Pet Scoop: Gorilla Reacts to Kids’ Taunts in Video, New Hope for Deadly Cat Disease

June 27, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

The Dallas Zoo's gorilla gave his young visitors a taste of their own medicine.

Gorilla Gets the Last Word

After being taunted through the glass at the Dallas Zoo by a group of schoolchildren who called him ugly, this gorilla decided to show them who’s boss. He slapped his hands up against the glass, catching them by surprise. Video of their interaction quickly went viral and now the zoo wants to make it clear that B’Wenzi’s actions were playful, not aggressive. In a statement released on Wednesday, the officials noted that the gorillas in the exhibit have lots of space where they can go to avoid the windows if they want to, and it’s not uncommon for them to interact with visitors this way. “This is normal, well-adjusted behavior for a teenager,” said Dr. Lynn Kramer, vice president of animal operations for the Dallas Zoo. “They do this for one reason, and that’s to get a reaction.” The zoo did, however, point out that the best way for guests to enjoy the zoo is to show the animals respect, rather than heckling them or banging on the glass. — Watch the video at Buzzfeed

Plus: In more serious primate news, the federal government announced Wednesday that the National Institutes of Health would retire most of its research chimps. The NIH has been phasing out research on chimps over the last two years, but still keeps about 400 of the animals in labs around the country. All but 50 of them will be moved to sanctuaries in the next few months. The move comes two weeks after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal to list captive chimps as endangered species, giving them the same protections as their wild cousins. — Read it at the Washington Post

Discovery Gives Hope for Deadly Feline Virus

Scientists at Cornell University say they’ve had a major breakthrough in understanding the most deadly infectious disease in cats. Researchers uncovered the mutation that turns feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) fatal. “FIP is a tragic disease for families falling in love with new kittens and for veterinarians who can do nothing to stop it,” said Gary Whittaker, virology professor at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Whittaker and his team determined how the benign intestinal virus FECV mutates into FIP. Their “pivotal” discovery may lead to treatment and vaccines for FIP, which can kill cats and kittens within weeks. The study will be published next month in the journal Emerging Infectious Disease. — Read it from Cornell

Sacramento firefighter Nick Mack is lowered into a storm drain to save a trapped dog.

Dog Rescued From Storm Drain

Firefighters in Sacramento, Calif., came to the rescue of an abused dog who had been restrained and forced into a deep storm drain on Sunday. The rescue team first put ventilation equipment in place to improve the dog’s air quality while they worked to lower firefighter Nick Mack 15 feet to the bottom. He then crawled to reach the pooch, free him and bring him to the surface. “We all have dogs and we all love dogs,” said Metro Fire Battalion Chief Maurice Johnson, in a statement. “We are just glad to be able to give this guy a second chance.” The dog is now being cared for by Sacramento County Animal Control, and police are investigating. — Read it at the Sacramento Bee

Wild Black Bear Visits the Zoo

Earlier this week, Rusty the red panda made headlines by breaking out of his enclosure at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Over in Tennessee, a curious black bear was spotted trying to break into the Knoxville Zoo. It was late Monday night when the wild bear scaled a 10-foot barbed wire fence to get inside the zoo. A ranger alerted the rest of the zoo staff, who searched the 53-acre zoo for the guest, but couldn’t find him. They believe he likely headed back into the woods shortly after his arrival. "Of course, our first concern is to ensure the safety of our visitors and animals. We are also concerned about the welfare of our wandering bear,” said the zoo's executive director, Lisa New. "Of course, our Black Bear Falls is one of the top habitats in the country, so maybe word has gotten out in the black bear community." — Read it at Paw Nation

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