Pet Scoop: Rescued Wolf Pups Move to Minnesota, NFL Team to Use Real Dog Mascot

July 16, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

The five wolf pups who were rescued in Alaska in May arrived at the Minnesota Zoo Tuesday.
The five wolf pups who were rescued in Alaska in May arrived at the Minnesota Zoo Tuesday.

Orphaned Wolves Find New Home

In May, we told you about the five adorable gray wolf pups firefighters rescued from the massive Funny River wildfire in Alaska. Officials think their parents abandoned the then 2-week-old pups in their den because of the fire and activities of firefighters in the area. The two females and three males recovered at the Alaska Zoo until Tuesday, when they were flown via Delta Airlines to their new permanent home at the Minnesota Zoo. The lively pups, who are now 9 weeks old, will remain a pack. One pup is named X-Ray, after the fire crew that saved them. The others were named after the hometowns of the four firefighters who saved them: Gannett, Hooper, Huslia and Stebbins. “They are growing but still adorable,” said Minnesota Zoo spokesman Josh Le. — Read it at Minnesota’s Star Tribune

Could Cat Parasite Help Fight Cancer?

Usually, we hear negative things about Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can be found in cats’ intestines. But new research finds it could actually help people. Researchers discovered that introducing it into a tumor environment can jumpstart the immune system. "We know biologically this parasite has figured out how to stimulate the exact immune responses you want to fight cancer," said David J. Bzik, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. Using T. gondii, Bzik and his colleagues created “cps,” an immunotherapeutic vaccine. "Aggressive cancers too often seem like fast moving train wrecks. Cps is the microscopic, but super strong, hero that catches the wayward trains, halts their progression, and shrinks them until they disappear,” he said. Lab tests of cps on mouse models of melanoma and ovarian cancer found unprecedented high rates of cancer survival. — Read it at Science Daily

Deep-diving Fish Use Fluorescence to Change Color

With an environment that’s mostly blue and green, it’s hard for fish to show off their colors in deep water. A new study finds that in deep water, fish glow more, converting blue-green light into red light. "Under light conditions that do not provide the full spectrum — the full rainbow of colors that we have at the surface — it's really nice to have fluorescence, because you can still have those missing colors," said study researcher Nico Michiels of the University of Tüebingen in Germany. In the study, fish caught at depths of 66 feet glowed red more readily than those of the same species caught at depths of 16 feet. "Some of these species are six times more fluorescent in deeper water than in shallow water," Michiels said. The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. — Read it at Live Science

A shipment of 67 giant African land snails were seized at the Los Angeles International Airport.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
A shipment of 67 giant African land snails were seized at the Los Angeles International Airport.

Giant African Snails Seized at LAX

Customs inspectors at Los Angeles International Airport confiscated a shipment of 67 of the invasive snails, Homeland Security officials said Monday. The snails can grow up to 8 inches long and 5 inches wide, and are considered one of the most destructive land snail species in the world. The snails were found in a shipment from Nigeria that was bound for San Dimas, California. It was the largest shipment of the snails that customs officials have seen. "These pests are a very serious threat to our agriculture, natural ecosystem, public health and economy,” officials said. — Read it at NBC Bay Area

NFL Team to Use Live Dog as Mascot

The Cleveland Browns have long had mascots consisting of humans in dog costumes rooting for the team on the sidelines. Starting in the fall, though, they’ll have the real thing: a live Bull Mastiff named Swagger will lead the team onto the field at FirstEnergy Stadium, a team executive told a local radio station. The pooch will lead the Dawg Pound, the rowdy fans who sit in the bleacher section in the east end zone, in cheers.  — Read it at ESPN

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