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August 20, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Pregnancies are notoriously difficult to identify in giant pandas. The panda team at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., has been keeping a close eye on its female panda, Mei Xiang, in hopes that she might be expecting a cub. She had not been interested in cooperating for an ultrasound in recent days, but on Wednesday she responded to her keepers’ calls and chief veterinarian Dr. Don Neiffer jumped at the opportunity. He quickly discovered a 4-centimeter fetus and even saw it move, although he wasn’t able to detect a heartbeat. “All signs point to us currently having a healthy, viable fetus, based on the ultrasound,” Neiffer said. “So we are cautiously optimistic.” Based on the size of the fetus, veterinarians estimate the mom of two could give birth as early as next week, or possibly in early September. Still, they warn that there’s a substantial possibility that Mei could miscarry or reabsorb the fetus, something mammals sometimes do. — Read it at the Washington Post
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University have found that the tons of road salt that runs into ponds and streams after snow melts each year could have a negative impact on the health of wood frogs. They found that wood frog tadpoles that are exposed to the salt grew into larger frogs, which they expected would help their survival rate. But instead, they had higher than normal mortality rates. "We would predict the frogs that are larger at metamorphosis would do better — larger body mass is usually an indication that they are more fit," said study leader Kacey Dananay. "This study really shows that you need to look across multiple life stages to get a good look at what environmental pollutants are doing.” The study was published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. — Read it at Discovery News
In the midst of the rubble from the explosion at a chemical warehouse that killed at least 114 people in the Chinese city of Tianjin last week, rescue teams came across an adorable, unscathed puppy. Although it’s unclear whether the pup survived the blast or wandered into the area afterward, he’s become a symbol of hope on social media in China. Workers named the puppy “Shengua,” which translates to “Biochemistry.” Shengua reportedly refuses to leave his rescuers’ sides and has helped raised their spirits while they continue their difficult search efforts. — Read it at MTV
After years of searching for the K9 partner he served with in Afghanistan, Army Specialist Tyler Roberts was finally reunited with her Wednesday night in Colorado. Donna, a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois, sniffed out hundreds of pounds of ammonium nitrate while serving with Roberts in 2011. But when their deployment was over, the partners were separated. “I tried to follow her career so that I could adopt her after she retired, but I could never get a straight answer as to her whereabouts," Roberts said. It turns out that Donna was one of the 12 dogs who were adopted by a private contracting company and abandoned at Mt. Hope Kennels in Virginia. Since Mission K9 Rescue stepped in to help a few weeks ago, there have been several happy reunions for the hero dogs and the families who were looking for them. Now, Donna’s off to live a relaxing retired life with her pal. "I owe her my life and I intend to spoil her for the remainder of hers," said Roberts. — Watch it at Colorado’s 9News
It’s been unbearably hot this week, so you can’t blame a guy for wanting to take a dip in a backyard pool in Vancouver, Canada. Homeowner Tony Diering captured a video of a bear relaxing in his pool and then casually rolling over into the attached hot tub Monday. Diering said the bear broke down part of a wooden fence to get in to the yard. Just last month, Diering had another close encounter with a bear when one helped himself to the birdseed in his bird feeder. While he’s been fascinated to watch the bears, Diering said he hopes they’ll stay in the mountains now. — Watch it at Canada's CTV News
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