Pet Scoop: Elephant Freed After 50 Years in Chains, Britain Hopes for Panda Cub

July 9, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Raju the rescued elephant takes his first steps to freedom on July 4.
Raju the rescued elephant takes his first steps to freedom on July 4.

Elephant Saved in India

Raju, a 50-year-old male elephant, lived his whole life in chains in India and got very little food. He was used to help his owner beg for money. Wildlife SOS, a non-profit that helps protect wild animals, worked for a year to get the necessary paperwork to rescue and rehabilitate Raju. On July 3, a 10-member rescue team, including a wildlife veterinarian, keepers and a biologist, arrived to free the elephant. After gaining his trust, they removed the spiked chains from his legs and loaded him into a 10-wheel truck for the 16-hour journey to his new home. Some volunteers said Raju cried as he was freed from his shackles. He took his first steps to freedom on July 4. “The next six months with Raju
 will be very challenging due to his past history of cruelty that was inflicted 
on him,” said Dr. Yaduraj Khadpekar, the vet who led the rescue. “We are confident that he will soon recover and have a healthy and happy 
life ahead — something that he deserved a long time ago!” — Read it from Wildlife SOS

Antibody Treatment Developed for Canine Cancer

Austrian scientists have adapted immunotherapy, which has been used to treat human cancers for about 20 years, for use in dogs. Using mouse antibodies, the researchers had success targeting canine cancer cells. They were able slow the growth of some canine cancers and destroy others. It’s the first time cancer immunotherapy has been pursued in dogs, although they can receive chemotherapy. The study was published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. — Read it at Popular Science

Study: Seahorses Growl When Angry

Tiny seahorses might look pleasant, but high-tech recording equipment has revealed that they growl when handled by researchers. The Brazilian researchers suspect that the seahorses make this sound when a predator holds on to them in the wild. “Seahorses are frequently grabbed and held by predators, such as frogfish, before being swallowed,” the scientists wrote. “Growls were accompanied by body vibrations and may constitute an additional escape mechanism in seahorses, which might startle predators.”  The study was published in  Journal of Zoology. — Read it at Discovery News
 

Shelter dogs from the South are being trained as police K9s.
Shelter dogs from the South are being trained as police K9s.

Shelter Dogs Trained for Police

Purebred K9s trained in Europe can cost police departments several thousand dollars. But with a mostly military trained staff, Universal K9 is showing that shelter dogs who would have been put down can be trained to be successful police dogs. Brad Croft and his staff have rescued 60 dogs from shelters across the South so far this year and trained them in drug and explosives detection, scent tracking and other types of police work. The fully trained dogs are then given to local police departments free of charge. — Watch it at ABC News

Scottish Zoo on Panda Watch

The Edinburgh Zoo says its giant panda, Tian Tian, has conceived but warned panda cub watchers “not to get too excited.” It will be another 20 to 30 days before the zoo can confirm a pregnancy. "It is still way too early to make any definitive predictions. Tests do indicate that Tian Tian has conceived, but not that she is pregnant. Pandas practice delayed implantation, so at this stage the embryo is still in diapause, or rest, so technically pregnancy has not happened yet,” said Iain Valentine of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. Tian Tian and her mate, Yang Guang, arrived in Scotland in 2011, becoming Britain’s first panda residents in nearly 20 years. If Tian Tian is pregnant, she’d be expected to give birth in late August. — Read it from the U.K.’s Guardian


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