Pet Scoop: Sea Otter Who Raised 13 Orphans Remembered, Tornado Survivor Finds His Dog

March 6, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Toola the sea otter
Toola comforts one of her foster pups.

Toola the Foster Sea Otter Succumbs to Illness

A sea otter at the Monterey Bay Aquarium who'd been a foster mother to 13 orphaned pups — even while she battled a neurological illness — died on Saturday. She was estimated to be between 15 and 16 years old. "Toola led us to the solution over how best to raise otter pups: Let an otter do it," said Steve Shimek, director of the nonprofit Otter Project. “There is no other single sea otter that had a greater impact upon the species,” an aquarium veterinarian told NPR. — Read it at the San Francisco Chronicle

Tornado Survivor Reunites With His Dog

After sorting through what was left of his Alabama home, Greg Cook was relieved to find his dog, Coco. “I love my dog, he's my best friend, and I was just so happy to see him,” he said. — Read it at People Pets

Super Tuesday Political Pet Roundup

Hank the Cat, the Maine Coon who’s running for a Senate seat in Virginia, responded on his Facebook page to an “attack ad” launched by a Super PAC called Canines for a Feline-Free Tomorrow. “They’re already afraid of me in Washington!” said Hank. A Virginia-based comedy troupe was behind the ad, which accuses Hank of not releasing his birth certificate and not admitting to using catnip, among other things. — See it at Today

Plus: This week, The New Yorker features its own take on Mitt Romney's dog-on-the-roof scandal, with a cover illustration that depicts rival Rick Santorum inside a doghouse on top of a car. — See it at Today

Cheetah on Tropicana Field
Busch Gardens
A Busch Gardens cheetah crosses the 30-yard line.

Cheetahs Take Over Tropicana Field

These guys could clearly outrun any football player. Several cheetahs — the most popular new residents at Busch Gardens Tampa — took to St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field to show off just how fast they can move. “Even though we have this awesome habitat at Busch Gardens, a 100-yard football field will give us the opportunity to showcase what that speed looks like on a field that people can relate to,” said Tim Smith, a Busch Gardens assistant curator. Their run will be broadcast on Friday in the latest installment of the Save a Species series.

A Zoo Penguin in Japan Is on the Lam

Officials from a Tokyo zoo are hunting for a Humboldt penguin who seems to have gotten over a rock wall, escaping from an enclosure that the animal shares with 134 other penguins. “Sometimes wildlife have an 'explosive' power when frightened by something. Maybe it ran up the rock after being surprised," said an official at Tokyo Sea Life Park. — Read it at Discovery News

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