cleveland Cavaliers. There was a hush over the zoo’s audience when she made her choice. — Watch it at Minnesota’s KARE11


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