Pet Scoop: Cow Gets Two Prosthetic Legs, Migrating Monarchs in “Grave Danger”

Jan. 30, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Hero the cow will soon head home to Virginia after getting prosthetic legs.
Hero the cow will soon head home to Virginia after getting prosthetic legs.

Vets Save Hero the Cow

We’re pretty sure this little cow named Hero would call his owner and veterinarians his heroes. It was last April when the cow was found in Virginia with frostbite on his two back legs and tail. Kitty Martin took him in at her all-animal rescue ranch, and called vets all over the country to see if he could be helped. Finally, she decided to make the drive with Hero to Texas A&M, where vets said they would take a look at him. Martin knew that "if they felt that it was against his quality of life that he would [be] put down … And I had no idea whether he was going to walk out of here or not, but I loved him that much to take a chance," Martin said. Doctors were able to successfully perform surgery and fit Hero with permanent prosthetic legs. Now, after months of recovery and learning to walk on his prosthetics, Hero and Martin are headed home to Selah Ranch in Virginia. — Watch it at Texas’ KAGS-TV

Migrating Monarchs’ Numbers Hit New Low

A new report shows that the area occupied by migrating monarch butterfly colonies in Mexico is at its smallest since record keeping began in 1993. The information comes from a survey of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico last month. The hibernating butterflies occupied 44 percent less land in the reserve — 1.65 acres — than they did at the same time in December 2012. "The monarch butterfly as a species is not endangered. What is endangered is its migratory phenomenon from Canada to Mexico and back,” said Omar Vidal, director general of WWF-Mexico. The World Wildlife Fund was among the groups that conducted the survey. The migrating monarchs’ numbers are dropping for several reasons, including the widespread loss of milkweed, which their young feed from, extreme climate fluctuations and deforestation. — Read it at National Geographic

Climate Change Threatens Penguin Chicks

The results of a long-term study of the world’s largest colony of Magellanic penguins, located in Argentina, found that intense storms and warmer temperatures are making life hard for the birds’ chicks. The newly hatched penguins already faced danger from predators and starvation, and now climate change is making things even more difficult. “Rainfall is killing a lot of penguins, and so is heat,” said University of Washington scientist P. Dee Boersma, who was the study’s lead author. “And those are two new causes.”  Published in the journal PLOS ONE, the study is one of the first to show a direct impact on seabirds. — Read it at The New York Times

Nurses are hand-raising an orphaned echidna puggle at the Taronga Zoo's animal hospital.
Nurses are hand-raising an orphaned echidna puggle at the Taronga Zoo's animal hospital.

Echidna Hand-Raised in Australia

An echidna puggle found orphaned on the roadside in Australia in November is beating the odds, thanks to help from a team of veterinary nurses at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital. The team has raised the shy puggle by hand, and says it is growing stronger by the day. It’s very rare to see an echidna puggle, as they normally live in their mother’s pouch for the first two to three months, and then spend up to a year in a secluded burrow. This one is now about 4 months old, and its nurses expect to be able to wean it and introduce solid foods in about three to four more months. In the next few months, the critter will be transferred to the Taronga Zoo, where it will join the echidna breeding program. — Read it from Australia’s Taronga Zoo

Behind the Scenes of “Puppy Love”

By now, chances are you’ve gotten a sneak peek at the adorable Budweiser Super Bowl commercial “Puppy Love,” where a 10-week-old yellow Labrador Retriever bonds with a Clydesdale. (If not, you can see it here.) But can you imagine what it was like to film something so cute? Maybe harder than you think. "Keeping the animals free of distraction is imperative to get them to focus on their task, so no one was allowed to pet the puppies while they were working, not even me," said actor Don Jeanes, who plays the horse trainer. "I would equate it to having a tray of warm fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies at a party, but no one is allowed to eat them. Thankfully, the trainers were kind enough to let everyone interact with the animals after they were done for the day and we all had a good pet." — Read it at People Pets

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