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Jan. 18, 2017: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Less than a month after celebrating her 60th birthday, Colo the Western lowland gorilla has died in her sleep, the Columbus Zoo said Tuesday. Colo was born at the zoo on Dec. 22, 1956, the first of her critically endangered species to be born in captivity. She was raised by her keepers, and eventually became a mom to three, grandmother to 16, great grandmother to 12 and even great-great-grandmother to three. She first broke the world record as the world’s oldest living gorilla four years ago, when she turned 56. Colo exceeded normal life expectancy for a gorilla by more than two decades. “She was the coolest animal I’ve ever worked with and caring for her was the highlight of my career,” said assistant curator Audra Meinelt. “It was not just about what she meant for the gorilla community but for whom she was as a gorilla.” — Read it at NBC News
A black Labrador Retriever is being called a “real-life Lassie” after racing to get his foster mom when her toddler got sick in the middle of the night and started to choke. Rufus started barking and tugging on the arm of Emily Gunnion to get her to wake up and come to the aide of 21-month-old Betsy. “Rufus saved Betsy, he was amazing,” Gunnion said. “I was so tired after being up with her and didn’t know what was going on. Rufus alerted me. He got half on the bed and was scratching at me and barking. I knew something was wrong.” Gunnion had only been fostering Rufus for a few days, and he was downstairs with her other dogs when the incident happened. Unfortunately, Gunnion says she can’t keep Rufus because she already has two other dogs. “Rufus has shown how amazing rescue dogs can be,” and she’s hoping to find him a deserving forever home. — Read it at the U.K.’s Mirror
A massive alligator strolled past tourists and waiting cameras at the Polk County Discovery Center’s reserves in central Florida recently, stunning the Internet. According to experts, the video is likely the real thing — and alligators really can get that big. Kim Joiner, who filmed the video and shared it on social media, estimated the gator to be about 12 feet long. The locals call the huge reptile “Hunchback.” Believe it or not, Hunchback isn’t even record size. The largest published size for an American alligator was one who was killed in Alabama in 2014 who was more than 14 feet. — Watch it at National Geographic
A neighborhood in Missouri came together to save a missing Schnauzer mix who disappeared just before an ice storm last week. After Dillon somehow got past the invisible fence in his yard, his owners immediately turned to their friends and neighbors for help. With no luck Thursday night, owner Cindy Bess’ neighbor headed out into the icy terrain in the woods to look for Dillon — and found him with his leg stuck in a trap. “He had no way out,” and had been stuck in the cold for 18 hours, said Julie Drew. Bess took Dillon to the vet and found that he suffered only a soft tissue injury, but no broken bones. She’s grateful to her neighbors for what they are calling a “miracle.” — Read it at Wisconsin’s Fox 6 Now
Duke University students are coming together to take care of Peaches, a beloved stray cat who lives on their North Carolina campus. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a Duke student who hasn’t met or heard of Peaches, the friendly calico cat that lives behind Few Quadrangle, one of the Duke dormitories,” says student Anna Li. “For students who are stressed out from school and missing their pets back home, this provides so much needed therapy and stress relief. Sometimes it’s even hard for me to get a minute with her because there’s always someone out there petting her!” Li and fellow student Anna Matthews set up a Go Found Me page for Peaches’ veterinary care after fearing she seemed worse for wear after a recent snowstorm. The fund more than doubled its goal of $300 to $780 in less than a week. The students say the additional money will be used to help other stray cats who’ve taken up residence on campus. — Read it at People Pets
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