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Oct. 30, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Manatee Gets Buoyancy Help
An injured adult manatee who’s being treated at SeaWorld Orlando has been fitted for a specially designed wetsuit to help him with his problems with buoyancy and surface breathing. The animal was rescued on Oct. 11 near Jacksonville, Fla., floating unusually high in the water. His rescuers believe he is suffering from boat strike injuries and other ailments. Wetsuits have been used over the last 20 years to help rehabilitate some manatees, although their design has evolved over time. The manatee remains in critical condition, but he’s gained weight and his buoyancy troubles have improved since his arrival at SeaWorld. The animal care team is cautiously optimistic that he’ll recover. So far this year, SeaWorld has rescued 16 manatees and returned 8 to their natural environment.
Researchers from the American Museum of Natural History and the Wildlife Conservation Society have identified a new species of humpback dolphin living off the northern coast of Australia. Humpback dolphins live in such diverse geographical areas that isolated populations have evolved into distinct species to fit their local habitat, researchers say. This is the fourth distinct species to be found. "Morphologically, these guys are not all that different from other dolphin species, but we were surprised to see that the genetic data came out quite different,” said study co-author Martin Mendez. The study was published in the journal Molecular Ecology. — Read it at Live Science
Mike Day’s fellow firefighters in Wenatchee, Wash., have dubbed him the “dog whisperer” after saving a 5-month-old Labrador Retriever with 15 minutes of mouth-to-snout resuscitation. Loki, the puppy, accidentally started the fire in his owner’s apartment when he tried to reach a bag of dog food that was left on the stovetop. Chris Cummings, the owner, said Loki was locked in his crate when he left the apartment, but that he managed to get out and jump on top of the stove, turning it on in the process. Loki, who’s the fourth dog Day has saved using mouth-to-snout resuscitation, is expected to make a full recovery. — Read it at Paw Nation
Baby Olinguito Found in Colombia
If you thought the olinguito, the mammal species discovered in August and described as a “cross between a teddy bear and house cat,” couldn’t get any cuter, you haven’t seen the critter as a baby. Scientists with the conservation group SavingSpecies spotted the baby, who was about the size of a kitten, on a trip to Colombia’s La Mesenia Reserve Forest. The olinguito has been hiding in plain sight for years. One even lived in U.S. zoos in the 1960s and 1970s but it was mistaken for an olingo, a related group of mammals. It was the first carnivore to be discovered in more than 30 years. Genetic analysis has found that there are actually four subspecies of the olinguito. — Read it at National Geographic
Imagine an app where you could ask for an adorable kitten to be delivered to you for 15 minutes of playtime, for a $20 fee. That was a reality for residents in Seattle, San Francisco and New York — but only for National Cat Day on Tuesday. Cheezburger, the ASPCA and Uber, an app-based ride-hailing service, worked together to bring felines to visit cat lovers. But this wasn't just about snuggling kittens; the goal was to get people thinking about becoming full-time cat owners. As part of the kitten visit, Uber agreed to transport customers who were interested in keeping the cat they were cuddling to a local adoption center where they could apply to make the kitty a permanent part of their family. Each kitten was escorted by an experienced handler, and they were given “shifts” to make sure they weren’t overwhelmed. “Playing with them for 15 minutes is the introduction so that we're able to open up the conversation" about adoption, said the ASPCA’s Alison Jimenez.— Read it at Today
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