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Feb. 5, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Four orphaned bear cubs, who weighed less than 2 pounds each and hadn’t opened their eyes yet, were saved from a forest in Russia. People who were out for a walk in the forest said they unintentionally frightened the cubs’ mother from her winter den. The people then saw the cubs huddled inside, and brought the then 2-week-old babies to an area veterinarian, who delivered them to the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Orphaned Bear Rehabilitation Center. The IFAW’s regional director Dr. Maria Vorontsova explains that, “if a mother bear is scared from the den in the winter, she will never return.” That’s because the den is destroyed when she rushes from it. “The cubs … will freeze quickly in the den, if humans do not intervene,” she writes. The cubs drink from a bottle every three to four hours, and are kept warm by a heating pad meant to imitate their mom’s warm belly. The IFAW’s center hopes to release them back into the wild once they’ve been rehabilitated. — Read it and see photos from the IFAW
Elsewhere in Russia, the news isn’t quite as positive. The nation’s Olympic city, Sochi, has been plagued by problems with preparation for the Games. Now the city is facing accusations that it’s culling and putting down stray dogs, much to the dismay of residents, international visitors and fans of the Olympics. Local residents say thousands of dogs have disappeared from the streets since a company won a contract to catch them before the opening of the Games on Friday. But Olympic organizers have been reluctant to discuss their fate. Animal activists say the animals have been killed, but Games spokeswoman Alexandra Kosterina says, "There is a service that catches the dogs and the city authorities handle this. The city has a special shelter for them.” — Read it from NBC News
Greater the flamingo, who was born during the Depression, died on Jan. 31 after spending all but two of its 83 years living at the Adelaide Zoo in Australia. Greater’s health had declined significantly due to complications of old age since last April. The bird, whose gender was unknown, was named for its species, the Greater Flamingo. It was the last of its kind in Australia, and had become a zoo icon. The zoo is now considering what kind of memorial to create near the flamingo pond in Greater’s honor. — Read it at the Huffington Post
Even the president gets down on his hands and knees to play with his pups. This week, the White House Tweeted this adorable photo of President Obama playing with Portuguese Water Dog Sunny, while first lady Michelle Obama and big bother Bo look on, with the caption, “Blue Room belly rub.” The dogs have had a busy week, including a cameo on Sunday’s Puppy Bowl X. A clip during the broadcast showed them training some of the rookie rescue dogs on the White House lawn. — See it on Twitter
White lioness Azira, who’s 2 ½ years old, has been patiently feeding and caring for her three cubs at a private zoo in Poland. "Luckily the birth went all smoothly," said the zoo’s owner, Andrzej Pabich. "We had doubts whether it would be all OK: won't (she) reject them, will she have milk? But all went luckily well in the end. The mother accepted (the cubs), is feeding them and is very caring." The cubs’ dad, 3 ½-year old Sahim, who is also white, is kept in a neighboring cage and has been protective of his week-old cubs. The white lion is a rare mutation of the Kruger subspecies of African lion. — Read it and see photos from the AP via Yahoo
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