Pet Scoop: Oscar Selfie Earns $1.5M for Humane Society, Four Lion Cubs Born in D.C.

March 5, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

The star-studded selfie set up by Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres earns millions for charity.
The star-studded selfie set up by Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres earns millions for charity.

Samsung Gives Millions to Charities

The selfie seen around the world is doing more than bringing smiles. Chances are you’ve heard about how Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres set up a selfie with some of the world’s most famous faces at the awards show on Sunday night. The picture was snapped by actor Bradley Cooper with a Samsung phone, and Tweeted out by DeGeneres. Then, it was retweeted a record-breaking 3 million times. While Samsung said it didn’t pay for product placement on the show, the company knows it scored some pretty big free publicity, and wanted to pay it forward. So, they decided to donate $3 million — in honor of the retweet record — to two charities of DeGeneres’ choice. She’s decided that $1.5 million will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — and the other $1.5 million will go to the Humane Society of the United States. DeGeneres is “the leading celebrity voice for animal protection in our nation, and we are so lucky to have her on our side,” wrote HSUS president Wayne Pacelle. The group plans to divide the donation among its Pets for Life, Shelter Pet Project and Animal Rescue Team programs. — Read it at Today.com

Satellite Shows Baby Sea Turtles’ Path

Scientists have long thought that young sea turtles follow a large current called the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre all the way around the ocean, arriving back at their original coastline after one or two years of growth. But by tracking turtles via satellite, researchers at the University of Central Florida have found that many of them drop out of the current, and seem to follow brown, floating seaweed. The seaweed would provide them with food, shelter and warmth. They found that the turtles do travel clockwise, but on individual paths. The researchers also said that the solar-powered batteries on their GPS devices charged well, strongly suggesting that they spend a lot of time at the water’s surface. The findings, which are important for protecting the turtles, were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. — Read it at Live Science

Chemicals From Research Bases Found in Wildlife

Scientists have found that wastewater from dozens of research bases housing people who are working to protect Antarctica may actually be causing harm to the environment. A toxic flame retardant called Hexabromocyclododecane, or HBCD, which is commonly used in building materials and research equipment, was found in the tissue of animals ranging from Adélie penguins and fish to marine worms. Their findings were reported at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry meeting this week. The levels of HBCD found in the animals in the study don’t seem to have caused problems yet, but concerned scientists say they don’t know yet what the long-term affects might be. — Read it at National Geographic

Shera snuggles with her four newborn cubs at the National Zoo.
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Shera snuggles with her four newborn cubs at the National Zoo.

March Comes in Like a Lion in D.C.

No, we’re not only talking about the late-winter snowstorm that impacted the city this week. Four African lion cubs were born to 9-year-old mom Shera at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. They’re the second litter for Shera and the 8th for dad Luke, who also sired two female cubs born to mom Nababiep at the zoo on Jan. 24. The animal care staff monitored the births over the course of seven hours via a closed-circuit web cam. All four of the babies appear to be nursing, moving and vocalizing well. “Like any new mom, she needs some peace and quiet to bond with her cubs, so we're giving her the solitude she needs,” keeper Kristen Clark said of Shera. “From what we've observed on the cam, her behaviors are right on point, and there's no need for us to intervene.” When Shera indicates the time is right, her keepers will introduce them to their dad, Nababiep and their half-siblings. — Read it from the National Zoo

Bear Cub Rescued at Lake Tahoe Resort

A cinnamon-colored black bear cub was rescued by wildlife officials when he was spotted limping around Heavenly Mountain Resort on the California side of Lake Tahoe on Monday. Nicknamed Heavenly Bear, he’s now recovering at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. He was suffering from abrasions and other injuries after a “traumatic accident,” said the group’s Tom Millham. He said the bear may have had a bad fall or been involved in a fight with dogs or a coyote. Experts say black bear sightings in the area have grown in frequency recently because the drought is causing them to come out of hibernation early. Heavenly bear is expected to make a full recovery. — Read it at CBS Sacramento

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