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Oct. 6, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
An 87-year-old man and his dog were traveling from Canada to Florida when they made a stop around lunchtime in Columbia, South Carolina, Sunday. The state has been experiencing devastating flooding due to its historic rainfall. The driver, George Osterhues, was approaching an intersection on a country road when he realized the road ahead was flooded. He tried to turn around like the other cars ahead of him, but it was too late and his car was swept into the raging water. He was stuck inside the car clutching his dog, Tila, for two hours as the water rose around them. Fortunately, he was spotted by Tom Hall, a local man who was checking roads to see if anyone needed help. After he spotted Osterhues, he went to get his family to help save him. He told Osterhues he’d come back for Tila, but the loyal owner wouldn’t let her go. So, the family fought the strong current to pull him and his dog from the car, then towed them to safety. He stayed with the Halls Sunday night and will get back on his way to Florida once he gets a rental car. — Watch it at South Carolina’s WSOC TV
Researchers have found that at least 3.1 percent of frog species have gone extinct since populations started to decline in the 1970s, and the bad luck is continuing. Using a statistical model, scientists in Australia predict another 6.9 percent of frog species may go extinct in the next 100 years. Frogs face many risks, including the deadly fungus B, deforestation, threats from invasive species and climate change, among other problems. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. — Read it at The New York Times
Specially trained dogs are helping to sniff out laurel wilt, a deadly disease caused by a fungus spread by invasive beetles that’s infected 10 percent of South Florida’s avocado trees. The dogs are able to detect the disease early, which can help growers treat the trees before the infection spreads to other trees in the grove. If they’re not treated, the infected trees die within just weeks of becoming infected. The canine team from Florida International University was recently called in to The Kampong, the historical estate of botanist David Fairchild in South Florida. There, Fairchild had planted 20 avocado trees. The valuable trees are considered part of the agricultural history of the U.S., and staff members at the site suspected they were infected. The canines alerted to several avocado trees on the property, and the staff decided to treat all of the historic trees. So far, the treatment seems to be working, and the staff is hopeful that the trees will live, thanks to the dogs. — Read it at Phys.org
Mike Dunn, who lives in the U.K., was driving last week when a cat and two kittens ran out in front of him. He stopped, but one of the kittens vanished. He searched under the car but after an hour, he decided it must have run off, and he continued on his way. Still suspecting the kitten was under the car, Dunn took the car to a mechanic, who also couldn’t find anything. “He thought I was mad,” Dunn said. But one week and 150 miles later, Dunn checked under the hood of his Mazda MX-5 one more time — and a little head poked out. “I got the shock of my life when I opened the bonnet and it was just starring up at me,” he said. Amazingly, the 7-week-old kitten suffered only a minor burn. Dunn and his family have adopted her, and named her Lucky. — Watch it at BBC News
Stunning footage from a drone video shows two massive southern right whales peacefully approaching a paddleboarder in Australia. Dave Price had seen the whales and paddled out to meet them, while his friend, Jaimen Hudson, grabbed his camera equipment to capture the scene. Price and the whales cautiously checked each other out. "There was one time when the whales lifted their heads up looked up over Pricey's board, they were so inquisitive and wanted to know what he was. I don't think it was dangerous, the whales moved to where he was and the whole time they were very slow moving and peaceful," Hudson said. — Watch it at Discovery News
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