Pet Scoop: Smart Dolphin Seeks Out Human Help, Dog Rescued From Lake Michigan Ice

Jan. 23, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A clever dolphin sought help from a diver when he was tangled in fishing line.
A dolphin sought help from a diver when he was tangled in fishing line.
Divers Save Dolphin in Hawaii

During a night dive in Hawaii on Jan. 11, a group of divers was expecting to see dozens of manta rays, but instead, they had an amazing encounter with a dolphin in need of help. The experienced divers could see that the dolphin was under stress and had a fishing line wrapped around his left fin — and was approaching the humans for help. “I gestured with my index finger, come here, and he swam right up to me,” said Keller Laros, the founder of Manta Pacific Research Foundation. “The fact that he recognized my gesture, that blew me away.” The dolphin let Laros cut the line with a tool he had, even turning over to help him out. He then swam to the surface for air, and came right back to let Laros finish the job of untangling him before swimming away. “That was just amazing to think that that animal is that smart,” Laros said. — Watch it at CBS News

Apes Get iPads at D.C. Zoo.

The National Zoo’s orangutans have gone high-tech with Apps for Apes, a program that’s incorporated the use of iPads into apes’ lives at 12 zoos around the world. So far, Bonnie, 36, likes to bang on the drums, Kyle, 16, prefers to tickle the ivories on the piano app and Iris, 25, is happy to watch fish splash in a digital koi pond. “It’s about changing up the day-to-day lives of our animals,” said keeper Becky Malinsky. “The iPad offers another way to engage their sight, touch and hearing.”— Watch them at the National Zoo

A Cat-Free New Zealand?

The claws are coming out among cat lovers in New Zealand, where environmental activist Gareth Morgan is campaigning for a feline-free country in order to save native birds. "That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer," says his campaign’s web site, Cats to Go. He suggests people neuter their cats and make their current cats their last. The campaign hasn’t been well received in New Zealand, which has one of the highest cat ownership rates in the world. "Don't deprive us of the beautiful companionship that a cat can provide individually and as a family," said Bob Kerridge, the president of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.— Read it at AP via Yahoo News

A Chicago police team spent three hours rescuing this Shepherd from thin ice.
A Chicago police team spent three hours rescuing this Shepherd from thin ice on Lake Michigan.

Cops Rescue Pooch From Thin Ice

A team from the Chicago Police Marine Unit spent three hours rescuing a 1-year-old Shepherd mix from thin ice in Jackson Harbor, which opens to Lake Michigan, on Tuesday. Officials think the dog, who appeared well cared for but wasn’t wearing tags, went out onto the ice after a Canada goose. He didn’t seem fazed to be sitting 300 yards out into the harbor, on two inches of ice in subzero temperatures, they said. Officers tried to shoo the dog toward shore, but he kept moving toward the open water where the geese were. "The dog was sitting kind of nice and peaceful but he was far out," said Marine Unit Police Officer Nial Funchion. "I was amazed he was lasting so long . . . He was out there for hours." They were finally able to safely tranquilize the dog, and get him off the ice to safety. Authorities are now trying to find his owner. — Watch it at the Chicago Tribune

Mama Bear Knows Best Place to Call Home

A four-year study from the University of Alberta in Canada finds that young grizzly bears learn about habitat selection from their mothers. "There are a number of strategies that appear to be handed down from generation to generation from mother to offspring. It's the 'nurture' side of the equation that is shaping the life of the bear," said lead author Scott Nielsen. The study was published in the online journal PLOS ONE.— Read it at Science Daily

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