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March 7, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Confused bystanders watched as a semi truck that was idling nearby on Friday afternoon drove through a parking lot, across a street and hit a tree and a parked car at a Kwik Mart convenience store in Minnesota. It didn’t look like there was anyone driving the truck, but when a passerby jumped into the vehicle to stop it, he found that there was actually a driver: a yellow Labrador Retriever. Witnesses captured pictures of the dog, who wasn’t injured, looking out the window of the cab. Police confirmed that the dog put the truck in gear while the driver was in a nearby store, reported Minneapolis’ Fox 9. — Read it at Fox News
For 20 years, a tabby cat named Barney spent his days comforting mourners at the St. Sampson's Cemetery in the British Isles, becoming a local legend. At first, Barney lived with his owners right next door to the cemetery. After they moved, he continued to come back to the grounds, and was eventually re-homed there. "When relatives and friends have suffered the awful loss of someone close to them and go to visit a cemetery they are not in best frame of mind, but Barney was always there to cheer them up,” said grounds keeper Alan Curzon. "For those who entered the cemetery with a heavy heart, he lightened up the experience for them. When people walked through the gates, he often came up to them and brushed against them. There was not a bad bone in his body.” Barney will be buried at the cemetery. — Read it at the U.K.’s Mirror
There’s some good news for critically endangered Sumatran orangutans. An extensive series of surveys found about 14,600 of the great apes still living in the wild, which is about 8,000 more than previously thought. However, the researchers emphasize that the large increase in numbers is the outcome of a more comprehensive survey and does not reflect an actual increase in the population. Sumatran orangutans, who live only on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, are threatened by the loss of their natural forest habitat. The researchers warn that if the deforestation there continues, the population could decline by as many as 4,500 individuals by the year 2030. The findings were published in the journal Science Advances. — Read it at Science Daily
A pregnant wild otter took shelter from stormy seas in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool on Saturday, giving the staff and visitors the rare chance to watch the birth — and to capture it on video. Right after the pup was born, the mom started grooming it to help it stay warm and buoyant. “A well-groomed sea otter pup is so buoyant it’s practically unsinkable!” the aquarium said in a Facebook post. “Our sea otter researchers have been watching wild otters for years and have never seen a birth close up like this.” The mom and pup may return to their wild kelp forest home at any time. In December, another wild otter mom who took shelter in the protected basin was photographed floating there with her adorable baby. — Read it from the Monterey Bay Aquarium via Facebook
A worldwide network of knitters helps wild animals who’ve been injured or lost their habitats stay cozy in little knitted nests. "The nests offer security and warmth, which is essential in rehabilitating wildlife," said Katie Deline-Ray, who runs the Wildlife Rescue Nests network. The 800 volunteers send the nests for small and medium mammals, like birds and bats, to about 240 rehabilitation centers. — See photos at Yahoo
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