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Dec. 21, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
For the first time in nearly 20 years, biologists using GPS tracking have discovered a new ocelot den on Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. And inside, they rejoiced at finding a 3-week-old male kitten. The researchers examined the endangered kitten, took photos and left the area as quickly as possible to avoid disturbing his 11-year-old mom. She returned soon after. There are seven known female ocelots at the refuge, and three of the others have recently been photographed with healthy-looking kittens following closely behind them. But this was the first den the researchers have found. — Read it from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
K9 Officer Rachel sniffed out explosives for the Chicago Police Department for 10 years, until she recently developed a rapidly spreading form of cancer. The dog had done some high-profile work in her career, including protecting the president and first lady. Minutes before Rachel was put down on Sunday, she was honored with a final call over the police radio. “All units standby,” a dispatcher said. “7323 canine Rachel. 7323 canine Rachel. No response for canine Rachel. This is a final call for Chicago Police Explosives canine Rachel.” The department shared its condolences for Officer Chuck Kocanda, her partner, on Facebook. — Read it at the Huffington Post
Researchers have found that even short-term feeding of widely available canned dog food lead to a significant increase of the chemical Bisphenol A in dogs. BPA is a widely used industrial chemical that’s found in many household items, including resins used to line metal storage containers like food cans. While the healthy dogs in the study did have minimal BPA in their blood when it was drawn as a baseline, their “BPA increased nearly three-fold after being on the either of the two canned diets for two weeks,” said author Cheryl Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The study was published in the journal Science of The Total Environment. — Read it at Science Daily
Firefighters in Fairfield, Connecticut, came to the rescue of a senior dog who was stuck on thin ice on Monday morning. Delilah, a 19-year-old Shepherd mix, wandered out onto an icy pond and couldn’t get back. Firefighters said Delilah’s owner did the right thing by calling for help instead of attempting to rescue the dog himself. When a firefighter stepped out onto the ice, it immediately broke. He was able to pull Delilah to safety using a rescue stick. The crew reminded citizens to follow the owner’s example and call 911 “if a pet or loved one falls through the ice.” — Read it at Connecticut’s WTNH
Pips the cat, who spends her days prowling around All Saints Church in England, recently found a cozy new place to sleep: in the baby Jesus’ manger in a Nativity set up inside the church. When children arrived recently to rehearse their Nativity play, they were surprised to find the doll playing Jesus on the floor, and Pips curled up in the straw. The cat was put outside for the rehearsal, but “we let her back in so the children could fuss over her during refreshments,” said the Rev. Christine French. French shared a photo of Pips napping in the manger on Twitter, and it went viral. — See photo at People Pets
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