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May 9, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
A police dog in Washington County, Oregon, came to the rescue of an 8-year-old autistic boy on Sunday night. The sheriff’s office got a frantic call reporting the boy missing at 5:42 p.m., and immediately sent out several deputies — including K9 officer Maverick. Maverick led the team to a heavily wooded area that his handler, Deputy Danny Dipietro, said they might not otherwise have searched right away. "I put Maverick down there, and he just took off," he said. The dog located the boy shivering in a cold, fast-moving creek. “Without Maverick there would’ve been a really long delay," said Dipietro. “Maverick’s the hero here, not me.” Maverick was rewarded with a toy for his good work. — Watch it at the Huffington Post
How can polar bears consume mostly fat, but avoid heart disease? Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, studied the differences in the genomes of polar bears and brown bears, and found that the bears diverged only 500,000 years ago, contrary to previous theories that estimated they diverged 5 million years ago. “In this limited amount of time, polar bears became uniquely adapted to the extremities of life out on the Arctic sea ice, enabling them to inhabit some of the world’s harshest climates and most inhospitable conditions,” said the study’s senior author, Rasmus Nielsen of UC Berkeley. They found that gene mutations in cardiovascular function gave the polar bears the ability to consume a fatty diet without high rates of heart disease — even though the bears’ blood cholesterol levels are high enough to cause heart disease in humans. The study was published in the journal Cell. — Read it at Discovery News
Scientists have discovered 14 new species of dancing frogs in southern India — but they warn that they may all soon become extinct. The males stretch and extend their hind legs to attract the attention of females in a move that’s referred to as dancing. The walnut-sized frogs live in streams that are increasingly drying up, posing a threat to their survival. Researchers are struggling to identify the many undiscovered frogs in the area before they disappear. — Watch it from AP via Science Daily
A 135-pound loggerhead sea turtle was returned to his home at Hobe Sound Beach in Florida on Wednesday after spending three months in rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando. The turtle was rescued by Florida Fish and Wildlife officers in February when a boater spotted him floating abnormally in the Intracoastal Waterway in Marin County. His left side was significantly more buoyant than the right, which prevented him from staying submerged for long. Loggerheads are the only sea turtles with a population in Florida high enough to be considered merely threatened. All other sea turtle species are endangered. — See photos from Florida Fish and Wildlife and watch it at YouTube
The San Francisco Zoo’s 10-month-old red panda got his name in a special ceremony Wednesday. The little guy will be called Tenzing, after the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who scaled Mount Everest in 1953 with Sir Edmund Hillary. Tenzing was named by philanthropist Barry Lipman, who won the naming rights with a $31,000 bid at the zoo’s fundraising gala last month. The zoo also revealed a new treehouse for the cub, created by Pete Nelson, host of the Animal Planet show "Treehouse Masters." “I hope he likes it!” Nelson said. Tenzing was born at the Sacramento Zoo and was transferred to San Francisco. He makes his public debut this weekend.
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