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May 29, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Seven months after extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy forced it to close its doors, the New York Aquarium on Coney Island was able to partially reopen on Memorial Day Weekend. “We are excited to be back open for Coney Island, Brooklyn and conservation,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, Wildlife Conservation Society vice president and director of the aquarium. After months of fundraising and renovation, the reopening includes exhibits in the conservation hall, outdoor spaces of Sea Cliffs, Glover’s Reef and the completely remodeled Aquatheater — but the facility has three more years of rebuilding and enhancing to come. “We still have a long road ahead of us, but opening our doors will help further the continuing recovery of the community,” Dohlin said. The aquarium’s reopening is a boon for the surrounding area, as it pumps more than $58 million into the local economy each year. — Read it at Today
A butterfly with olive-green eyes from Texas may be the last truly distinctive new butterfly species to be discovered in the United States. Individuals of Vicroy's Ministreak butterflies were deposited in the Smithsonian entomology collections a century ago, but it was confused with the similar looking Gray Ministreak. The two species are distinguished by their eye color, wing patterns and internal structures. Both are only about the size of a thumbnail. The Vicroy’s Ministreak is officially described in the journal ZooKeys. — Read it at Science Daily
Staff members at LEO Zoological Conservation Center in Connecticut were left scratching their heads when Armani the giant anteater gave birth in April. Anteaters have 6-month pregnancies, and Armani had been separated from her mate, Alf, for more than 18 months. Marcella Leone, the center’s director, now believes the baby, Archie, was conceived through "embryonic diapause," when a mother puts a fertilized egg on hold in her uterus until environmental conditions improve. This is something that armadillos and sloths are known to do, but anteaters have never been observed doing it. — Read it at the New York Daily News
British actress Lesley Nicol, who plays Mrs. Patmore on the hit TV show Downton Abbey, put her cooking skills to use during a visit to Animals Asia’s China Bear Rescue Centre (CBRC) in Chengdu, China. The sanctuary takes in bears rescued from the bile farming industry, in which bears are mistreated and milked regularly for their bile, which is used in traditional medicine. Nicol helped prepare food in the “Bear Kitchen,” and helped keepers put it out for the residents. "It was mind blowing to see the bears in the flesh because you can't get that in a picture — such exceptionally charismatic beings, it just takes your breath away,” Nicol said.
Much like housecats get hairballs from grooming themselves, Thai the tiger got one, too. But his was massive — and causing health problems. Vernon Yates, director of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Florida, had raised the 17-year-old tiger. Recently, he noticed Thai hadn’t been acting like himself and was eating less and less, causing him to lose 100 pounds. Using a scope, veterinarians determined that the cat had an enormous hairball. Bluepearl Veterinary Partners offered to operate at no charge to remove the hairball, which weighed a whopping 4 pounds. Thai now has a good prognosis, and he was a model patient. “This tiger specifically is a very, very nice, very, very sweet tiger,” said Dr. Don Woodman, who took part in the procedure. — Watch it at CNN
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