Pet Scoop: Chicago Aquarium Rescues 4th Dog, London Zoo Hand-Rears Surprise Penguin Chick

Feb. 20, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Marlin was rescued by Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, where he'll greet guests.
Shedd Aquarium
Marlin was rescued by Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, where he'll greet guests.

Shedd Aquarium Adopts Lab Mix

The Chicago aquarium may be best known for its otters, whales and dolphins. But its newest resident walks on four furry legs. Meet Marlin, a 2-year-old Labrador Retriever mix who was adopted from Chicago Canine Rescue. He joins a family of three other rescue dogs at the Shedd, including Bruce, a male Pit Bull mix; Coral, a female Airedale mix; and Dory, a female Shepherd mix. Bruce, Coral and Dory were introduced last summer at the Shedd’s “One World” aquatic show, which focuses on the impact all species have on their shared environment. Marlin will serve as an aquarium ambassador, visiting guests as they wait in line or during meet-and-greet opportunities. He’s been working with Shedd trainers since December, and Marlin plans to start his work as an ambassador this spring.

Eagles Make Winter Home at Power Plant

More than 200 bald eagles have found an unusual place to roost: DTE Energy’s plant in Monroe, Michigan. The iconic birds are drawn to the plant’s warm-water discharge, which gives them easy access to their favorite fish, the gizzard shad. Many of them can be spotted perched in tree branches around the plant. They fly over nearby Lake Erie and catch the fish in the plant’s spillway. “It’s a fantastic sight,” said Skiles Boyd of DTE. “You never get to see that kind of thing anywhere else in those kinds of numbers.” — Read it from the AP via the Washington Post

Calico Cats Could Help Cure Human Obesity

The colorful coats on the black, white and orange cats comes from their unique chromosomal structure, according to new research. They have an orange fur color gene on one of their X chromosomes and a black fur color gene on the other, and the random silencing of one of the X’s in each cell creates their patchwork coats. Scientists think that uncovering how only one X chromosome is turned off will “help answer other questions such as if and how traits like obesity can be passed down through generations,” said Elizabeth Smith of the University of California San Francisco. Body fat distribution has been associated with X chromosomes, so the scientists are hopeful that this research, which is in its infancy, could help control inherited tendencies toward obesity. — Read it at Discovery News

Keepers at the London Zoo are hand raising a Humboldt penguin who was born "completely out of season."
Keepers at the London Zoo are hand raising a Humboldt penguin who was born "completely out of season."

Early Penguin Chick Thriving

The London Zoo loves its new baby Humboldt penguin, but keepers there are the first to say the chick is a bit of a prima donna. The little guy arrived two months earlier than usual for the species because his mom and dad were confused by the mild winter weather. The penguins are normally just laying their eggs now, but this chick’s young mom laid an egg on Christmas Eve and it hatched on Feb. 2. The zoo decided to hand-rear him to give him the best chance at surviving and thriving. “He’s a noisy and quite demanding chick and definitely makes sure we know it’s feeding time, squawking loudly at us for fish,” said Vicky Fyson, a keeper who fills the role of surrogate mom for the chick. “But the best noise is the satisfied squeaks when its tummy is full.” — Read it at the U.K.’s Metro

Sochi’s Polar Bear Mascot Has a Tough Day

Wednesday was a disappointing day for Russian Olympic fans, and the Games’ most visible mascot let it show. The Polar Bear was photographed with his big head in his paws after the powerhouse Russian men’s hockey team was eliminated from the playoffs in Sochi by Finland. On top of that, the country’s 15-year-old darling figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya’s hopes for a Gold medal were dashed when she had a nasty fall during her short program on the same day. The picture of the distraught bear was Tweeted by Sochi 2014 yesterday. “‪#Sochi2014 Bear is inconsolable after Russia's loss to Finland in the ‪#IceHockey... :-(“ — See photo at NBC Sports


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