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Jan. 4, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
A 2-year-old kitty in Marion, Mass., has had a harrowing start to the new year. Firefighters tried three times to rescue her from the tree that she’d been stuck in for eight days before she fell 80 feet from her perch on Sunday — and then took off into the brush. Pam Robinson, founder of a local pet shelter called It's All About the Animals, finally caught her on Tuesday, named her Fortunate, and brought her to the Marion Animal Hospital to be checked out. "I don't see anything wrong with this cat; it's unbelievable," said veterinarian Dr. Rachel Francis, who examined her. "She's certainly a survivor." Robinson and Francis said they believe the skittish but affectionate cat, who had a few pulled muscles and a possible parasitic infection, was once someone’s pet. After she recovers, Fortunate will be put up for adoption. — Read it at Massachusetts’ Sea Coast Today
When birds hear a birdsong, their brains show activity that’s similar to what’s seen in humans when they listen to music, according to a new study. “We found that the same neural reward system is activated in female birds in the breeding state that are listening to male birdsong, and in people listening to music that they like,” said Sarah Earp, an undergraduate student at Emory University in Atlanta, who co-authored the study. Published in the journal Frontiers of Evolutionary Neuroscience, the study also found that when male birds hear another male’s song, they have brain activity similar to what’s seen in humans when they listen to music they don't like. — Read it at the Huffington Post
After crossing the border from Oregon, a gray wolf has stayed in California since the spring—making it the first documented wild wolf in the Golden State in 90 years. Fitted with a tracking collar, he’s traveled more than 3,000 miles since breaking off from his pack in northeast Oregon, looking for a mate and other wolves who can form a new pack. But he’s unlikely to find them in California, where officials think he’s still a lone wolf. "I guess he's being the Lewis and Clark of wolves in California," said wolf advocate Amaroq Weis.— Read it at the LA Times
Since his rescue Beagle, Tessa, disappeared from his suburban Boston backyard on Christmas Eve, best-selling crime novelist Dennis Lehane has launched an all-out search that’s gained national attention. Lehane first made headlines last week when he offered to name a character in his next book after whoever finds his dog. Since then, he’s been out joining volunteer search teams, handing out fliers and manning the Finding Tessa Facebook page. "No dog since Lassie ever got this attention ... the flip side of the comedy is, who wouldn't do this for their dog?" he said. — Read it at AP via Yahoo and watch it from CBS Boston
One person's trash is an elephant's treasure? Pachyderms at a zoo in Germany got a post-holiday treat this week: their very own Christmas trees. No, you won’t find them decorating with ornaments and tinsel. After performing exercises with their trainers, the elephants chowed down on the fresh tree rewards, which had been delivered just for them. — Watch it at Today
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