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April 28, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Adam Walker was on a 16-mile swim for charity in the strong currents of New Zealand’s Cook Strait last week when he spotted a great white shark swimming in the waters below him. He quickly got help, though, from a pod of 10 dolphins who surrounded him and swam with him for an hour until the shark left. The next day, he posted pictures of the dolphins on Facebook, writing, "I'd like to think they were protecting me and guiding me home!!!" Walker, who’s British, is one swim away from completing the Ocean's Seven challenge, a set of long-distance swims across Cook Strait as well as the English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Molokai Channel, Catalina Channel, Tsugaru Channel and the North Channel. Walker finished the difficult swim in 8 hours and 36 minutes, raising money for the non-profit group Whale and Dolphin Conservation. — See video at the Huffington Post
The iconic seabirds with bright blue feet have seen their population drop by more than 50 percent in the last 20 years in the Galapagos Islands, according to a new study. The researchers said that a lack of sardines, the birds’ main food source, may be the reason for the decline. "Until 1997, there were literally thousands of boobies at these breeding sites, and hundreds of nests full of hatching chicks," said study author Dave Anderson of Wake Forest University. "Then, suddenly, the boobies just weren't there." They found that the birds went through long periods where they didn’t breed, and if they did, most didn’t produce offspring. Previous research has found that the birds breed only during times when their diets are made up of almost exclusively sardines, but the new study found that sardines made up less than half of the boobies’ diet. Their findings suggest that the birds might be getting enough sardines to survive but not enough to breed. The reasons for the sardine shortage remain unexplained. The study was published in the journal Avian Conservation and Ecology. — Read it at Discovery News
The number of gray wolves in Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park has fallen to just nine as of February. Only three pups were born last year, and the animals’ decline is being blamed on inbreeding that’s led to little genetic diversity and skeletal deformities. With temperatures steadily increasing in the area, an ice bridge no longer forms every year connecting Isle Royale with the mainland in Ontario, which led to the inbreeding. Now, experts are arguing over whether to intervene to help the wolves. While the National Park Service said it won’t bring any new wolves to the island, some scientists disagree with the notion of letting nature take its course. Others agree with the park's decision arguing that the wolves on the island have always been inbred and should remain so. — Read it at National Geographic
The Westminster Kennel Club said on Friday that the wirehaired Vizsla and the Coton de Tulear would be eligible to compete in its prestigious dog show for the first time next year. The wirehaired Vizla, part of the Sporting Group, is a Hungarian hunting dog known as the "royal dog of Madagascar," and the Coton de Tulear, in the Non-Sporting Group, is a small companion dog with a long white coat. The breeds were added to the show after they were recognized by the American Kennel Club. "While they differ in exercise and grooming needs, both are sweet, loyal, loving family companions," said Gina DiNardo, a spokeswoman for the AKC. — Read it from AP via ABC News
The royal family may have had a wonderful time on their three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia, but there’s one absent member who they dearly missed: their dog, Lupo. “Nobody knows how much I’m missing my own dog… I really miss him,” the Duchess said as she accepted a plush dog toy that a little girl gave her as a gift for Lupo, at the end of their vacation. The black Cocker Spaniel made headlines before the family left on their trip, when he appeared in a rare family photo taken in the window of their Kensington Palace apartment, as Prince George looked at him lovingly. — Read it at US Weekly
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