Pet Scoop: Orphaned Cougar Kitten Moves to Boston, Giant Otters Have Big Vocabularies

Nov. 13, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Orphaned cougar kitten Blue was found in Idaho but has a new home in Boston.
Orphaned cougar kitten Blue was found in Idaho but has a new home in Boston.

Blue the Cougar Gets New Home

Last week, a 4-week-old cougar kitten flew on JetBlue from Idaho to Boston, where he will have a permanent home at the Stone Zoo. He’s been named Blue in honor of the airline’s support — and his deep blue eyes. The 5-pound kitten was found near Salmon, Idaho, and taken to a local veterinary clinic. The following day, officials from the state Department of Fish and Game returned him to the area where he was found in hopes of reuniting him with his mom. But he was again found alone and brought to the veterinary clinic. At that point, officials decided the kitten couldn’t be released to the wild again and found him a home at the Stone Zoo, which is part of Zoo New England. A curator flew out to Idaho to escort him back to his new home. “This late-season kitten emphasizes the need to be diligent about leaving wild babies alone. While the outcome is not what was hoped for, it is the best situation for the kitten under the circumstances,” said Dr. Mark Drew, a wildlife vet with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Wildlife. For now, Blue is being cared for at a Franklin Park Zoo hospital, where he gets a bottle every four to five hours during the day. He’s expected to make his debut at the Stone Zoo early next year. — Read it from Zoo New England

Study: Giant Otters Have Big Vocabularies

After recording the vocalizations of three captive populations of giant otters and five wild populations, researchers from the University of Ulm in Germany found the adult otters have a capacity for 22 distinct vocalization types. Their newborns communicate with sounds, too, and the team found 11 vocalizations used distinctly by the babies. Giant otters are very social creatures, and the scientists say they use the sounds, which include whistles and growls, to call to members of their group, warn each other of a threat or to play. The researchers said giant otters might be the most socially and vocally complex of all the otter species. Their findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Discovery News

Vets Issue Guidance on Pets Exposed to Ebola

The American Veterinary Medical Association released new guidelines Wednesday on how to handle pets belonging to a person who’s tested positive for Ebola. The advice comes after a dog belonging to a Spanish nurse who hadn’t tested positive for the virus was put down, and a dog belonging to Dallas nurse Nina Pham was held in quarantine for 21 days before being reunited with his owner. The AVMA says a pet that may be infected should be quarantined, as in the case of Bentley in Dallas. Handlers should wear protective equipment and Ebola testing must be authorized by the Centers for Disease Control. If a pet does test positive for Ebola, the AVMA says it should be euthanized. Scientists think Ebola can be transmitted to people through infected animals, but the CDC says there have been no reports of dogs or cats getting the disease or spreading it to people. Meanwhile, the Spanish nurse whose dog was put down is suing for compensation. — Read it from the AP via Yahoo

Kecil, who's 10  months old, has been bonding well with his adopted mom Maggie.
Chicago Zoological Society
Kecil, who's 10  months old, has been bonding well with his adopted mom Maggie.

Baby Orangutan Bonds With Adopted Mom

After four months at the Brookfield Zoo, keepers say 10-month-old Kecil is bonding well with his surrogate mom, 53-year-old Maggie. In an update on the pair’s progress in time for Orangutan Awareness Week, keepers say Maggie helps Kecil find the staff when it’s time for a bottle, lets him sample her food and plays with him. The 13.5-pound baby also sleeps with Maggie at night. "By day 11 Maggie would not let us take him away anymore to get weighed. She said, 'No, he's my baby and I'm not letting you take him,'" said keeper Nava Greenblatt. Kecil was born in January at the Toledo Zoo in Ohio, and his mother showed little interest in him. At 4 months old, he was transferred to the Milwaukee County Zoo, but officials didn’t feel he bonded well enough with a surrogate there. He seems to have found a great fit with Maggie, though. "There is definitely a connection and a bonding going on here," said Craig Demitros, associate curator of primates at the Brookfield Zoo. "It could be motherly love." — Watch it at ABC 7 Chicago

Stars Celebrate Rescue Dogs in TV Special

Actress Jane Lynch will join Hilary Swank in a two-hour Thanksgiving TV special aiming to raise money for the Petfinder Foundation. “Fox’s Cause For Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular” will have appearances from several other stars, including Scarlett Johansson, Miranda Lambert, Betty White and Kristin Chenoweth. The show airs Thurs., Nov. 27 from 8 to 10 p.m. ET on Fox. — Read it at Entertainment Weekly


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