Pet Scoop: Rhino Born From Artificial Insemination Thriving, Pups Help Hospital

June 24, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Ethan, an Indian rhino, was born using artificial insemination.
Ethan, an Indian rhino, was born using artificial insemination.

Baby Rhino Named for Hostage

Born at the Montgomery Zoo in Alabama, little Ethan is the first Indian rhino calf to live and thrive after being conceived using artificial insemination. When zoo staff decided that Ethan’s mom, Jeta, and dad, Himal, were too aggressive toward each other to mate naturally, they called in Dr. Monica Stoops, a vet who had pioneered the artificial insemination technique for rhinos at the Cincinnati Zoo. In February 2012, she used sperm from Himal that was frozen in 2004 to inseminate Jeta, and the pair’s calf was born on June 5. Mom and baby are “doing fantastic,” Stoops said. The newborn was named in honor of Ethan Gilman, the 6-year-old boy who was held hostage in Alabama in January. He visited the zoo just days after his incident ended, while Jeta was pregnant. — Watch it at Today

Rare Whale Spotted for First Time in 62 Years

On June 9, a critically endangered North Pacific right whale was seen for the first time since 1951 off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Biologists Graeme Ellis, John Ford and James Pilkington were able to observe the rare animal for a whole day. "It was a thrilling experience," said Ford. Ford estimates there are only a few hundred of these whales left worldwide. The whales were hunted to near extinction for their blubber and the baleen plates on the roofs of their mouths in the mid-19th century. Since then, they’ve also been threatened by run-ins with ships and getting caught in fishing gear. — Read it at Paw Nation

Giant Panda Has Twins in China

For the first time this year, a giant panda has given birth. Haizi, a panda at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan province, had twin cubs on Saturday. Staff at the center said one of the cubs, a female, weighs 2.79 ounces. But they haven’t been able to examine the second cub yet, as mom hasn’t let it out of her arms. — See photo at People Pets

One of the dogs from the Pennsylvania SPCA brightens the day of a worker at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
One of the dogs from the Pennsylvania SPCA brightens the day of a worker at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"Pet A Pooch" Relieves Stress

In a new partnership between the Pennsylvania SPCA and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, shelter dogs visit hospital workers as a way to help them relieve stress. With the monthly “Pet a Pooch” program, the people who work in the hospital get to visit with pups who “validate you as a human,” said Dr. Victoria Rich, the hospital’s chief nurse executive. And the dogs get the chance to get out of the shelter and socialize — and meet potential adopters. On the program’s trial, for example, all three dogs who were brought to the hospital were adopted. “Not only are these dogs providing stress release for staff, but the opposite is also true,” said Jerry Buckley, CEO of the Pennsylvania SPCA. — Read it at Life With Dogs

Video Shows Abandoned Dog’s Transformation

A new, heartwarming video from the nonprofit rescue group Hope for Paws shows how an abused street dog named Ralph learned to trust humans — and went from being abandoned to living happily with a new family. It took several days, and a lot of treats, for veteran animal rescuer Eldad Hagar and his volunteers to get Ralph into a cage, and then to a Los Angeles area veterinarian. Once he was there, Ralph tried to bite anything that came near his face. But the experienced rescuers were patient, and eventually Ralph came around. And after going through rehabilitation, the pup was placed with a loving family. — Read it and watch it at the Huffington Post

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