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Feb. 24, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
A homeless dog wandered onto the right field at the right time in Phoenix last week, and quickly became the unofficial spring training mascot for the Milwaukee Brewers. Team members named him Hank, for baseball great Hank Aaron, and a staff member brought him to the vet for shots and a bath. He’s been spending time all over the organization, from the playing fields to the ticket office and the team store — where he was outfitted with Brewers gear. And he’s been going home with different members of the Brewers organization each night to get some sleep in a warm bed. “Rest assured, Hank’s stray days are over, one way or another he’ll continue to be well taken care of,” the team says in a blog post. — Read it at the Brewers’ MLB Blog
Conservationists say lemurs are on the brink of extinction following the 2009 military-backed coup and political crisis in Madagascar. There are 101 lemur species, and they live only in Madagascar, where they face threats from deforestation and poaching. “If things don't turn around, lemur extinctions will start happening," said Mitch Irwin of Northern Illinois University. He’s one of the authors of an article on the lemurs’ plight in the journal Science. The upheaval in the nation has brought the lemurs’ situation to a head, with international donors withdrawing funding and conservation laws going unenforced. The researchers also warned that the loss of lemurs "would likely trigger extinction cascades," and recommended measures to stop the loss. — Read it at Live Science
A new study finds that tadpoles will sometimes eat each other — but only when other resources are scarce. By consuming a species that’s the same as your own, “you can basically get everything you need from one source," said study co-author Dale Jefferson. He and other researchers based at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada found that the tadpoles only turned on each other under conditions of starvation, and they otherwise chose alternative food sources. Their findings were published in the journal Naturwissenschaften. — Read it from Live Science via Yahoo
Giant Pandas Arrive in Belgium
Male and female panda pair Xing Hui and Hao Hao traveled more than 12 hours in transparent boxes from China to Belgium, where they were greeted like celebrities on Sunday. The couple will live at Pairi Daiza, a wildlife park about 30 miles from Brussels, for the duration of a 15-year loan. "For our economy, commerce, our scientific and cultural ties, this is truly a major event," said Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo. The beloved black and white bears have been known to increase visitors at some zoos by 50 percent upon their arrival. Giant pandas are endangered, with about 1,600 of them remaining in the wild. — Read it from Reuters and watch it from AP
The nominees who don’t get one of the coveted golden statuettes at the Academy Awards on March 2 will still be big winners where animals are concerned. Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres’ pet food company, Halo, and its partner Freekibble.com will give 20 non-winning nominees 10,000 meals to donate to the animal shelter or rescue of their choice. The gift is part of the famed luxurious celebrity swag gift bags, each filled with products and services totaling about $55,000. It’s a departure from the typical leisure and pampering products the nominees usually receive — but at $6,100, it’s one of the most expensive items in the bag.
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