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Dec. 20, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Just in time for Christmas, a black bear found abandoned in Montana in April has a new home at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Named Blossom after the Florida state flower, the orange blossom, the 10- to 11-month-old bear, described as small and spirited, spent 30 days in quarantine at the zoo while her exhibit was baby-proofed. Blossom’s keepers have begun gradually introducing her to the exhibit. They say she’ll meet Sammy, the adult male bear who she’ll share the space with, when he finishes wintering in his den.
The pinnacle of dog shows announced it’s adding two new breeds to its competition this year — the Russell Terrier and the Treeing Walker Coonhound — bringing the number of breeds in the Westminster Dog Show to 187. The show, which will be held on February 11-12 in New York, will also add a second location for the first time in its 137-year history. In addition to Madison Square Garden, it will hold the day portion of its breed judging at Piers 92 and 94. "The breed winners from there will come on down to the Garden for the evening portion, which is groups and Best in Show," said the Westminster Kennel Club’s director of communications, David Frei. About 3,200 dogs — a record number — will be featured in the 2013 show. — Read it at Reuters via Yahoo News
A new study suggests that a mysterious creature that rarely comes ashore, the pygmy right whale, is the last living member of an ancient group of whales thought to have gone extinct 2 million years ago. "The living pygmy right whale is, if you like, a remnant, almost like a living fossil," said scientist Felix Marx, of the University of Otago in New Zealand. "It's the last survivor of quite an ancient lineage that until now no one thought was around.” The marine mammal, which lives in the open ocean in the Southern Hemisphere, looks much different than other living whales, and has only been spotted a few dozen times. The study was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. — Read it at Discovery News
A federal court in the Florida Keys decided that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has the power to regulate the dozens of cats living at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West. Some 45 cats, many of them descendants of the six-toed cat named Snowball that the legendary author got as a gift in 1935, have had the freedom to roam for decades. But the USDA demanded several years ago that the museum put up fencing to keep the cats inside the compound. Fortunately, the cats don't seem any worse for the wear. "We should all be so lucky to be as happy as they are," said museum chief executive Mike Morawski. — Watch it at CNN
You can rest easy. The disturbing YouTube video of what looked like a golden eagle taking off with a toddler in its talons wasn’t real. Birders were among those who quickly jumped in to say it was a fake when it was distributed by sites like The Guardian and Gawker. They argued that golden eagles aren’t often found in Montreal, and that the bird didn’t look like a golden eagle. Later, three students at Montreal's Centre NAD, a school that specializes in 3-D animation design, confessed that they’d created the video in a production simulation workshop class. The video has been viewed more than 16 million times in just two days. — Watch it at NBC News
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