Pet Scoop: Rare Amur Leopard Twins Born, Car Destroyed to Save Trapped Kitten

August 5, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

One of two Amur leopard cubs explores its surroundings at the Twycross Zoo in England.
One of two Amur leopard cubs explores its surroundings at the Twycross Zoo in England.

Cubs Explore Outdoors in England

Two of the world’s rarest big cats were born at Twycross Zoo in central England to mom Kristen and dad Davidoff. The critically endangered Amur leopard cubs are now 5 weeks old and starting to venture outside their den, and the zoo announced their births on Wednesday. Amur leopards are facing extinction, with less than 70 left in the wild. They’re threatened by habitat loss and poachers who hunt them for their fur. This is the second pair of cubs for Kristen and Davidoff. Their first cubs, Arina and Alexei, are now 2 years old and moving on to adulthood in other zoos. — Read it at CNN

Study: Birds Sleep While They Fly

Bird experts have found that the frigatebirds, who make foraging flights for weeks at a time over the ocean, actually take short naps while in-flight. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology fitted the seabirds with GPS devices that recorded data as they flew journeys lasting up to 10 days and 1,800 miles. They found that the birds were awake and alert during the day, but at night they would switch to short-wave sleep that could last up to several minutes at a time. They were surprised to find that the birds could switch off both hemispheres of their brains while flying, although most often they’d switch off just one side of their brain so they could avoid collisions. Still, the birds only slept for an average of 42 minutes a day while flying — far less than the 12 hours a day they get while they’re on land. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications. — Read it at Discovery News via Seeker

105-Year-Old Orca Stuns in New Photos

J2 Granny, the oldest known living orca, who’s estimated to be around 105, was spotted “in high spirits” with several other whales last month near San Juan Island in Washington. Amazing pictures of the whale leaping out of the water were posted to the Orca Network by photographer Heather MacIntyre. The average life span of a wild orca is 60 to 80 years. MacIntyre posted that Granny was “looking gorgeous,” and, “She and J27 (another member of her pod) spent more time out of the water than in it!” — See photos at Seattle’s KIRO 7

A mechanic had to cut into the dashboard of a Monte Carlo to free the owner's kitten.
A mechanic had to cut into the dashboard of a Monte Carlo to free the owner's kitten.

Car Sacrificed to Rescue Kitten

For 20 hours, Florida resident Denise Wilford-Neal tried to lure her newly adopted kitten out of the dash console of her car, but he wouldn’t come out. Even taking the dashboard apart piece-by-piece didn’t work. Finally, a mechanic who came to her home to help told her he thought the only way to free the kitten was to cut into the dash, which would destroy the Monte Carlo. Worried about the kitten’s safety in the extreme heat, Wilford-Neal gave the OK to do it. Minutes later, the kitten was free — and Wilford-Neal decided to name him after her car, Monte. She said he’s “just a baby” and well worth the $600 value of the car. — Read it at Florida’s CBS 12

Girl Has Priceless Reaction to Getting a Puppy

Nine-year-old Collette desperately wanted a Shiba Inu puppy for years. Her mom said she was "an ambassador for the breed, wallpapering her room with pictures of Shiba Inus, giving an oral report to her class in first grade on Shiba Inus, and collecting anything that bore the likeness of a Shiba Inu." When her family made her dream come true for her birthday, Collette’s reaction was everything they’d hoped it would be. The video camera was rolling when they presented her with a puppy — and her tears of joy may leave you in need of a few tissues, too. — Watch it at Today


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