Pet Scoop: D.C. Howler Monkey Needs a Name, Ann Romney’s Horse Heads for the Olympics

June 19, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

The National Zoo wants your help to name its adorable 3-month-old howler monkey.
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The National Zoo wants your help in naming this adorable howler monkey.

Name That Baby Howler Monkey

There's a noisy little addition to the National Zoo’s small mammal house: a nearly 3-month-old black howler monkey — and he needs a name. (The growl of an adult male can resonate through three miles of dense forest!) Like all black howler monkeys, this guy was born blonde, but his fur will start to turn black around his first birthday. The zoo has come up with four possibilities for a name: Sumaq, Orejas, Nando and Loki. Fans can now vote for their favorite pick on Facebook. — See the monkey in action on YouTube

Are Coyotes Behind an Uptick in Lyme Disease?

Deer have long taken the blame for the spread of Lyme disease, but a new study conducted by ecologist Taal Levi at the University of California, Santa Cruz highlights a different culprit: coyotes. The study found that the risk of the disease drops in regions where foxes are thriving. But once coyotes move in, and the number of foxes declines, Lyme disease flourishes. The reason? Foxes cull small animal populations — critters who are believed to be responsible for the bulk of infectious ticks.  — Read it at Discovery News

Cats Cuddle a Baby Robin

In most cases, a baby robin should stay far away from a cat. But two kitties in Michigan have taken to a little robin who their owner, Karin Caston, found in her yard two weeks ago — letting the baby bird nestle in their fur. One cat even allows the robin to walk around on the feline's back. Caston says that she keeps the bird in a cage, but she plans to release it at a nearby park. (Read about why you should think twice about rescuing baby wildlife.) — See the photo at AP via the Washington Post

Ann Romney cheers on her dressage horse, Rafalca.
Ann Romney cheers on her dressage horse, Rafalca.

Ann Romney’s Horse Qualifies for the London Olympics

Rafalca, a 15-year-old horse co-owned by Ann Romney, will compete in the Olympics this summer. “It’s great to be part of the Olympics again,” Romney tweeted after Rafalca qualified for the dressage competition over the weekend. “Now let’s bring home the gold!”

Romney got involved with dressage, in which horses are trained to respond to the slightest of gestures, as a form of therapy for her multiple sclerosis. “She's convinced [dressage helped] her regenerate her strength and renew that vigor,” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said. — Read it at MSNBC

Plus: It’s definitely a special delivery! A group of 10 U.S. Olympic horses flew to London on an overnight FedEx flight. — Read it at the AP via MSNBC

Lupo Gets a Kiss From His Dad, Prince William

In more news from across the pond, royal pup Lupo attended a charity polo match in the English countryside with his dad, Prince William, who gave the black Cocker Spaniel a big hug and a kiss from the prince. — See the photos at People Pets

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