Pet Scoop: Charlie Hebdo Dog Witnesses Attack, Rhino Poaching Survivor Gives Birth

Jan. 15, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Lila, a Cocker Spaniel, witnesses the deadly shootings at Charlie Hebdo's office on Jan. 7.
Lila, a Cocker Spaniel, witnesses the deadly shootings at Charlie Hebdo's office on Jan. 7.

Dog Spared in Paris Attack

In an interview with France’s Le Monde newspaper, a survivor of the shootings at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo described how the office dog, Lila, was there as the Kouachi brothers killed 12 of her colleagues. Crime reporter Sigolène Vinson said the Cocker Spaniel, who wears a Charlie Hebdo collar, had greeted the staff members she loved as they arrived at the office after the holidays. Vinson said the sound of Lila running from room to room during the Jan. 7 attack helped her get through the terrible situation. One of the gunmen told Vinson he wouldn’t kill her because she was a woman, and she kept still behind an office wall until she heard them flee. "As I lay there, not sure if they were really gone, shots rang out in the distance, in the street. And then I heard Lila with her tiny steps," Vinson said. She thought Lila was searching for her favorite cartoonist, Jean Cabut, who was killed. In Wednesday’s new, sold-out edition of Charlie Hebdo, Vinson wrote an ode to Lila. It read in part, "At Charlie Hebdo, we have a dog, a red Cocker Spaniel who signals to us that it's OK, that we can get up now, that (the terrorists) have gone." — Read it at the U.K.’s Telegraph

Study: Zebras Have Stripes to Stay Cool

There have been many theories about why zebras have such stark, black and white stripes. Comprehensive new research from the University of California, Los Angeles, finds the stripes are most closely correlated with temperature and precipitation in the zebras’ African environment. They did not correlate with the presence of lions or tsetse flies in the area. While other animals also need to regulate their body temperature but don’t have stripes, study co-author Ren Larison said zebras may benefit from an extra cooling system because they digest food less efficiently than other animals that graze in Africa. Therefore, they need to spend more time in the midday sun, eating more food. "An additional cooling mechanism could be very useful under these circumstances," Larison said. The study was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. — Read it at Live Science

Helicopter Parenting Might Be Good for Pets

Being an overprotective parent might not be great for kids, but a new study finds that it could be an advantage when it comes to dogs and cats. A survey of 1,000 pet owners from researchers the University of California, Berkeley, and California State University, East Bay, analyzed the personality traits and nurturing styles of pet owners. Those who expressed the greatest affection for their pets also rated among the most conscientious and neurotic. That suggests the qualities that make for overbearing parents might work better for cats and dogs, who require lifelong parenting, researchers said. It’s the first study to find a positive correlation between neuroticism, anxious attachment and the care of and affection for pets, said CSU-East Bay psychologist Gretchen Reevy, co-author of the study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. — Read it at Science Daily

Thandi, a rhino who survived a poaching attack in 2012, give birth to a calf, left, Tuesday.
Thandi, a rhino who survived a poaching attack in 2012, give birth to a calf, left, Tuesday.

Surviving Rhino Gives Birth

Three years ago, a rhinoceros named Thandi was attacked and left for dead by poachers in South Africa. But remarkably, Thandi survived. After a slow recovery that included four skin graft procedures, she’s given birth to a healthy calf, managers of the Kariega Game Reserve announced Wednesday. The calf was born Tuesday morning, and as soon as the newborn could walk, Thandi brought her baby deeper into a part of the reserve that is now cordoned off, said representative Bronwen d'Oliveira. Rhinos are listed as an endangered species due to the threat of poachers, who hunt them for their valuable horns. D'Oliveira said Thandi and her calf, whose gender isn’t yet known, are doing well, and that the reserve is doing everything it can to protect them and the other rhinos remaining in the park. — Read it from AP via Yahoo

“Pouch Liners” Needed in Australia

Last week, we told you about how an army of volunteers had responded to a call to make mittens for koalas whose paws were burned in Australian bushfires. Now, the International Fund for Animal Welfare says orphaned marsupials including kangaroos and wallabies need help to recover from the fires, too. The IFAW’s Project Pouch is asking for handmade pouch liners to comfort traumatized joeys. "A carer can go through around six pouch [liners] a day. After every feed they need to be changed and washed," IFAW's Jilea Carney told The Guardian. The group is hoping to get the same outpouring of support with the liners that it saw when it asked for mittens for the koalas. — Read it at People Pets


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