Pet Scoop: Rare Florida Panther Released, Cameraman Reveals Irwin’s Final Moments

March 11, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Once her crate was opened, the rehabilitated panther took a quick look around before taking off like a shot.
Florida Fish and Wildlife
Once her crate was opened, the rehabilitated panther took a quick look around before taking off like a shot.

Rehabilitated Panther Runs Wild

An endangered Florida panther who was found injured last May was released into the wild late Monday afternoon. She was about 9 months old when she was rescued by Florida Fish and Wildlife after apparently being hit by a vehicle. The kitten was treated for a fracture in her right hind leg, rib fractures and bruising around her lungs. After having surgery that used a steel plate to mend her leg, she recovered at White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Fla. Officials had planed to release her twice last week, but they had to postpone it because she eluded capture in her 5-acre pen at the center. She finally ran free on private land in Hendry County. “She’ll settle into a home range and hopefully before the year is out, she might even be giving birth to kittens,” said the FWC’s Darrell Land. There are only about 160 of the endangered species remaining in the wild in southern Florida. — Watch it at CBS Miami

Vermont Bats Begin Recovery After Epidemic

A biologist has some good news for bats: he thinks the worst of the deadly white nose syndrome is over in Vermont, one of the places where it was first identified. "I suspect we are at the beginning of a long road toward recovery," said Scott Darling, a biologist with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife. The disease has killed tens of thousands of bats since the early 2000s. Since it was found in Vermont, though, the disease has spread to bat populations across the country, where it’s continuing to have a devastating effect. White nose has killed up to 90 percent of some bat species. — Read it from the AP via the Sacramento Bee

Cameraman Discusses The Crocodile Hunter’s Death

Eight years after Steve Irwin’s shocking death, the cameraman who was filming him at the time is speaking out. Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray while shooting Animal Planet’s The Crocodile Hunter off the coast of Australia in September 2006, at the age of 44. “He just sort of calmly looked up at me and said, 'I'm dying,' and that was the last thing he said," Justin Lyons told Australian morning show Studio 10 on Sunday. Lyons was friends with Irwin, who called the cameraman his “right-hand man.” Lyons gave graphic detail about the incident, and described how he tried to save Irwin’s life. He said he hopes that the footage he shot that day will never be seen. Irwin’s wife, Terri, has said the video had been destroyed. — Read it at People Pets

Brin, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, detects endangered geometric tortoises for a conservation group in South Africa.
CapeNature
Brin, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, detects endangered geometric tortoises for a conservation group in South Africa.

Dog Sniffs Out Rare Tortoise

The conservation group CapeNature in South Africa is getting help from 2-year-old Brin, a Belgian Malinois, in tracking down the country’s most endangered land tortoise. She started working full time to find the geometric tortoise late last year. While canines have been used to detect animals in the U.S., this is the first live target conservation detection to be done in South Africa. Brin’s work is helping with monitoring, population estimates and in search and rescue operations. There are only a few hundred of the tortoises believed to be living in the wild. The geometric tortoise is found only in the low-lying shrublands of South Africa's Western Cape province, and faces threats from wheat and wine farming, as well as urban development. — Read it from AFP via Yahoo News

Baby Seal Washes Ashore in Brooklyn

A group of teens had an unusual sighting in Brooklyn on Sunday afternoon. They spotted a baby seal sunning itself on pavement at the Newtown Creek Nature Walk, and called the police because they weren’t sure if it needed help. The teens said they attempted to lead it back to the water without touching it. Kimberly Durham, rescue project director with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in Long Island, said the animal was just fine. It had no injuries and was “alert and aware.” Once it was done enjoying the sun, it popped back into the water and swam off. — Read it at the New York Daily News

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