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Dec. 8, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Delivering on its promise, Russian officials gave a 7-month-old German Shepherd puppy to the French Embassy in Moscow Monday to symbolically take the place of a heroic French police dog. Diesel, a Belgian Malinois, was killed last month in a raid on the apartment of the alleged mastermind of the deadly Paris terrorist attacks claimed by ISIS. The puppy, named Dobrynya after a medieval knight, was handed to French ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert at a ceremony attended by Russian and French soldiers. The gift was a symbol of solidarity from Russia, where ISIS claimed responsibility for bombing a passenger jet on Oct. 31. Ripert called the puppy an “extraordinary gift.” The puppy will now be in quarantine for up to three months before departing for France. — Read it at Agence France Presse via Yahoo
Major flooding in South Florida has shut down Zoo Miami to visitors for several days. The area has had 13 inches of rain since Dec. 1, flooding pathways and exhibits at the zoo and compromising the lion moats. The zoo closed at 11 a.m. Saturday, and remained closed on Sunday and Monday. Officials will decide Tuesday morning if it’s possible to reopen yet, but they said it was unlikely that the flooding would recede in time, and more rain is expected. “I have never, in my 36 years here, seen anything like this in December,” said Ron Magill, the zoo’s communications director. “The rain just won’t give up.” — Read it at The Miami Herald
Noise from boats has been shown to affect killer whales, impacting their ability to communicate with each other and to find food. But new research finds that the size of the vessel is less of a factor than the speed at which it’s traveling. Researchers temporarily attached digital recorders to a Pacific Northwest community of orcas to capture audio as they swam amid commercial and residential vessels. A research boat nearby then tracked the passing boats using a laser positioning tool to determine details of individual vessels. "It definitely seems that speed is the most important predictor of the noise levels whales experience," said lead author Juliana Houghton of the University of Washington. She and her team suggest limiting vessel speed to protect the animals. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Discovery News
After a massive storm knocked down his fence in Killorglin, Ireland, a donkey wandered into a field and found himself stranded in floodwaters. His owner called Animal Haven Animal Rescue, and the group jumped right in to save the donkey, despite the risk in the dangerous waters. They were able to pull him to safety, and his rescuers said he was smiling gratefully. He’s been named Mike for one of his rescuers, and the photos of his dramatic rescue have gone viral. “I think his smile made it right round the world by now,” the rescue group posted on Facebook Monday, and they’ve been thankful for donations made to help Mike and animals like him. He’s now enjoying being spoiled in a nice warm barn and is expected to make a full recovery. His grateful owner stayed by his side throughout the rescue and cried with relief once he was safe. Mike will go back home once he’s recovered and his fence is fixed. — Read it at People Pets
An adorable Sumatran tiger cub was born to first-time parents Dorcas and Berani on Nov. 19 at the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida. The critically endangered cub’s mom came from the same litter as Leeloo, who gave birth to her first baby just five days earlier at Zoo Miami. The Jacksonville Zoo staff was able to examine Dorcas’ cub for the first time Monday, and they determined the cub is a healthy baby girl. “She's eating well and mom is taking excellent care of her,” the zoo shared on Facebook. — See photos at Zooborns and check out more cute zoo baby photos
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