Pet Scoop: Rare White Humpback Whale Spotted, Firefighter Rescues and Adopts Kitten

July 9, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Researchers in New Zealand were stunned to see an "extremely rare" white humpback whale.
Researchers in New Zealand were stunned to see an "extremely rare" white humpback whale.

“Extremely Rare” Whale Surfaces

There have only been four white humpback whales reported in the wild — so researchers were stunned to see one of them surface in Cook Strait off New Zealand Monday. They photographed the whale swimming alongside a common black humpback whale. The team from the New Zealand Department of Conservation was counting the whales passing through the strait at the time. They believe the whale who surfaced was Migaloo, a famed white whale from Australia who’s believed to have fathered two white calves. They were able to get a skin sample from the whale and will do a DNA test to confirm if it was indeed Migaloo. "White humpbacks are extremely rare," said the team’s leader, Nadine Bott. “I have never seen anything like this in New Zealand," added marine mammal scientist Carlos Olavarria, who was also on the boat. Bott said the sighting was a promising indication that whale numbers are increasing in the waters off New Zealand. — Read it at ABC News

Study: Male Koalas Bellow to Avoid Conflict

In a peek into the love lives of koalas, researchers from Australia’s University of Queensland found that male koalas make distinct bellowing sounds to avoid problems with other males. "Unlike humans, who raise their voices in an argument, male koalas bellow their presence to avoid confrontation with other males in the breeding season," said Dr. Ben Ellis, a research fellow with the university. "They can tell who's bigger from their calls, and stay away from them. At the same time, they use their bellows to attract females." The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Science Daily

New Device Alerts Police to K9s Left in Hot Cars

An Ohio police department is using new technology to protect their four-legged officers. The Hot-N-Pop Pro is an alarm system that monitors the temperature inside the police car until the back door is opened and the K9 officer it taken out of the vehicle. If it gets too hot inside the car while the dog is still in the backseat, it takes action, sounding an alarm, putting the windows down and turning on a fan and the car’s air conditioning. A remote device on the human officer’s also allows them to open the door for the dog at the touch of a button. “That $1,100 spent for that system — it’s only a small amount compared to what my partner’s life means to me and our community,” said Twinsburg, Ohio, Police Officer Yamil Encarnacion. — Watch it at Colorado’s KOAA

Firefighter Valerie Ligi adopted the 4-week-old kitten she saved from the fence post where he was trapped.
Lake County Fire Rescue
Firefighter Valerie Ligi adopted the 4-week-old kitten she saved from the fence post where he was trapped.

Firefighter Rescues, Adopts Kitten

Two firefighters in Lake County, Florida, came to the rescue of a kitten who was trapped underground recently. Ron and Dot Gilbert heard cries coming from the side of their home and tore apart their bushes and flower garden to find a kitten, who they decided to adopt. But the cries kept coming, so they called the fire department. They found another kitten deep inside a fence post and completely out of reach. The homeowners agreed to let the firefighters dismantle their fence. Firefighter Valerie Ligi lay on her side and managed to get ahold of the squirming, crying kitten. “I can’t say enough about how impressed we were by Lt. Coulthart and Firefighter Ligi,” wrote the Gilberts in a letter to Lake County Public Safety. “They were both professional, courteous, compassionate and determined to effect a rescue.” And Ligi didn’t stop there — she took the 4-week-old kitten she saved home with her. “This particular 911 call turned out to be a very happy ending for all of us,” Ligi said. — Read it at the Orlando Sentinel

Fennec Fox Kit Surprises Zookeepers

Keepers at Zoo Wroclaw in Poland were surprised to see a tiny fox with big ears emerge from its den with its mom recently. They suspect the kit was born in early June, but this was the first time they’d seen it. Mom Tina has been doing a great job of protecting and nursing her baby. Fennec foxes are native to northern Africa, and their large ears give them excellent hearing capabilities. — Read it at Zooborns


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