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Jan. 13, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
After 18 hours of rescue efforts, a senior cat was freed from the downspout at an Ohio school on Friday morning. It was Wednesday night when Susan Orians says she first heard loud meows coming from Donnell Middle School, across the street from her home. Local news station Toledo News Now shared Orians’ YouTube video of the cat’s cries on Thursday, and a rescue effort quickly gained traction. The cat, between 12 and 14 years old, likely crawled into the pipe to keep warm during last week’s bitter cold temperatures. The downspout runs from the school roof to about 4 feet underground, then turns horizontally and runs 50 feet to the street. The cat was stuck at the turn, a few feet below ground level. When he couldn’t be lured out with food, the pipe had to be dug up and a hole was cut in it to save the cat, who was later named Piper. Veterinarians believe Piper had been homeless for a while and has several medical issues, so the Hancock Humane Society is looking for a special person to give him a home. — Read it at Toledo News Now
After DNA analysis, genetic researchers have concluded that the well-known clymene dolphin is actually the result of mating between two distinct dolphin species, the striped and spinner dolphins. The discovery adds to evidence of cross breeding leading to new species. It’s the first scientific find of a hybrid marine mammal species. The researchers’ analysis showed that the clymene dolphin’s nuclear DNA most closely resembled that of the spinner dolphin, while its mitochondrial DNA resembled that of the striped dolphin. Their study, led by a marine biologist from the University of Lisbon in Portugal, was published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at National Geographic
A permit to hunt the endangered African black rhino in Namibia sold to an anonymous buyer for $350,000 at a private event at the Dallas Safari Club on Saturday. The auction was held to raise money for conservation efforts for the species, but drew sharp criticism from wildlife and animal rights activists. "This is, in fact, making a spectacle of killing an endangered species,” Jeffrey Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said last week. Namibia offers five of the permits per year, and this was the first to be sold outside of the African nation. People were able to bid by phone, so the permit could have been sold to someone anywhere around the world. — Read it from the AP via ABC News
They’re “Freezin’ for a Reason” in Chicago. Fresh off the polar vortex, several people braved the icy cold waters of Lake Michigan and took a dip on Saturday, for a good cause. Their seconds-long swim is an annual fundraiser for Project Rescue Chicago, a group that helps homeless dogs in the city. “The brave first person to go in!,” Project Rescue Chicago Tweeted with this photo. “Everyone had to go alone or in pairs because it was so hard to find water!!” The group raised about $34,000. — Read it at ABC 7 Chicago
Molly, a dog who belongs to an Iraq war veteran, broke all four legs when she was hit by a snowplow during a storm in New Hampshire last month. Her owner couldn’t afford the $10,000 surgery needed to save her life, but in just one day, a non-profit used crowdfunding to raise the money needed for the surgery — and a lot more. The 3-year-old Australian Shepherd went home with her original owner last week, and thanks to the generous donors, the animal hospital, the Center for Advanced Veterinary Care, has about $32,000 more to help save other animals. — Read the update at Boston’s WCVB and watch the original story on ABC News
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