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Sept. 9, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
A major new study finds that giraffes aren’t one species made up of several subspecies, as scientists long believed. Instead, genetic analysis of the animals found that there are actually four very distinct groups of giraffes: the southern giraffe, Masai giraffe, reticulated giraffe and northern giraffe. The recognition of four different giraffe species could have significant conservation implications. “Northern giraffe number less than 4,750 individuals in the wild, and reticulated giraffe number less than 8,700 individuals — as distinct species, it makes them some of the most endangered large mammals in the world,” said Julian Fennessy of Giraffe Conservation Foundation. The findings were published in the journal Current Biology. — Read it at Phys.org
Fifteen days after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake reduced the Italian city of Amatrice to rubble, a cat was pulled alive from the destruction. Firefighters could hear soft meows while they were working to retrieve personal effects from a home that collapsed in the quake. In a video, a firefighter can be seen sifting through the rubble to uncover the cat. The cat can be seen turning his head to watch as the firefighter works to free him from the spot where he was trapped. Pietro was weak with dehydration but still had feistiness left — he tried to scratch his rescuer’s hand as he pulled him out. Pietro did suffer from a broken jaw in his ordeal. Last week, a Golden Retriever named Romeo was pulled from the rubble after being trapped for nine days. — Read it at ABC News
New research suggests the warming climate could be much more dangerous for the thousands of lizard species in the world than previously thought. The cold-blooded animals rely on the environment to regulate their internal temperature, making them especially sensitive to climate changes. “The real fear is that previous research has underestimated the risk of extinction,” said study co-author Mike Angilletta of Arizona State University. “Most models assume that an animal can be anywhere in its environment at any time, which doesn't account for how much energy an animal spends to regulate its temperature. Animals have to move and search for shade, which makes cooling down more difficult when patches of shade are far apart.” — Read it at the Christian Science Monitor
A dog found near the site of the World Trade Center towers that fell in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, will soon mark the 15th anniversary of her adoption by a family in New Jersey. The Husky, German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix was about 2 years old when she was found roaming the streets of New York on Sept. 12, 2001. When the Pagano family heard about the city’s crowded shelters in the wake of the attacks, they decided to adopt, and fell in love with Cody, who then helped them through the stressful days that followed. Now 17 years old, Cody is still making them smile. “She can’t climb stairs anymore but her attitude is amazing,” said Pam Pagano. “But every now and then she drags us down to the park for a mile-and-a-half walk.” Her husband, Sam, reflected on their time with Cody. “As the anniversary of that fateful day approaches we are so thankful for 15 years with Cody and all that she has taught us about love and life,” he said. — Read it at People Pets
There was a happy ending for a mother manatee and her calf after they got stuck in a waterlogged filtration marsh in Florida due to increased water and wind from Hurricane Hermine. With the help of more than a dozen volunteers, the 1,500-pound mom and her 500-pound baby were lifted out of the marsh. Biologists with Florida Fish and Wildlife assessed them and found they were in good condition. They were released back into the local Crystal River. — See photos from Florida Fish and Wildlife via Facebook
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