Pet Scoop: Pilot Diverts International Flight to Save Dog, Park Closed Due to Bear Selfies

Sept. 16, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

An Air Canada pilot diverted an international flight to save Simba, a French Bulldog.
An Air Canada pilot diverted an international flight to save Simba, a French Bulldog.

Air Canada Lands to Save Dog

An Air Canada pilot is winning the hearts of dog lovers everywhere after diverting a flight from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Toronto, Canada, to save the life of a canine passenger. After learning the heating system in the cargo hold had malfunctioned, the pilot decided to land the plane in Frankfurt, Germany. That allowed 7-year-old French Bulldog Simba and his owner to change to another flight where Simba would be safe. The original flight then continued on to Canada after a 75-minute delay. Simba’s owner was grateful for the pilot’s decision. “It’s my dog, it’s like my child. It’s everything to me,” he said. Aviation expert Phyl Durby said the pilot made the right call, as the temperature in the cargo bay would have plunged when the plane headed over the Atlantic Ocean. He estimated that diverting could have cost Air Canada $10,000 in additional fuel costs. — Watch it at Toronto’s City News

Colorado Park Closed Due to Dangerous Bear Selfies

Waterton Canyon in Colorado has been closed for nearly three weeks and there’s no word on when it might reopen — all because of the number of visitors endangering themselves to take #bearselfies. “We’ve actually seen people using selfie sticks to try and get as close to the bears as possible, sometimes within 10 feet of wild bears,” wrote Brandon Ransom, manager of recreation of Denver Water, the public utility that maintains the park, in  blog post earlier this month. “The current situation is not conducive for the safety of our visitors or the well-being of the wildlife.” Waterton isn’t the only park that has dealt with this problem. Last year, the U.S. Forest Service threatened to close a park around Lake Tahoe because of how close the visitors were getting to bears who were trying to catch salmon. — Read it at the Washington Post and see photos at Yahoo

Government Nixes Rafts for Walruses

A wildlife advocacy group thought of creating artificial floating platforms for Pacific walruses to come ashore in Alaska while they’re lacking summer sea ice, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declined to pursue the proposal in a letter Monday. Earlier this month, photos showed an estimated 35,000 of the walrus near Point Lay. It’s become an annual September phenomenon linked to climate warming. But the FWS doesn’t find the rafts solution feasible. “We do not think such a measure is needed at this time," said Geoffrey Haskett, Alaska regional director for the FWS in the letter to Rick Steiner of Oasis Earth. "Rafts would have to be deployed and retrieved annually and deployment would likely have to occur after thousands of animals have already occupied the area.” — Read it from the AP via U.S. News & World Report

California Highway Patrol Officer Sarah Joyner gets some love from one of the dogs she rescued.
California Highway Patrol Officer Sarah Joyner gets some love from one of the dogs she rescued.

Officer Finds Dogs in Burned Home

California Highway Patrol Officer Sarah Joyner, who’s a huge animal lover, was checking on homes in an area of San Andreas evacuated due to wildfires Tuesday, when she discovered two Dachshunds in the carport of an otherwise burned out home. From the looks of the picture, they were quite happy to see her. One of them suffered burned paws, but the other appeared to be uninjured. Joyner had dog food with her, so she fed them and gave them water, then got them to Animal Control so they could be taken for treatment. Within the hour after the police department shared this photo on Facebook, Katy Atnip responded, “These are my dogs!” More than 1,000 people have liked her comment. Several commenters from the area explained that orders to evacuate from the fast-moving wildfires have come quickly — sometimes when homeowners are at work — and the owner may not have been allowed back in to the area to find her dogs. Atnip will be reunited with her pets. — Read it from CHP – San Andreas via Facebook

Two Koala Joeys Emerge from Moms’ Pouches

It’s springtime in Australia, and some koala joeys are stepping out of their moms’ pouches and showing off how cute they are at the Taronga Zoo. TJ, a 7-month-old male, is mom Sydney’s first baby. “We’ve been seeing arms and legs and even a little pair of eyes peeking out from Sydney’s pouch in recent weeks, but he wasn’t ready to venture outside until this week,” said koala keeper Laura Jones. Sydney’s neighbor, Mallee, is also a first-time mom with a little boy joey. He’s been named Baxter after a type of eucalyptus — which he’s already enjoying. “He loves climbing up near Mallee’s head to look around and I saw him step off on his own for the first time this week. He only lasted a few seconds before returning to mum, but he looked quite pleased with himself,” Jones said. — Read it from the Taronga Zoo

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