Pet Scoop: SeaWorld Rescue Team Releases a Manatee, Two NYC Fat Cats Make Headlines

June 4, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

Claire the manatee was released in Florida
SeaWorld Orlando
Members of SeaWorld Orlando's animal rescue team released Claire the manatee back into open waters following a year of rehab.

SeaWorld Team Releases a Rehabbed Manatee

Just a year after she was rescued in Cape Canaveral, Fl., a 750-pound manatee named Claire was returned to the Banana River last week. When SeaWorld Orlando’s animal rescue team saved Claire, she weighed just 600 pounds and was suffering from injuries following a run-in with a boat. The group has so far released five manatees back into their native environments this year.

Name That Utterly Adorable Otter

An 8-pound, foot-long baby otter who was abandoned by his mother earlier this year in South Carolina has arrived at his new home at the Virginia Aquarium. All the little guy needs now is a name, so the aquarium is running a contest. You can submit your idea at — Read it at The Virginian-Pilot

Wayward Wallaby Captured in Pennsylvania

A Smithsonian Institution scientist says that he “broke up in laughter” when he first heard that someone had reported seeing a wallaby (a marsupial who looks like a small kangaroo) in the Crawford County area of Pennsylvania — until he spotted the animal himself the next day. The wallaby is in custody, while game commission officials look for his owner. — Read it at the Huffington Post

Sponge Bob the fat cat
Sponge Bob tipped the scales at 33 pounds when he first came to a New York City shelter.

Fat Cat Sponge Bob Soaks Up Nationwide Attention

He still weighs a hefty 30 pounds, but an orange cat named Sponge Bob has actually lost three pounds since he arrived at Manhattan’s Animal Haven after his owner died. The rescue group is now looking for a new owner who can stick to Sponge Bob's weight loss regimen.

After Sponge Bob made a recent appearance on the Today show, news of an even bigger kitty surfaced: Garfield, who lives at a shelter in Long Island, N.Y., has packed on 40 pounds. Of course, this isn't a contest. “We’re not putting [Sponge Bob] on the show to say look at this cat, isn’t it funny? Feline obesity is a real problem. This is not a healthy weight for him,” said Animal Haven associate director Kendra Mara on Today. — Read it at the NY Post and watch a video of Sponge Bob at Today

Is Monkey Lip-Smacking a Precursor to Human Speech?

A new study suggests that the way monkeys communicate by smacking their lips during face-to-face encounters may be more important to the emergence of human speech than primate vocalizations, like hoots and coos. — Read it at Discovery News

Queen of the Corgis

While England celebrates Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, People Pets celebrates her love of Welsh Corgis, a breed that she fell in love with as a child. — See the photos at People Pets

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