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May 15, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
A same-sex Humboldt penguin couple was given an abandoned egg to care for at the Wingham Wildlife Park in England. Usually, a male and female pair works together to care for their egg and the chick. In this case, the dad refused to help incubate the egg, forcing the mother to leave it, too, when she had to go and find food. In March, keepers gave the egg to Jumbs and Kermit, who were happy to care for it. It hatched April 12, and they’ve been raising their chick together. "These two have so far proven to be two of the best penguin parents we have had yet,” said park owner Tony Binskin. There have been other pairs of penguin dads to make news in the past, including a pair of male King penguins who raised a chick at a Denmark zoo. — Read it at BBC News
The discovery of the first new genus in the modern seal family in more than 140 years makes the stakes for saving the rare animals even higher, scientists say. The two living species of monk seals, the Hawaiian and the Mediterranean, are critically endangered. A third species, the Caribbean, is already extinct. But all three species were thought to belong to the same genus: Monachus — that is, until study co-author Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., used genetic material from the pelts of Caribbean seals to determine that the Caribbean species and the Hawaiian species actually belong to a separate, newly named genus, Neomonachus. That means the Hawaiian monk seal is more distantly related than previously thought to the Mediterranean monk seal, which is still part of the Monachus genus. Knowing now that "they're both the last of their own distinct lineages, it makes their uniqueness and their value all the greater," said Charles Littnan, lead scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hawaiian monk seal research program in Honolulu. The study was published in the journal ZooKeys. — Read it at National Geographic
Much like humans donate blood at Red Cross bloodmobiles, dogs in suburban Philadelphia and parts of New Jersey can now give to their fellow canines at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s traveling veterinary lab. Donor dogs have to be the correct blood type, weigh 55 pounds or more, be under the age of 8 — and be willing to lie still for the quick procedure. "If [the dog] wanted to get up and leave, he could," said Kym Marryott, manager of Penn's Animal Blood Bank. "But they're really good about it, they trust their owner." There are about 150 dogs who take part in the program, each giving 3 to 4 pints a year to help dogs suffering from cancer or recovering from traumatic accidents. — Read it from AP via the Huffington Post
Bo’s little sister is showing off her star power in a new PSA for mom Michelle Obama’s Drink Up campaign. The first lady’s new initiative encourages people to drink water. And who better to demonstrate than a Portuguese Water Dog? In the short clip, Sunny runs across the White House lawn with her big brother Bo, stopping to lap up some water from a water bowl that seems to have its own camera. Sunny arrived at the White House last summer, and has made headlines by greeting guests when tours of her home resumed in the fall — and accidentally knocking over a little girl visiting with her military family during the holidays. — Watch it at People Pets
Staff at Wildlife Safari in Oregon closely monitored the birth of a cheetah from a surveillance camera May 3. When the mom ignored the cub and didn’t attempt to clean off the birth sack, the animal care team knew they had to intervene — quickly. Cubs can only survive for a few minutes without being removed from the sack and having their airways cleaned. The staff rushed in to do this, and immediately got the baby to an incubator at the facility’s animal hospital. The cub is now doing well, taking his bottle and putting on weight. Officials at Wildlife Safari say he’ll eventually go on to become an ambassador for his species at another facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. — See photos at Zooborns
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