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April 10, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Ranger, an 80-pound Great Dane and Mastiff mix, was hiking with his owner near Butte Creek Falls in Oregon on Tuesday afternoon when he fell over a 230-foot cliff. Ranger’s owner found him the next day at the bottom of a rocky outcropping. The Oregon Humane Society’s volunteer rescue team drove nearly two hours from Portland and hiked a mile to the scene to help the stranded dog. A member of the rescue team rappelled down the cliff by rope to reach Ranger, who was alert and friendly despite suffering a broken leg. The dog and his rescuer were hoisted in a rescue basket to the top of the cliff, where Ranger was reunited with his owner. "I just really appreciate that help, all volunteer," said owner David Burrell. — Watch it at Oregon’s KATU
An extensive genetic analysis has revealed “extremely high levels of inbreeding” in critically endangered mountain gorillas. Researchers said the gorillas were inheriting identical segments from both parents in about a third of their genome. Still, the scientists also found reasons to be optimistic about the apes’ future. "We have shown that although low in genetic diversity they have not yet crossed any genetic threshold of no return. They can continue to survive and will return to larger numbers if we help them," said Aylwyn Scally, a geneticist at the University of Cambridge. There are only about 880 mountain gorillas left in the Virunga volcanic mountain range. "While comparable levels of inbreeding contributed to the extinction of our relatives the Neanderthals, mountain gorillas may be more resilient," said Copenhagen Zoo geneticist Christina Hvilsom. — Read it at Reuters
A new study is offering hope that bacteria that grow naturally on the skin of some bats could become a weapon against white-nose syndrome, the deadly fungus that’s wiped out more than 90 percent of bat populations in some regions. Scientists from the University of California, Santa Cruz, found that six of the bacteria they isolated were able to significantly inhibit the growth of the fungus in petri dishes. "What's promising is that the bacteria that can inhibit the fungus naturally occur on the skin of bats," said graduate student Joseph Hoyt, the study’s leader. "These bacteria may just be at too low a level to have an effect on the disease, but augmenting them to higher abundances may provide a beneficial effect." The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Discovery News
A video shared on YouTube shows the touching reunion of an elephant and her mother at Thailand’s Elephant Nature Park. MeBai was just 3 ½ years old when she was separated from her mother and sold to an elephant riding service for tourists. But because she was too young, she started losing weight and couldn’t do the work. She’s now been retired and is being rehabilitated at the sanctuary through its “Pamper a Pachyderm” program. The sanctuary’s founder, Lek Chailert, tracked down MeBai’s mom, Mae Yui, who was working at another trekking service located nearby. The service agreed to retire Mae Yui, and she had a sweet reunion with her daughter. Mother and daughter will be rehabilitated together at the Elephant Nature Park with the hope of returning them to the wild. — Watch it at YouTube
In April 2014, Dash, a Cane Corso mix, was rescued by police in New York. Now 4 years old, Dash has spent the last year in the care of the ASPCA and has become a staff favorite. He’s currently being fostered by ASPCA veterinarian Dr. Jasmine Bruno, and the group is spotlighting him this week as it tries to find him a forever home. “Dash is an incredible dog who I would say is the perfect definition of a ‘gentle giant,’” says Dr. Bruno. “All he wants is a companion that will give him the same amount of affection that he gives non-stop. His perfect day at home would consist of spending time sleeping on his favorite pillow, gnawing on his bully sticks, going for nice long walks in the park and playing with his rope toy.” According to Dash’s profile page, he would do best with an experienced adopter. — Read it from the ASPCA
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