Pet Scoop: Rare Amur Leopard Cubs Spotted in China, America’s Dirtiest Dog Revealed

Nov. 27, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

An adult female Amur leopard and two cubs were seen on a camera in China.
An adult female Amur leopard and two cubs were seen on a camera in China.
Scarce Cats Caught on Camera

There are only an estimated 30 to 50 Amur leopards left in the wild, making them the world’s most endangered big cat. So, conservationists were thrilled when a remote camera recorded footage of two cubs with an adult female in China earlier this week, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced. It’s the first evidence that the critically endangered cat, which lives in a small area along the Russia-China border, was breeding in that region. "This incredible find is important for two reasons. Firstly, it shows that our current efforts are paying off, but, secondly, it shows that China can no longer be considered peripheral to the fate of both wild Amur leopards and tigers," said Joe Walston, the WCS’s executive director for Asia programs. "With a few key decisions by the government, China could become a major sanctuary for the species.” — Read it and watch video at Live Science

Plus: The leopard sighting is a great kickoff for Nat Geo WILD’s Big Cat Week. The week of programming starts on Friday at 9 p.m. ET/PT, when the channel airs a race between cheetahs at Busch Gardens Tampa and NFL stars Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans and Chicago Bears' Devin Hester. — Get more from National Geographic

Endangered Species Red List Updated

We have some more news on endangered species: the International Union for Conservation of Nature released its updated Red List on Monday, and it contains both good news and bad news. For example, the okapi, known as the “forest giraffe,” declined in numbers in Africa, and is now listed as endangered. But things were looking better for the leatherback turtle, which improved from critically endangered to vulnerable on the global list. The IUCN says it investigated 70,000 species and found that 21,286 are threatened with extinction. "This IUCN Red List update shows some fantastic conservation successes, which we must learn from, for future conservation efforts," said the IUCN’s Jane Smart. "However, the overall message remains bleak. With each update, whilst we see some species improving in status, there is a significantly larger number of species appearing in the threatened categories.” — Read it from the AP via Yahoo

Obama to Pardon Turkey on Wednesday

In a White House, President Barack Obama will pardon a turkey in Washington on Wednesday afternoon. For the second time, the White House has allowed the public to vote on which of two brothers — Caramel or Popcorn — should be the bird to get the honor of being the National Thanksgiving Turkey. Their platforms included audio of their gobbles, their favorite food and their favorite song. (Caramel prefers soybean meal and Lady Gaga, while Popcorn enjoys corn and Beyoncé.) But there really aren’t any losers here — both turkeys will be spared. — Read it at the Huffington Post

River won Petfinder and Wahl's Dirtiest Dog photo contest for 2013.
River won Petfinder and Wahl's Dirtiest Dog photo contest for 2013.

Public Votes For Dirtiest Dog

After sorting through 350 entries and two weeks of public voting on the finalists, River, a Chihuahua and Pug mix, has won the Dirty Dogs photo contest by Petfinder and Wahl pet products. The idea of the contest was to “clean out” America’s shelters during October’s Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month. Each of the dogs in the contest represented a shelter or rescue. River, who represents Secondhand Hounds in Minnesota, will get a year supply of grooming products and a $5,000 grant for her shelter. In addition to the winner, Wahl will donate grants and grooming products to many of the finalists, spotlighting the importance of grooming for the health and adoption of shelter animals. — See all the finalists on Facebook

Vets Say They Could’ve Saved Brian the Dog

On Tuesday, we told you about the fallout over a Family Guy episode where the Griffins’ family dog, Brian, was hit by a car and died. Thousands have signed a petition to bring him back, despite the fact that the show’s creators have already cast a new shelter dog — voiced by The Sopranos' Tony Sirico — in his place. The doctors at BluePearl Veterinary Partners say they’re confident they could still save the Labrador Retriever. “If the writers of the show could somehow help Stewie Griffin get his time machine up and working to the point where they could get Brian to one of our specialty and emergency hospitals, we would use everything at our disposal to try to bring back one of America’s most beloved pooches,” said Dr. Jennifer Welser, chief medical officer of BluePearl.

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