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Nov. 23, 2015: 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 only four critically endangered northern white rhinos left in the world died Sunday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, bringing the species one step closer to extinction. Nola, 41, had been under veterinary care for a bacterial infection and had surgery Nov. 13 for a large abscess. She was getting around-the-clock care, but officials said her condition “worsened significantly” over the weekend. The zoo’s devastated staff said on Facebook they’ve been touched by the condolences they’ve been receiving from around the world, and that they’re still determined to save Nola’s species. Rhino populations have been decimated by illegal poaching. The last three northern white rhinos live at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where they are protected by guards. It’s unlikely those rhinos, who are all older, would be able to breed. The only male, Sudan, has a low sperm count and neither of the females, Najin and Fatu, is able to breed naturally. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo hope to have the technology in the future to use frozen material from northern white rhinos to reproduce the species through a surrogate pregnancy in a similar species. — Read it from the San Diego Zoo
A professor of aerospace engineering at UCLA worked with a penguin expert and other researchers to determine how penguins coming out of very cold water into very cold temperatures can keep ice from forming on their feathers. Scientists found their feathers had tiny pores that trap air, making the surface water repellant. They said the birds also apply oil produced by a gland near their tail to their feathers. The combination makes their feathers “superhydrophobic,” the researchers said. Researcher Pirouz Kavehpour, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of UCLA, hopes the findings can one day be applied to airplane design. “It’s a little ironic that a bird that doesn’t fly could one day help airplanes fly more safely,” he said. — Read it at Discovery News
A young female panda, Masala, was found unharmed about half a mile from the Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka, California, late Saturday night. The rare panda had been missing since Thursday, when she escaped from her enclosure, and there was an extensive search for her. Finally, a resident spotted her near her home and called the zoo. She guided Masala into a fruit tree to try to prevent her from taking off before the staff could arrive. The staff then coaxed her down from the tree and brought her back to the zoo, where she remains in quarantine. Two years ago, a red panda named Rusty had a similar adventure when he escaped from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.— Read it at the Los Angeles Times
In a “sign of solidarity” in the fight against the terrorist group ISIS, Russia’s Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said the nation plans to send a puppy to France following the high-profile death of the country’s police dog Diesel last week. The 7-year-old Belgian Malinois was killed during a raid outside Paris Wednesday that targeted terrorist suspects connected to the Nov. 13 attacks, which killed 129 people. Last week, Russia confirmed it was a bomb that brought down a Russian passenger jet on Oct. 31, killing all 224 people on board. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the explosion. The Russian ministry said the Alsatian puppy is named after Russian hero Dobrynya Nikitich, who they called “the personification of strength, goodness, courage and altruism” in a Facebook post. — Read it at Toronto’s Star
During a massive terror operation in Belgium Sunday evening, social media users were asked to stop sharing details of what was happening to protect the lives of the police officers who were involved. Twitter users obliged — and took it one step further. In an effort to confuse any terrorists who were following the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown, they “flooded it with pictures of their feline friends," Twitter said. The Tweets appeared to be aimed at making it harder to find details about what the police were doing. “Well played Belgium. Not giving in to fear and turning #BrusselsLockdown into the best hashtag of 2015 #Cats” Tweeted a user in the U.K., Tony Colville. — Read it at the Washington Post
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