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Nov. 20, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Robert Promisel and his wife drove 30 miles from Westchester, New York, to Manhattan in the bitter cold Tuesday. When they pulled into a parking garage, the parking attendant thought he heard meowing but couldn’t locate it. Later that afternoon, when they got their car and left the garage, they heard the meowing, too, and pulled over on a busy street on the Upper East Side. They opened the hood and realized the sound was coming from the engine block. Knowing they were just a few blocks from the ASPCA’s Cat Adoption Center, they contacted the staff there for help. After two hours of work, a stowaway kitten was safely freed. The ASPCA says the cat was in the engine compartment for the whole ride from Westchester. “This here is little Miracle. Her name is Miracle because today we saved her life,” says the ASPCA’s Gail Buchwald in a video about the incident. “What a lot of folks don’t know is that cats and kittens all across the country in the cold weather seek refuge from the cold by entering a parked car’s engine.” The kitten is about 3 months old and other than being very dirty, she is medically OK, according to the ASPCA. After a full exam and being spayed, she will be put up for adoption. — Watch it on Vimeo
Researchers kept house mice in captivity for three generations before releasing them into a “semi-naturalistic” enclosure with mice that had recently been caught in the wild. After 20 weeks, they took genetic samples of the mice’s offspring and found that the majority had mated with their own kind — captive mice with other captive mice and wild mice with other wild mice. "Only 17 percent of offspring were produced from mixed-source pairings," said research team member Dr. Michael Magrath, a senior scientist at Zoos Victoria in Australia. If the same is true of other species, it could mean that releasing captive-bred threatened species into the wild may not be as effective at increasing the genetic diversity of wild populations as previously believed, the researchers said. The study was published in the journal Biology Letters. — Read it at Discovery News
Starfish wasting syndrome is a devastating disease that leads to tissue decay and death for the iconic sea creatures. It’s affected starfish for decades, but the cause has been unknown. Scientists have linked the disease to the waterborne densovirus, which currently affects at least 20 species of starfish on the Pacific coast of North America. Scientists long believed that outbreaks of the disease could be linked to environmental stressors, but the researchers now think the virus is the underlying cause. "What convinced me that this was an infectious agent was that sea stars that had been in captivity in public aquariums for 30 years suddenly died," said Ian Hewson, an associate professor of microbiology at Cornell and lead author of the study. "There was good evidence that it was something coming in through the intake for the aquariums that wasn't being removed by the sand filtration. And [aquariums] receiving UV-treated water weren't getting sick." The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. — Read it at Live Science
Western lowland gorillas Djalta and Bimms were born at Howletts Wild Animal Park in the U.K. Conservationist Damian Aspinall and his daughter Tansy of the Aspinall Foundation helped to raise them, and reintroduced them to the wild in Gabon, West Africa, in 2003. Recently, they went looking for the gorillas, unsure whether the animals would remember them. But, they clearly did, and a video shows their interactions. Aspinall said Djalta and Bimms recognized his daughter even though she’d grown from a child to an adult after they were released, and they were more gentle in their interactions with her than they were with him. “It was fantastic to see the greeting I got,” Damian Aspinall says in the video. “I felt such love from them.” — Watch it at People Pets
Most people wait until after the holidays to go on a diet, but a cat who was recently rescued in England is starting now. Named Texas after “America’s infamously larger than life state,” the 8-year-old cat arrived at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home last month weighing in at 26 pounds. “At Battersea we take in around 3,000 cats every year, so we see cats of all shapes and sizes, but Texas is by far the biggest cat we’ve ever seen,” said the shelter’s SuiLi Weight. “Some people might think it’s funny to see a cat this big, but it is in fact extremely sad to see an animal which is suffering so badly.” Texas was brought to the shelter after his owner passed away. He’s now working on his weight-loss program at a foster home, where he has more space to move around and exercise. — Read it from the U.K.’s Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
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