Pet Scoop: ‘Miracle’ Panda Triplets Born in China, Pup Saves Girl Lost in the Forest

August 13, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

China Panda Triplets
AP

Cub Trio a ‘Wonder of the World’

A set of panda triplets born at a Chinese zoo last month is being hailed as a “miracle” by zoo officials; given the animals’ notoriously low reproductive rate and that they are the only known panda triplets currently living, the birth is truly remarkable. The trio has survived for 15 days so far, and appear to be in good health. Zoo officials are cautiously optimistic, but they acknowledged in a statement that mortality rates among newborn pandas are high. "We can only say they are surviving once they reach six months. For now they are indeed the only surviving triplets," said a zoo official named Ms. Zhao. — Read it at Yahoo News

Puppy Leads Rescuers to Missing 3-Year-Old

A 3-year-old girl missing for 11 days was found in a Siberian forest by a team of rescuers — led to her by her puppy. Villagers feared for the worst when Karina Chikitova’s puppy wandered into the village alone, but the puppy led searchers right to her. Chikitova looked “suprisingly well,” said Afanasyl Nikolayev, a spokesman for the Sakha Republic Rescue Service. She is currently resting in a hospital. — Read it at Toronto Sun

South African Officials Try to Protect 500 Rhinos

In an attempt to counter a wave of poaching, South African officials have decided to move 500 rhinoceroses from Kruger National Park to nearby Botswana and Zambia. More than 630 of the animals have been killed already this year, thanks to a rise in the popularity of their horns, which are valued in affluent Asian countries as signs of wealth. The proposed removal involves tracking down the animals in rugged and remote bush and then darting them with tranquilizers from helicopters. The move could cost up to $1,500 per animal. "It is a mammoth task,” said South Africa’s Environment Minister Edna Molewa. "We must start soon." — Read it at Yahoo News

African Elephant
Thinkstock

Study: Elephants Have Superior Sense of Smell

A new study has discovered that African elephants have 2,000 genes related to smell — the most of any mammal. Could this be due to their long trunks? “We don’t know the real reason,” said study leader  Yoshihito Niimura, a molecular evolutionist at the University of Tokyo. But it’s likely related to their reliance on smell to interpret and navigate their environment, he said, thanks to their notoriously poor eyesight. “If the wind is blowing in the correct direction, elephants can pick up the scent of humans … from over a kilometer away or detect and find the exact location of a tiny sliver of banana from over 50 meters away,” said Joyce Poole, co-founder of the conservation group  ElephantVoices, That’s a talented sniffer. — Read it at National Geographic

People Shares Robin Williams’ Best Animal Shots

Robin Williams, the beloved actor and comedian who died Monday at the age of 63, was known both for his manic and poignant performances and for his fondness for animals. People magazine paid tribute to the star by posting eight Instagram shots of Williams with his furry friends and costars, including his Boston Terrier Verna Pearl (who died unexpectedly last year) and his pug Leonard. — Read it and the see the pictures at People

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