Pet Scoop: Lion Cubs Take Swim Test in D.C., Dog Found After Missing for 5 Years

May 7, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Keeper Kristen Clark helps male lion cub Right Rib out of the water at the National Zoo.
Jen Zoon, National Zoo
Keeper Kristen Clark helps male lion cub Right Rib out of the water at the National Zoo.
Cubs Show They Can Swim

Everybody in! Four 2-month-old lion cubs snarled and bared their teeth as they were each dropped into the moat that surrounds their outdoor exhibit at the National Zoo in Washington. Their keepers wanted to ensure that if the cubs happened to tumble into the moat while playing in their yard, they’d be able to swim to the side and climb out to safety. Luckily, all four siblings — three males and one female — passed the test Tuesday and were wrapped in big towels and brought back inside to their 9-year-old mom, Shera. They’re now one step closer to making their public debut in mid-June, once they have all their vaccinations. — Watch it at YouTube and check out our zoo baby gallery

New Version of Bird Flu Found in Penguins

A new version of the avian flu was found in penguins in Antarctica, but this strain is not particularly deadly and it has not adapted to transmit to mammals, according to a study by the World Health Organization. Previous studies in Antarctica have found that penguins sometimes carry flu antibodies, but this is the first time the virus itself has been found in penguins there. Researchers said it’s possible migratory birds are responsible for carrying the virus to the penguins. The study was published in mBio. — Read it at Live Science

Dogs Follow Human Voices to Food

A new study finds that a wide variety of dogs — including puppies — could find a treat based on the direction in which a hidden human was speaking.  "What it tells us is that dogs pay special attention to communicative signals from humans. … That's a sign of how connected we are,” said the study’s lead author, Federico Rossano of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. An expert from Duke University say it’s the first evidence that dogs are sensitive to auditory cues. Puppies who were 8 to 14 weeks old and had spent plenty of time with people did even better than adult dogs on the test. But puppies who’d spent most of their time only with their littermates flunked the test, suggesting that they pick up on cues in the human voice after being socialized with people. The findings were reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. — Read it at USA Today

Marcus Finster was reunited with his Boxer, Lily, five years after she disappeared.
Marcus Finster was reunited with his Boxer, Lily, five years after she disappeared.

Dog Found After 5 Years

Lily, a Boxer, was only 1 when she disappeared from her backyard five years ago. Marcus Finster said he was celebrating his graduation from college Saturday when he got a call saying that Lily had been found 200 miles away. Finster said the dog was microchipped, and he believed someone took her to breed her. The staff at Best Friend Veterinary Hospital in Braselton, Georgia, said Lily immediately knew who Finster and his wife were when they arrived to pick her up. “She was playful, but when I called her name, she just took off running to us,” Finster said. She was in fair condition when she was found, but was extremely underweight and had fleas and ticks. Lily is now happily recovering back at home, Finster said. — Watch it at Atlanta’s WSB-TV

Heavenly the Bear Returns to Tahoe Resort

The injured 1-year-old black bear was rescued in March by wildlife officials after he was spotted near a busy ski lift at the Heavenly Mountain Resort. He was nursed back to health and released into the wild, but within days he’d found his way back to Tahoe and was approaching people again. "Our primary goal is to keep them wild," said Jason Holley, supervising wildlife biologist for the California Department of Fish and Game. "But apparently, this one is just looking for handouts from people." For now, the bear, who was nicknamed Heavenly, is back at the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center. Officials plan to find a home for him at a sanctuary or zoo because he’s become too domesticated to return to the wild. — Read it from AP via Yahoo

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