Pet Scoop: Rare Giraffes Moved Across the Nile, 12-Year-Old Lost Lab Falls in Icy Pond

Feb. 4, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Six giraffes catch a ride across the Nile River in Uganda as conservationists try to expand their range.
Six giraffes catch a ride across the Nile River in Uganda as conservationists try to expand their range.

Giraffes Released in New Home

In an effort to increase the range of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, experts in Uganda have moved 18 of the animals from the northern part of Murchison Falls National Park, where the majority of the species’ population resides, to the southern portion. In the three-week long Operation Twiga, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, supported by the  Giraffe Conservation Foundation, moved the giraffes to an area where there hadn’t been any in at least 200 years, reported Uganda’s  New Vision last month. The move included a ride across the Nile River — and resulted in some  incredible photos. The team made three trips with six giraffes at a time, and the final six animals were released Monday, GCF said. — Follow their journey on  Facebook

Study Reveals Which Penguins Hug the Most

Researchers have found that Gentoo penguins on the remote island of South Georgia, which is located between Argentina and Antarctica, are more likely to hug and huddle closely than other colonies. Their behavior seems to be linked to the weather: researchers found that the colder and wetter the weather, the tighter and larger the group of chicks huddle together. Using time-lapse cameras, they studied four colonies in the “post-guarding” period, which is the time when the parents leave the chicks to go and find fish. Chicks in the other colonies aggregated, too, but did so less often and in smaller groups. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Discovery News

Only Known U.S. Jaguar Caught on Video

Remote cameras have caught rare footage of El Jefe, who’s believed to be the only wild jaguar living in the U.S., prowling around in the Santa Rita Mountains near Tucson, Arizona. The male cat has been photographed more than 100 times by trail cameras but this is the first video of him. He was named by schoolchildren in a contest last year, and his name is Spanish for “the boss.” Conservationists placed cameras in strategic locations after using dogs to sniff out El Jefe’s likely whereabouts. The adult male cat likely came from the closest breeding population of jaguars in Sonora, Mexico, more than 125 miles to the south. — Watch it at National Geographic

Tucker was reunited with his family after being found shivering in an icy pond.
Tucker was reunited with his family after being found shivering in an icy pond.

Lost Lab Saved From Pond

A sheriff’s deputy in Orange County, Virginia, responded to a call early Tuesday morning about a 12-year-old Labrador Retriever who had fallen through an ice covered pond. The deputy arrived and found the dog standing in water up to his chest about 50 feet from shore and unable to get out. The dog spotted the deputy and barked in desperation as the officer turned back to his car to call for more help. A firefighter in an ice rescue suit was able to pull the shivering dog out and bring him to shore, and the dog was taken for veterinary treatment. On Wednesday morning, the dog was reunited with his owner. It turned out that Tucker had escaped from his home Monday night, and is now back home recovering after his harrowing ordeal. — Read it from the Orange County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office via Facebook

Rail Workers Rescue Percy the Platypus

An adorable young duck-billed platypus was spotted in an unusual location Wednesday — inside a storm drain at a train station in Caboolture, Australia. The Queensland Rail staff rescued him, named him Percy and brought him to the Australia Zoo for a checkup. Percy only had a short stay at the zoo. He was found to be in good health and released into a creek that’s popular with platypuses later that day. “Percy was keen to explore his new surroundings and barreled out of his transportation container with gusto,” the zoo said. — See photos at Buzzfeed


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