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Nov. 11, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
On the outside, the Carolina hammerhead looks virtually identical to the scalloped hammerhead. But the shark, which lurks in the waters off the coast of the Carolinas, is genetically distinct, scientists say. The rare new species has 10 fewer vertebrae than their cousin and is slightly smaller, researchers reported in the journal Zootaxa in August. To determine the difference, a team from the University of South Carolina gathered 80 sharks that looked like scalloped hammerheads, and examined their DNA. They found that of the 80, 54 of them were actually Carolina hammerheads. Shark populations have declined drastically in the past few decades. "Here, we're showing that the scalloped hammerheads are actually two things," says lead researcher Joe Quattro. "Since the cryptic species is much rarer than the [more widespread one], God only knows what its population levels have dropped to." — Read it at Live Science via Fox News
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has found this subspecies of black rhino to be completely wiped out, and blames poachers and a lack of conservation for its disappearance. The Western black rhino was last spotted alive in western Africa in 2006. The IUCN warns that unless suggested conservation measures are followed, Africa’s Northern white rhino and Asia’s Javan rhino face the same fate. “These measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction,” says the IUCN’s Simon Stuart. — Read it at the U.K.’s Daily Mail
Jeffrey Groat’s friends believe that his missing dog was found near the hospital because he was trying to make his way to his owner. Burke, a teacup Great Dane, had been missing since Thursday, when a suspected drunk driver crashed into Groat’s Idaho home, injuring him and leaving a gaping hole. Burke took off in the aftermath of the incident. A local resident who saw the missing dog’s picture in the newspaper located him near the hospital’s emergency room. The dog was so excited to be reunited with his owner at the hospital on Saturday that he had to be restrained from jumping on Groat’s hospital bed. Groat, who suffered cracked ribs in the crash, was relieved to have Burke back, and was released from the hospital on Sunday. — Read it from the AP via USA Today
The O’Neill family had given up hope of finding their tabby, Sammie, who ran off five years ago. Since then, the Wisconsin family had brought home a new cat, dog and had a third child. So, Lindsay O’Neill was quite surprised to get a phone call a week ago saying that her microchipped pet had been found. A woman who’d seen 8-year-old Sammie wandering around her home for several months turned him in to a local animal shelter. “When I saw him I just broke down and cried,” O’Neill said. “As soon as I brought him home within 45 minutes I had some alone time with him … He was purring. He was affectionate, rubbing his body against my legs. He was licking my face, just very loving and that’s who Sammie is.” — Read it at Illinois’ WQAD
An abandoned tortoise in Germany named Schildi has a new way of getting around. The little guy had lost one of his front legs, most likely from an accident, and was saved by a determined veterinarian at Bird Consulting International. Dr. Panagiotis Azmanis turned to his colleague’s daughter’s Lego box to help Schildi. At first, the tortoise was fitted with a Lego and a double wheel, but the reptile had trouble turning. So, he swapped it out for a single wheel, and discovered it was the perfect fit, and Schildi is back at his rescue and “doing really well again.” — Read it at the Huffington Post
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