Pet Scoop: Commuting Cat Boards London Tube, U.S. Crushes Six Tons of Ivory

Nov. 15, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

An animal shelter volunteer rescued Oyster when she found him on the tube in London.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
An animal shelter volunteer rescued Oyster when she found him on the tube in London.

Stray Surprises Subway Passengers

One furry Londoner seemed to know where to go to find help. The orange tabby, who rescuers have named Oyster, boarded the city’s subway on the Victoria Line and snagged a seat during the morning rush hour last Friday, surprising his fellow passengers. Luckily for the stray cat, one of those passengers was a volunteer headed to the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home — and she was able to coax him into an empty cat carrier that she had with her. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Oyster sitting on a seat on the tube, and I thought at first he was a teddy bear. Everyone around him was just staring like they’d never seen a cat before,” said Paige Jokovic. “We both took the tube to Vauxhall and I’m very pleased I was there to help him get off the tube, minding the gap, and escort him to Battersea.” The staff there describes Oyster as a “healthy, happy boy.” If no one comes forward to claim him, the rescue will put him up for adoption. — Read it from the U.K.’s Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

First Domesticated Dogs May Have Been in Europe

A new theory on the origins of domesticated dogs is challenging past research that showed it started in Asia or the Middle East and was linked to the rise of agriculture. New findings published in the journal Science show that man’s best friend may have started off as European gray wolves. The researchers used DNA analysis and determined that modern dogs most closely resembled ancient European wolves that are now extinct. They theorize that hunter-gatherers let the wolves feed from animal carcasses, and the wolves, in exchange, would protect the humans from predators, or help with their hunt. — Read it at National Geographic

U.S. Destroys Huge Ivory Stockpile

Sending a clear message that it would not tolerate ivory trade, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crushed the six tons of ivory jewelry, carvings and tusks in a star-studded event in Colorado on Thursday. The items had been collected over the last 25 years through smuggling busts and border confiscations. Poachers kill an estimated 30,000 African elephants for the their tusks each year, even though international ivory trade was banned in 1989. The event featured speakers including actresses Kristin Bauer of True Blood and Kristin Davis of Sex and the City. "Some argue that the seized ivory should be sold to alleviate the demand for ivory," Dan Ashe, director of the FWS, wrote in a blog post. "Decades of experience shows that allowing ivory to enter legal trade only makes enforcement harder, by giving traffickers ways to disguise sources of poached ivory." — Read it at Live Science

A concerned homeowner called Florida Fish and Wildlife officers when she spotted a lethargic loggerhead sea turtle.
A concerned homeowner called Florida Fish and Wildlife officers when she spotted a lethargic loggerhead sea turtle.

Loggerhead Rescued From Canal

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers got a call recently from a Miami homeowner that there was an endangered loggerhead sea turtle in distress in a canal behind her home. Officer Dionis Delgado, who was on water patrol, was dispatched to the scene, where he was met by public information Officer Jorge Pino. They used a pole to guide the turtle toward the boat, and they were able to pull her safely aboard. After discovering that she was missing a right front flipper and had a cracked shell, the officers were instructed to bring her to the Miami Seaquarium for help. Before they departed, the homeowner brought out a towel for the turtle and a bucket so that the officers could pour water on her to make her more comfortable during their 20-minute boat ride to the Seaquarium. “The initial assessment is that the turtle should survive,” the agency said in a Facebook post. “We did everything we could to save her. We are very grateful that the homeowner reported the injured turtle to our agency so we could get her the help she needed to survive.” — See more photos from MyFWC on Facebook

‘Hunger Games’ Cat Gets Recast

One important character from 2012’s The Hunger Games didn’t quite meet the expectations of fans of the book. The much-loved cat who belongs to heroine Katniss Everdeen’s younger sister, Prim, is described in the book as having a yellow coat that was the inspiration for his name, Buttercup. But in the movie, the cat who played Buttercup was black and white. The casting change for the second movie, Catching Fire, which hits theaters on Nov. 22, "was a request from Nina [Jacobson] the producer and Suzanne [Collins] the author," said director Francis Lawrence. "They thought the cat from the first movie was not the way he was described in the book. And that had annoyed a bunch of fans, and things like that." — Read it at People Pets


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