Pet Scoop: Gorilla Birth Surprises Zookeepers, Firefighters Rescue Kittens From Blaze

April 26, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Shinda surprised her keepers when she gave birth to her first baby on Sunday.
Shinda surprised her keepers when she gave birth to her first baby on Sunday.

Baby Makes Unexpected Arrival

Shinda’s keepers at the Prague Zoo had “given up any hope” she could have a baby after the 24-year-old western lowland gorilla suffered several miscarriages. But on Saturday afternoon, she surprised her caretakers when she finally became a mom. Her keepers thought Shinda was looking a bit overweight, but had no idea the gorilla was expecting. Luckily, the birth went smoothly and mom and baby have been doing well. “It seems that a miracle happens from time to time,” said zoo director Miroslav Bobek in a press release. “Even though it is her firstborn, she acted like an experienced mother," added curator Vit Lukas. Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered in the wild. — Read it from the AP via Fox News

Cambodia’s Royal Turtles Face Extinction

Despite efforts by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Cambodia government over the last decade, the numbers of batagur affinis turtles have plummeted — and it’s believed there are now fewer than 10 remaining. The tiny population is threatened by increased human activity in the small section of the Sre Ambel river where they still breed. "Only one nest has been located this year, compared to four nests last year. This is very worrying and if it continues it will be potentially putting the species at high risk of extinction," said a local project coordinator. The royal turtle, as the species is known, was believed to be extinct in Cambodia in 2000 before a small pocket of turtles was found in the Sre Ambel river. — Read it from AFP via Yahoo

Great Horned Owl Fosters Orphaned Owlets

Last month, four baby great horned owls lost their mother when she was illegally shot with a pellet gun by a Phoenix area resident. At only a few weeks old, the owlets were brought to Liberty Wildlife, where they’ve been cared for by Maggie, who’s an experienced foster mom. Maggie had laid infertile eggs, so rescuers switched out the eggs for the owlets, which is the routine for the group’s foster owls. “(The babies) are, of course, scared when they first get here; they don't know what's going on,” said Liberty Wildlife’s Laura Hackett. “Once they get in there with a mom who knows how to be a mom, she does the talking to them and they usually warm up pretty quickly.” Maggie has taught the owlets how to hunt, and they’ll be released back into the wild once they’re ready to survive on their own. — Read it at USA Today

FDNY Firefighter Vincent Martinelli holds two of the four kittens he saved from a Bronx apartment fire.
FDNY Firefighter Vincent Martinelli holds two of the four kittens he saved from a Bronx apartment fire.

FDNY Rescues Kittens From Fire

Firefighter Vincent Martinelli saved the lives for four young kittens while responding to a 2-alarm fire in the Bronx on Sunday. “It was smoky in the apartment, and I heard noise coming from the bay of the floorboards,” said the FDNY’s Martinelli. “It was the kittens, they were crying. I found one, and then the others. They are so young. I’m glad we were able to get them out of there.” Martinelli happily held the little rescues outside the scene on Sunday. “God Bless all the firefighters who risk their lives everyday for other people and animals too,” said one Facebook commenter. — Read it from the FDNY via Facebook

30 Ducklings Rescued in Oklahoma

Those kittens aren’t the only fuzzy rescue we have to tell you about today. In Oklahoma City, the firefighters on Engine 30 started their Monday by saving 30 ducklings from a storm drain. They worked in what looked like an assembly line: one firefighter sat in the drain with the ducklings and would pass them up to a firefighter on the ground, who placed them in a net held by another coworker, who released them in a safer spot. “Is that it? Make sure,” one of the firefighters can be heard saying on a video shared on Facebook. In the end, all the baby ducks quickly waddled off with a mama duck. — Watch it from the Oklahoma City Fire Department via Facebook


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