Pet Scoop: Orphaned Bear Cubs Saved in Oregon, Peru Park Is Planet’s Most Biodiverse

Feb. 26, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Oregon Zoo
Three orphaned black bear cubs are being cared for by vets at the Oregon Zoo until they're healthy enough to be moved to their new home in Texas.

Black Bear Cubs Rescued

Just last week, we told you about a trio of adorable cougar cubs who were orphaned in Oregon and are recovering at the Oregon Zoo veterinary medical center before they head to the North Carolina Zoo. Now, the zoo says they have some company — and it’s making the center feel a bit like a nursery, with cooing, crying babies and around-the-clock feedings. Wildlife officials brought three orphaned black bear cubs in for medical care on Friday. Officials believe the 1-month-old cubs’ mom was scared off by logging operations. The baby bears weigh about 2 to 3 pounds each, and are starting to cut their teeth. They’ll stay at the zoo until they’re healthy enough to travel to their new home in Texas. — Read it and watch video of them from the Oregon Zoo

Peru Park Has Record-Breaking Biodiversity

A new survey by scientists published in the journal Biota Neotropica has recorded 287 species of snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs and salamanders in the southern Peru's remote Manu National Park, making it the most diverse protected area in the world. The tally includes a new species of aquatic lizards and the Noble's Pygmy frog. The park is also home to more than 1,000 kinds of birds and 1,200 species of butterflies. The previous record holder was Yasuní National Park in Ecuador. — Read it from Live Science via Yahoo

Camels Linked to Spread of Deadly Virus in Humans

Researchers have found that camels are the major source of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a virus that has sickened 182 and killed 79 people since it was detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The camels are most likely to infect people from coughing, sneezing, snorting or spitting. The disease is not highly transmissible among people. The study, published in the journal mBio, provides the first evidence that the illness has been widespread in dromedary camels in Saudi Arabia for at least 20 years. MERS is more likely to infect younger camels, but it’s unclear whether it makes them sick. — Read it at The New York Times

University of Lincoln
Griffin the grey parrot learned the benefits of reciprocity.

Parrots Can Learn to Share

Maybe Polly will share her cracker with you! A new study from researchers at Harvard and Brandeis Universities and the University of Lincoln in the U.K. finds that parrots can learn the benefits of reciprocity. The researchers presented Griffin, a grey parrot, with four different colored cups. The green cup had treats for both Griffin and his human partner. The pink cup held only a treat for Griffin, orange meant only his partner got a treat, and the violet cup didn’t have treats for anyone. With few exceptions, Griffin consistently favored the green cup with each of his partners. “He seemed to figure out fairly quickly that his choice of pink (where only he got a treat) meant that he would miss a reward when the human subsequently made the choice," said Dr. Franck Péron, co-author of the study, which was published in the journal Animal Cognition. — Read it at Science Daily

Koala Briefly Escapes San Diego Zoo Enclosure

Apparently Mundu wanted to try out a new place to sleep. Keepers at the San Diego Zoo noticed the 2-year-old koala was missing from his enclosure shortly after feeding and watering at 9 a.m. PT on Tuesday. No one knows exactly how Mundu got out, but the keepers quickly noticed him sleeping in a tree high above his exhibit. Spokeswoman Jenny Mehlow said Mundu is about to reach sexual maturity, and his hormonal changes have him constantly testing limits. His keepers took turns watching him in the tree for the day, and lured him back into his enclosure when the zoo closed. With his excitement over, Mundu was checked out by a veterinarian. — Read it at CNN

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