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Dec. 6, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Kitty Survives 24 Hours Underground
It was late at night when a woman named Cryss returned to her home in Mexico from vacation and heard the distinctive cries of a kitten. She couldn’t see anything in the dark, but when she still heard the crying in the morning, she realized that the kitten had fallen 39 feet down a PVC pipe in her neighbor’s backyard, into an underground sewage system. Cryss called Erika Flores, a veterinarian with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and together with two other rescuers and three police officers, they used a whole roll of duct tape to connect 12 broomsticks together to try to reach the kitten. Each time the kitty grabbed hold of the device, though, she fell back down the long, narrow pipe. It was a retired fisherman who lived across the street who ultimately saved the exhausted cat. He modified a fishing net and tied a cable to the broomstick, and after two tries, the 8-week-old kitten was finally pulled to freedom. The group aptly named the kitty Rapunzel, and now she has her fairy tale ending. After she recovered, IFAW partner Coco’s Cat Rescue found her a forever home. — Read it from the IFAW
Sunny Obama’s run-in with a little girl this week was purely playful and the sweet puppy gave the toddler kisses afterward. But former President George W. Bush’s daughter says her family’s White House dog wasn’t as nice. “Barney was a real jerk,” said NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager, while discussing the Sunny incident on the Today show. “He was a little temperamental … I feel bad saying that, but he didn’t like strangers.” Her disclosure was met by laughs and gasps from the Today hosts and crew. Barney, a Scottish Terrier, famously bit a reporter, and Bush Hager says he also bit one of her dad’s friends — twice. That didn’t stop the president from loving his little dog, though. He called Barney a “faithful friend” when he announced his death at age 12 in February. — Watch it at Today
A new study finds that mother lemon sharks in the Bahamas seem to recall where they were born and go back to that spot years later to have their own babies. Although this homing behavior is well known in aquatic species like salmon and sea turtles, this is the first time it’s been confirmed in sharks. Researchers tagged and released more than 2,000 baby sharks born in the lagoon of the Bimini islands, 53 miles east of Miami, in 1995. And then, they waited. “It took us nearly two decades and countless hours in the field and laboratory, but we finally answered this long-standing question and many others with this paper," said Samuel Gruber, president and director of the Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation, who started the project. The findings were published in the journal Molecular Ecology. — Read it at Live Science
Panther Thrives in Rehabilitation
It’s been a long road to recovery for a young Florida panther who was rescued in May after breaking a leg in an apparent collision with a vehicle. A Collier County homeowner called Florida Fish and Wildlife officers to report that they saw the cat dragging one of her rear legs. She had surgery to mend the break, but a month later, she reinjured it while rehabilitating at the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Fla. After a second surgery to reset her leg, she’s made big improvements. In October, she was moved from a half-acre pen to a 10-acre enclosure at White Oak. Human contact is kept to a minimum because the goal is to release the panther back into the wild, but recent trail camera photos show that the 1-year-old is very active and moving well. — See more photos from the FWC via Flickr
This week, the prestigious journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, features a kitschy piece of artwork with seven dog doctors — some who are in training — standing over an ailing canine in a hospital bed. The style pays homage to the well-known painting by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge of dogs playing poker — and that print even hangs on the hospital room wall behind the dogs. This week’s issue of the journal is focused on medical education. "While the cover is certainly whimsical, we think it's an homage of sorts to medicine," says Dr. Phil Fontanarosa, the journal’s executive editor. "We fully expect that our readers are going to react to the cover." — See it at NPR
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