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Jan. 19, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
The staff at the Como Zoo in Minnesota knew that Markisa, a 27-year-old Sumatran orangutan, would need a Caesarian section to have her baby because she’d had one in the past. A team of 15 experts, including veterinary and human doctors, was on hand to deliver the baby at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center on Jan. 7. The healthy baby girl weighed in at a robust 3 ½ pounds. Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered, and C-sections are very rare. There have only been about a dozen C-sections recorded out of more than 1,200 orangutan births in captivity. The procedure went smoothly and Markisa is back home at the Como Zoo. Her newborn is being bottle-fed while she recovers from her surgery. She’ll be reintroduced to her mom over the next few weeks. The birth is considered very important to the species because mom Markisa is one of the most genetically valuable female Sumatran orangutans in North America. — Read it at Zooborns and see more cute zoo babies
New research from the University of California at Santa Cruz on bottlenose dolphins and Weddell seals suggests the animals face cardiac challenges when they hold their breath for deep dives. Marine mammals have a dive response, which is a sharp drop in heart rate as they try to conserve oxygen. But when they need to exert themselves to chase prey, there’s a conflict, and the normal response is an increase in heart rate. The study finds that the conflicting signals in the mammal’s heart can cause unsteady cardiac rates and rhythms, or arrhythmias. Researchers documented arrhythmias in more than 70 percent of the dives. "This study is not saying that these deep-diving animals will die if they exercise hard at depth," said the study’s lead author, Terrie Williams. "Rather, it raises questions about what happens physiologically when extreme divers are disturbed during a dive, and it needs further investigation." The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications. — Read it at Discovery News
When Joe Dungan returned from lunch to his job at a water treatment plant in Andalusia, Iowa, he was greeted by a black dog who was trying desperately to get his attention. Then, Dungan saw what the dog was trying to tell him. “I looked over in this hole over here and the other dog was in the water trying to get out," Dungan said. He called 911, and authorities used a rescue boat to pull a black Labrador Retriever from the icy waters. They covered him in a wool blanket and helped him warm up in a city truck. "Its a good thing that we got to him when we did," said Byron Reynolds, who works with the city’s animal control. The lucky dog’s life was saved by his fellow canine. — Read it at ABC 7 Los Angeles
A Canadian couple was visiting Elvis Presley’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, to celebrate the King’s 80th birthday this month when their dog was stolen from their car. Surveillance video outside the restaurant where Lori and Terry Travis were having dinner showed a thief grabbing Dixie, a Yorkshire Terrier, and throwing her into the backseat of a getaway car. Memphis police and the city’s residents jumped in to help. A series of tips led police to an address where Dixie was found about a week later. The owners drove back from Houston for an emotional reunion with their dog. The police are questioning suspects in the case in an effort to track down the culprit, and the mayor presented the couple with a key to the city. — Watch it at Today
Last summer, while volunteering with Wildtracks in Belize, 19-year-old Mitchell Thomas helped save an adorable orphaned baby manatee. Thomas sat in the back of the truck with the calf, who was in pain and having trouble breathing, on the way to a rehabilitation center. “I was very concerned he wouldn’t make it through the first night. He proved to be a real fighter though!” Thomas wrote on Imgur, where he recently shared the story of the rescue. “For the next week he had someone in the water supporting him 24 hours a day.” The calf was named Mitch after the teen, and Thomas says the little guy’s personality started to come out as his health and strength improved. Mitch is still recovering at Wildtracks and now has another rescued calf to spend his days with. Mitchell looks forward to seeing him when he returns to volunteer this summer, and the group plans to return the calf to the wild when he’s ready. — Read it and see photos at Buzzfeed
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