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Jan. 5, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Just before Christmas, a friend of 16-year-old Anthony’s family started an event on Facebook, asking people to send in photos of their dogs to make the teen smile. Anthony has been receiving in-patient chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. He gets visits from therapy dogs on certain days, but Roberta Lucero-Koron, who started the event, thought the photos would be a way to help Anthony on the days when he doesn’t get a dog visit. Posters submit a photo of their dog — and the occasional cat — and tell him where they’re from. The idea went viral and on Sunday, Lucero-Koron wrote that more than half a million photos have been posted. They’re still pouring in from all over the U.S. and as far away as Australia and Dubai. A soldier posted this photo from Afghanistan of his military working dog Lion, along with well wishes for Anthony. Mom Kristen Lyons shows Anthony the photos in his hospital room. “One thing I have to say is, make yourself smile too by looking at these beautiful animals that God gave us,” wrote Lucero-Koron Sunday. I can't stop crying from tears of happiness.” — See Photo Doggies for Anthony
Scientists are trying to determine why there have been mass die-offs of Cassin's aucklets on the Pacific Coast from British Columbia to San Luis Obispo, California, since October. "To be this lengthy and geographically widespread, I think is kind of unprecedented," said Phillip Johnson, executive director of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition. "It's an interesting and somewhat mysterious event." Experts have several theories on why the birds appear to be starving to death, including that there are too many young birds competing for food; storms are pushing them into unfamiliar areas where it’s harder to find food; or that the warmer ocean is affecting their food supply. — Read it from AP via Yahoo
A new study finds that the 2.8-inch clams with shiny silica spheres on their lips have the ability to reflect light to intimidate predators and attract light-loving prey. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, placed disco clams in an aquarium and used a floating Styrofoam lid to mimic a predator, which was “very scary” for the clams. With the lid nearby, their flash rate jumped from 1.5 times a second to 2.5 times a second. Researchers believe the clams then back up their light warning with sulfuric acid to keep predators away. Their findings, which haven’t yet been published, were presented at the annual conference of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Florida Sunday. — Read it at Live Science
On New Year’s Day, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin posted a photo on social media of her son, Trig, standing on the back of their black Labrador, and writing, in part, "May 2015 see every stumbling block turned into a stepping stone on the path forward.” The dog, Jill Hadassah, joined the family in August after she was trained to be a buddy for Trig, 6, who has Down Syndrome. While many fans liked the photo, there was a backlash from animal lovers and PETA. "It's odd that anyone — let alone a mother — would find it appropriate to post such a thing, with no apparent sympathy for the dog in the photo," said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in a statement to Politico. Palin then lashed out at PETA, saying, “Chill. At least Trig didn’t eat the dog,” in reference to President Obama’s admission in his book “Dreams From My Father” that he ate dog meat as a child in Indonesia. "PETA simply believes that people shouldn't step on dogs, and judging by the reaction that we've seen to Sarah Palin's Instagram photo, we're far from alone in that belief,” Newkirk told AL.com. — Read it at Alabama’s AL.com
On their way to a restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona, Friday, A.J. Michaels and Susan Simpson’s vehicle hit a small animal at 40 mph. They didn’t see anything, but after they parked, Michaels found a wild bobcat stuck in the grill of his Mazda sedan. They heard it moving around and called the police, who turned to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for help. The bobcat appeared uninjured and officials took it to a rehabilitation center for an evaluation. If the animal, who was nicknamed Bobbi, is healthy, it will be released back into the wild, outside of the city limits. — Read it at The Arizona Republic
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