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2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal
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Capt. Tom Langevin of the
Waterboro Fire Department in Maine is known as Dr. Doolittle for his way with animals. So, when the department got a call at 8 a.m. Wednesday about a wayward
Golden Retriever who’d wandered 100 feet onto thin ice on Little Ossipee Lake and fell through, he and other officials hurried to the scene. “Being the animal lover he is, [Langevin] hustled into an ice water suit and headed right in,” the department said on its
Facebook page. He lifted Dakota onto solid ice, and the
dog walked back to shore. Langevin was reeled back in with the line tethers. The rescue was over within minutes, and the dog’s owner reports Dakota spent an hour warming up in front of a woodstove. Fire Chief Matthew Bors reminded everyone that in many places, the ice on lakes and ponds isn’t yet safe enough to walk on. — Read it at Maine’s
Portland Press Herald and see
tips for ice safety
Wildlife experts say giraffe populations are dropping drastically across Africa due to poaching and habitat loss, and it’s gone largely unnoticed. There has been a 40 percent drop in the giraffe population in the last 15 years, according to the Namibian-based
Giraffe Conservation Research, which is conducting the first comprehensive assessment on giraffes to be published next year. “It’s a silent extinction,” said Dr. Julian Fennessy, the group’s executive director. “The numbers have gone down from 140,000 to fewer than 80,000 today.” Fennessy said there’s a widespread belief that the animals are everywhere, due to a lack of accurate data. — Read it at
A new study finds that the distribution of the koala population in Australia may be influenced by the quality of eucalyptus leaves. The marsupials’ population density varies widely among Australia’s eucalyptus forests. Researchers in this study sampled leaves from eight species of eucalyptus trees and determined the koalas’ visitation using the animals’ fecal pellets at the base of the tree. They found the koalas visited trees with leaves that had higher available nitrogen, which is used by their bodies to make proteins. They avoided trees with higher leaf concentrations of a toxic chemical found exclusively in eucalyptus. The researchers suggest that plant diversity is likely important when koalas are foraging in habitats with low nutritional quality. It provides a range of nutritional quality and minimizes the need to move to forests with higher quality leaves. The study was published in the journal
PLOS ONE. — Read it at
Bec Russell-Cook, a keeper at Australia’s Taronga
Zoo, has been caring for a 6-month-old Quokka joey around the clock while
she helps her with the weaning process. “She’s quite the little climber,” says
Russell-Cook of the joey, who she named Meeuk Mia. “She loves climbing on the
other keepers’ shoulders and heads during morning tea and I even woke up one
night to find her looking at me from atop a mountain of pillows next to my bed.”
Quokkas are one of the smallest wallaby species in Australia. The keeper will
continue to care for Mia until she’s old enough to join the zoo’s other
hand-raised Quokkas at its education center. — See more photos at Buzzfeed
The Oregon Zoo’s brother and
sister polar bear twins, Conrad and Tasul, celebrated their 30th
birthday Monday — and it could make them the oldest polar bears in the world,
their keeper said. "The
median life expectancy for polar bears is 20.7 years for males and 24.2 years
for females, so 30 is considered quite elderly for both of them," said keeper
Nicole Nicassio-Hiskey. "You'd never know it to look at these two
though — they're still very playful, especially in cooler weather. Our staff
works hard to keep them healthy, active and engaged." They were born at
the Riverbanks Zoo in South Carolina in
1984 and moved to Oregon in 1986. The siblings celebrated with birthday treats
including cream cheese and opened gifts of enrichment items. — Read it
at Oregon’s KGW
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