Pet Scoop: Orphaned Otter Pup Gets a New Home, Panda Triplets Turn 100 Days Old

Nov. 6, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

An orphaned 5-week-old southern sea otter pup has a new permanent home at the Shedd Aquarium.
An orphaned 5-week-old southern sea otter pup has a new permanent home at the Shedd Aquarium.

Otter Pup Gets Second Chance

Pup 681 was just 2 pounds and 1 week old when she was found on Coastways Beach in California on Sept. 30. Rescuers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium determined the newborn southern sea otter had been orphaned. Caretakers there worked for four weeks to stabilize her before transferring her last week to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, where she’ll have a permanent home. “Our animal care team is teaching the pup how to be an otter,” said the Shedd’s Tim Binder, in a statement. She’s continuing to get around-the-clock care and learning how to groom, forage, feed and regulate her own body temperature. There are only a handful of facilities in the U.S. that are equipped to care for a stranded sea otter. Pup 681 is now up to 6 pounds and is hitting important milestones, like eating solid foods in addition to the special formula she drinks from a bottle. — Read it and see more photos at Today

First Dolphin With Prosthetic Tail Dies

Fuji, the first dolphin to be fitted with a prosthetic tail, died of liver disease Saturday at about age 45, the facility’s staff said. She gave birth to three calves during her life at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan. In 2002, an unknown disease caused much of her tail to rot. Without a tail fin, dolphins are unable to move through the water. Aquarium officials worked with Bridgestone Tire Company to customize a rubberized prosthetic tail for Fuji, allowing her to swim, dive and jump again. — Read it at Discovery News

Study: Body Fat Helps Elephant Seals Dive Efficiently

Using a new type of tracking device on female elephant seals, researchers have discovered adding body fat — but not too much of it — changes the seals’ buoyancy and makes them more efficient divers. When the seals are neutrally buoyant, meaning they don’t float up or sink down in the water, they spend less energy swimming and maximize the time they spend feeding during their dives of 1,000 to 2,000 feet or more. The new tags had built-in accelerometers, which recorded the number of strokes the seals made with their hind flippers. That helped the researchers determine the energy they spent swimming. "At neutral buoyancy, they're able to spend more time foraging at depth because they're spending less energy moving up and down," said Daniel Costa, leader of the elephant seal research group at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. — Read it at Science Daily

The world's only surviving panda triplets turned 100 days old Wednesday.
The world's only surviving panda triplets turned 100 days old Wednesday.

Panda Triplets Celebrate 100 Days

The world’s first surviving panda triplets marked a major milestone as they turned 100 days old Wednesday. The healthy cubs, who live at the Chimelong Safari Park in China, each weigh about 11 pounds and each have two small teeth. They take turns spending five-day cycles with their mom. "It is imperative to help the triplets form a good relationship with their mother and keep them in close contact. We hope that they can live together if the cubs grow healthily," said the park’s Dong Guixin. It’s Chinese tradition to name pandas at 100 days, but the park has held off naming the trio. They are asking the public for suggestions. — Read it from AP via Yahoo

Canine Candidate Loses Mayoral Race

Einstein the dog ran for mayor of Oakland, California, to be a “voice for low-income and otherwise marginalized people who live in Oakland," said his political advisor, Michael Wilson. Einstein promised to create a municipal holiday for animals, and also had stances on more serious issues, including criminal justice reform and advocating for a single-payer health care system. But, alas, Einstein lost Tuesday’s election to a human, Libby Schaaf. His campaign says they don’t yet know how many votes Einstein received because he was an unofficial write-in candidate. — Read it at the Huffington Post and meet animal mayors from around the country


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