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Dec. 3, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Violetia Mullins and her three children were traveling from California to Texas on Nov. 21 to visit family for Thanksgiving. When they stopped near Tucson, Arizona, the family’s 4-month-old Lemon Beagle, Mocha, got off her leash and disappeared. The Mullins recruited the help of firefighters from the Northwest Fire District’s Engine 336 to help them find their pup. During their search, the firefighters learned that Mullins’ husband, a Marine sergeant, had been killed last November. The crew told the family to continue their journey and resolved to find Mocha for them. They made flyers, spoke to residents and took to social media to make sure everyone was looking for Mocha — and they found her on Sunday at the Pima Animal Care Center. On Monday, the firefighters reunited the relieved and grateful family with Mocha on their return trip to California. “You know it had to be a horrible sight to see … a lost dog with three children crying and the mom trying to keep it together,” said Mullins. “It was a horrible experience and I’m just so happy that it had a happy ending.” — Watch it at Arizona’s KGUN9
A new study finds that male Galápagos sea lions are mama’s boys. They consume more milk from their moms and stay closer to home than sea lion daughters. The young females dive for their food much more often than their male counterparts, who only venture out to sea on occasion, despite the fact that they can dive to the same depths as the females. "It's amazing. You can see an animal — 40 kilograms [88 pounds] — just resting, waiting for mom,” said lead author Paolo Piedrahita, a Ph.D. student at Bielefeld University in Germany. The researchers said that by investing in making their sons large and dominant, mother sea lions may be more likely to have more grandpups. While their daughters are likely to have one pup a year, sons could sire up to four pups in a year. The study was published in the journal Animal Behaviour. — Read it at National Geographic
In July, we told you the emotional story of Raju, a 50-year-old male elephant in India who’d been kept in chains until he was rescued with a court order by the British charity Wildlife SOS. Some volunteers said Raju cried as he was freed from his shackles. The elephant has slowly been recovering, but in September, his original owners argued before a court that he was their rightful property and should be returned to them. But now there’s good news for Raju: the court has ordered him to stay with Wildlife SOS. "We are beyond overjoyed that Raju is finally saved,” said the Wildlife SOS founder Kartick Satyanarayan, according to the U.K.’s Independent. "This is a huge victory, not only for Raju, but for every elephant suffering in pain silently.” — Read it at Discovery News
The Shedd Aquarium wants your help with choosing a name for sea otter Pup 681. The adorable orphan made headlines last month when she was transferred to the Shedd in Chicago from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. She was only about 1 week old when she was found on Sept. 30 on a California beach and can’t be released. Pup 681 has already doubled in size since her arrival in Chicago, and she’s ready for a name. The public can vote on five names chosen by the Shedd’s staff. The choices each have a connection to the place where the pup was found and include Cali, Ellie, Luna, Poppy and Aña or Anya. Voting will close on Dec. 11, and the pup’s name will be revealed on Dec. 12. — Vote at ABC’s Good Morning America
Wisdom, a Laysan albatross who was banded in 1956 at an estimated age of 5, is believed to be the world’s oldest living banded wild bird. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Region reports that she’s survived another year at sea and has returned to the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge on the far northern end of the Hawaiian archipelago. Laysan albatrosses mate for life, and Wisdom’s partner was spotted waiting for her within a few feet of their former nest site on Nov. 19. Wisdom was spotted at the site on Nov. 22. A breeding albatross lays one egg per year, and Wisdom is believed to have raised between 30 and 35 chicks in her lifetime. — Read it at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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