Pet Scoop: Proud Mom Introduces Baby Jaguar, Dog Returns Purple Heart She Dug Up

March 30, 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 adorable 2-week-old jaguar cub made its debut at the San Diego Zoo Saturday.
An adorable 2-week-old jaguar cub made its debut at the San Diego Zoo Saturday.

Adorable Jaguar Cub Debuts

Mom Nindiri showed off her 2-week-old cub at the San Diego Zoo over the weekend. The pair has spent their time behind the scenes since the baby jaguar’s birth on March 12. This is the third cub for 7-year-old Nindiri, and the baby’s gender isn’t yet known. The spotted kitten and its mom were given access to the cave bedroom part of their exhibit Saturday, and Nindiri proudly carried her little bundle into the den to meet the public. The cub walked around on its wobbly legs and tumbled in the hay while some lucky visitors got to watch. — Watch it at NBC San Diego

Study Finds Pandas May Be More Social Than We Thought

Giant pandas are usually thought of as solitary creatures but a new study provides a different look at the elusive bears. Researchers from Michigan State University were allowed to fit five pandas at China’s Wolong Nature Reserve with GPS collars to track their movements. They named the pandas Pan Pan, Mei Mei and Zhong Zhong (three adult females), Long Long (a young female), and Chuan Chuan (a male), and they were released back into the reserve. They found that two adult females, the young female and the male, Chuan Chuan, spent long periods of time together during the fall and outside of the spring mating season. They also report that Chuan Chuan traveled much more than the females but frequently returned to check on them, scent marking nearby trees. The females didn’t seem to be bothered by his presence. The study was published in the Journal of Mammalogy. — Read it at Discovery News

Researchers Find Male, Female Birds Becoming Closer in Colors

In nature, male birds have long been known to be the ones sporting the bright, beautiful colors. But a new study of nearly 1,000 bird species from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee finds that the two sexes have come closer in color over time to blend in to their surroundings and hide from predators. “Evolutionary change has most often led to similar, rather than different, plumage in males and females," the authors write. "Our study shows that ecology and behavior are driving the color of both sexes, and it is not due to sexual selection.” The study will be published in the journal Science Advances. — Read it at Science Daily

Wearing a purple color for the occasion, Smuckers returned the Purple Heart she found to the daughter of the veteran who earned it.
Wearing a purple color for the occasion, Smuckers returned the Purple Heart she found to the daughter of the veteran who earned it.

Purple Heart Returned by Dog

Last week, we told you the story of how Smuckers the yellow Labrador Retriever had dug up a Purple Heart medal in the backyard of her Colorado home 10 years ago. The name of the injured Korean War veteran it had been awarded to was engraved on the back, but her owners had no luck finding Corporal Richmond Litman or his family — until now. With the help of the non-profit Purple Hearts Reunited, the story got media attention, and Litman’s daughter quickly came forward. On Sunday, in a graveside ceremony, Smuckers wore the medal on her collar and returned it to Litman’s daughter, Leatra Plick. Plick said her father was proud of his Purple Heart, loved his country — and had a love for dogs. "It just all comes together," Plick said. — Watch it at Denver’s 9News

Cat Sports Map of Australia on Her Nose

An Oriental Longhair cat who lives Down Under made waves at the Royal Sydney Easter Show Sunday because of a marking on her nose that looks just like like a map of Australia. Nicknamed Oz, the cat didn’t take home any prizes from the show, but did win the attention of amazed kids, adults and veterinarians. “She has had the marking since birth but because it was so tiny we didn’t notice that it looked like a map until she was a few months old,” said her owner, Deb Nugent. The cat, whose real name is Siajavi Paiwen, will turn 1 year old this week. She has a brother and a sister — but they don’t share her unique look. — See photo at Australia's


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