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June 18, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
When Mary Wolfe, 24, was traveling from Alaska to Colorado in September with her dog, Nahla, she stopped in Seattle to visit friends. They brought her out to a pub, where Wolfe reluctantly tied Nahla up outside. (She was accustomed to bringing the dog into restaurants in Alaska.) Wolfe went out to check on Nahla every 10 to 15 minutes, often with a group of smokers who were at the bar. But a few minutes after the smokers left for the night, Wolfe went out and found that Nahla was gone. Wolfe spent the next 8 months trying to find her Husky-Australian Shepherd mix, often getting leads on her Help Find Nahla Facebook page, and says she ran into strong opposition whenever she tried to investigate the group of smokers. She says she was harassed via email, Facebook and Craigslist — until an investigator discovered that the harassing posts and false tips were coming from the same IP address. Finally, Wolfe flew back to Washington to track her leads to the home of a woman who she says was with the smokers — and saw Nahla in the backyard of the woman’s home. Wolfe called the police. The women inside emphatically denied taking the dog from the pub, but the officer removed Nahla from the home to return her to Wolfe on June 3. Nahla barked and yelped as she was happily reunited with her owner in the police car. According to a police report, Wolfe said she just wanted to return to Colorado with her dog, and didn’t want to press for further action from law enforcement. — Read it at the Examiner
National Geographic Explorer Victoria Hillman explains how she found six unusual pink grasshoppers in the European wilderness. They were all in the early nymph stages, with wings that had not yet developed. Hillman and her team believe they are a rare form of the common meadow grasshopper with a genetic mutation caused by a recessive gene similar to the one that affects albino animals. They rarely make it to adulthood because they are so easily spotted by predators. — See photos at National Geographic
What has four legs, is nimble and quick on its feet, but doesn't meow? The “cheetah-cub robot,” a new machine invented by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (Biorob). Scientists have taken the agility of a housecat and applied it to a robot that could go on search-and-rescue missions. It has the same proportions as a housecat, and legs with three segments each, along with springs and small motors to imitate the cat’s tendons and muscles. Moving at 3.1 mph, the robotic cat couldn’t keep up with a real feline (much less a cheetah) but it’s the fastest robot of its size. “The long-term goal of the cheetah-cub robot is to be able to develop fast, agile, ground-hugging machines for use in exploration, for example for search and rescue in natural disaster situations,” said Biorob director Auke Ijspeert. — Read it at the Christian Science Monitor
A 3-week-old gray kitten thought that the engine of a Honda Fit was a good place to find warmth in Oregon — until the car’s owner drove it for two days on a 1,000-mile trip south to Santa Barbara, Calif. Late last week, the owner heard meowing and stopped several times, even calling animal control along the way to try to find a kitten under the car’s hood, but no one could find anything. Julia Di Sieno, executive director and co-founder of Animal Rescue Team, Inc., arrived at the scene and called a tow truck so she’d be able to see under the car. Chuck Love of Love’s Towing came to the rescue, assisting Di Sieno in locating the little male kitten. “It took a half an hour, at least, to get it out, and after getting it out it was so cute and so small,” said Love. The cat was frail and dehydrated, and had an eye infection, but is expected to make a full recovery. And Di Sieno has named the kitten after Love, who wouldn’t take any money for his help at the rescue scene. — Watch it ABC News
A bottlenose dolphin who was suffering from severe sun exposure was rescued by a team from SeaWorld Orlando after a kayaker saw it stranded in seagrass at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The 350-pound dolphin was transported to SeaWorld Orlando and is now in stable condition. The team has responded to at least 47 dolphins stranded near the Indian River Lagoon this year. — Read it at Paw Nation
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