Pet Scoop: Marine K9 Gets Highest Medal, Shelter Cat Adopts Kittens Found in Dumpster

April 6, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Marine dog Lucca, here with her owner Gunnery Sergeant Chris Willingham, was honored in London on Tuesday.
Marine dog Lucca, here with her owner Gunnery Sergeant Chris Willingham, was honored in London on Tuesday.

3-Legged Dog Honored for Valor

Lucca, a 12-year-old German Shepherd who lost a leg in an explosion in Afghanistan, was honored in London Tuesday with the highest medal an animal can achieve — Britain’s PDSA Dickin Medal. In her six years of active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, Lucca completed 400 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were no human casualties on her watch. "She's incredibly intelligent and loyal," said her handler Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham. "You can really see her processing information, applying what she learned in a combat environment and be successful. I feel extremely fortunate." Lucca lost her leg on a battlefield in 2012, while she was working with her second handler, Cpl Juan Rodriguez. He stayed by her side through her emergency treatment and recovery. Lucca now lives with Willingham and his family in California. — Watch it at ABC News

Florida’s Green Sea Turtles No Longer Endangered

After decades of conservation efforts, U.S. officials said Tuesday that green sea turtles off the coast of Florida and the Pacific coast of Mexico are no longer considered endangered. They’re still listed as threatened and will get protections under the Endangered Species Act, but the threat of extinction is no longer considered imminent. There have been up to 2,250 nesting females counted on Florida beaches each year, up from just a handful in 1978. — Read it from the AFP via Yahoo

Rare Rhino Dies Weeks After Discovery

Weeks after she was found on the Indonesian part of Borneo island, a critically endangered Sumatran rhino has died. When Najaq was caught in a pit trap last month, it was hailed as a conservation success because it was the first contact that had been made with a Sumatran rhino there in more than 40 years. It had been assumed the species was extinct there. Sadly, Najaq died after suffering from an infection in her leg, and an examination is being conducted to determine her cause of death. — Read it from the AFP via Discovery News

"Superstar Mama" Shannara is nursing two kittens who were rescued from a dumpster.
"Superstar Mama" Shannara is nursing two kittens who were rescued from a dumpster.

Cat Nurses Abandoned Kittens

First, firefighters in training in Contra Costa County, California, came to the rescue of two kittens who were abandoned in a dumpster. Then, the little ones were rescued by a “Superstar Mama” cat when they were brought to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. Shannara, who’d weaned her own litter of four kittens last week, heard the 10-day-old kittens’ cries in the shelter’s clinic and immediately started trying to find them. The staff brought Shannara and the kittens, Miracle and Milagro, into a quiet room, where she started to nurse them. The new family is now in a foster home together. — Read it at People Pets

Lone Cheetah Cub Joins Litter

You may recall the story of the litter of four cheetah cubs at the Cincinnati Zoo who’ve been nurtured by nursery dog Blakely after the death of their mom. Now, there’s a new little one being added to the family: a male cub who was born 12 days before this litter at the Wildlife Safari in Oregon. The cub didn’t have any littermates, and wasn’t cared for by his mother. So, he now has a new home with the cubs in Cincinnati. “Socialization and companionship, ideally with other cheetahs, is important at this age.Between Blakely (the nursery dog/nanny) and the other cubs, this guy will get plenty of attention and exercise,” said Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo. The four premature cubs are still getting critical care, so it will be a week or two before they’re introduced to the bigger cub. “He’s stronger and much larger than the other cubs. We will supervise initial visits and ease him into the mix,” said Gorsuch. Cheetahs are endangered in the wild. — Read it from the Cincinnati Zoo and watch it at YouTube


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