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Dec. 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.
A Utah family is thanking Copper, a police Bloodhound, for finding 6-year-old Kollin Bailey trapped in a manhole Friday. Bailey was flying a kite in his yard when he tripped and fell backward into an open 10-foot manhole. He was knocked out in the fall, and when he awoke, he started screaming for help, but he couldn’t be heard. When he didn’t come home, his concerned parents called the West Valley City Police for help. Their search party included Copper, who found Bailey in just 20 minutes. A police officer climbed into the hole to help Bailey, who was then taken to the hospital to be treated for a broken arm and a mild concussion. He’d been in the hole for about two hours. On Saturday, he and his family made it a priority to personally thank Copper with an early Christmas gift — a stocking filled with treats. "He saved my life," Bailey told Utah’s KUTV. "I was really scared. I thought I was going to miss Christmas.” — Read it at the New York Daily News
When John Russo was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, he left his 1-year-old American Bulldog, Bones, with his ex-girlfriend, who he thought would take care of her. But when he returned home, he discovered that his ex had moved and changed her phone number, and he had no luck trying to find Bones. Then, last week when he was checking the web site of Florida’s Flagler Humane Society, he spotted Bones. He was told his ex had tried to have the dog put down, and the veterinarian refused and told her to surrender Bones to the shelter. Russo immediately went to the shelter to get the dog he hadn’t seen in four years. “When they brought her out to see him he just knelt to the floor and we were all just bawling our eyes out. We've never seen this dog be so ecstatic to see someone. She ran and gave him this huge bear hug and was whining and jumping all around,” said staff member Katrina Geigley. Russo, who’s now a firefighter, said Bones is still happily settling into life with him again. “It’s been insane,” he said. “I come home every day from work and she somehow manages to get in my laundry basket and steal my shirts and every time I come home it’s like the first time she saw me again.” — Read it at ABC News
Hummingbirds are known for their impressive hovering skills, but a new study finds that they can be thrown off balance by visual stimuli. Researchers at Canada’s University of British Columbia found that hummingbirds have trouble hovering and feeding from a source of nectar at the same time when they see moving images. The birds seemed to think their hovering had gone out of whack and would back off from the nectar, then have trouble trying to hover and feed again. "It suggests the hummingbirds' visual motion detection network can over-ride even a critical behavior like feeding,” said study author and zoologist Benny Goller. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. — Read it at UPI
A new study finds that ecosystems, local economies and climate change could be impacted as reindeer populations decline around the world. "In northern Europe (such as in Finland, Sweden and Norway), Asia (Russia, Mongolia and China) and North America (Canada and Alaska), reindeer populations have been declining for many years,” said the study’s lead author Xiuxiang Meng. The researchers cite at least six factors for the decline in reindeer populations: inbreeding; poaching for antlers; natural predators including bears, wolves and lynx; a lack of herders and breeders; climate change; and changes to the tourism industry. Reindeer are currently classified as being of “least concern” on the IUCN’s Red List, but Meng and other experts say the animal’s status needs to be updated. The study was published inJournal for Nature Conservation. — Read it at Discovery News
Allie, a 12-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, was getting into the refrigerator and freezer when her family wasn’t home. But they were stumped by how she was doing it. So, her owner, California radio personality Adam Montiel, set up a GoPro camera to catch her in action. After he leaves the house, Allie can be seen helping herself to what she finds in the trashcan before opening the freezer drawer with her paws and then nudging the doors on the fridge open with her nose. "Yes, we feed her," writes Montiel with the YouTube post. "She is a very smart and loving soul, and we love her more than anything." Posted last week, the video has nearly 1 million views. — Read it and watch it at People Pets
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