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Dec. 29, 2016: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
An experienced and affectionate 41-year-old Sumatran orangutan mom gave birth to a baby boy in October, and soon took on the role of raising another baby born in her group. Jahe, 13, became overwhelmed soon after the birth of her first baby, and willingly handed her baby over to Matra. “This is a great relief for Jahe,” said Beatrix Köhler, a curator at the Hellabrunn Zoo in Germany. “Although she always watches Matra from afar, she is not interested in the child.” Experts have often observed that the most experienced mom in the group of orangutans tends to take care of all the offspring. The two infants share the same dad, Bruno. The Sumatran orangutan is listed as critically endangered in the wild. — Read it at Zooborns
As shocked fans mourned “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher, many wondered what would happen with her beloved French Bulldog, Gary. The dog was always by his owner’s side, and visited her at UCLA Medical Center after she suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles on Friday. Family friends say Gary will now live with Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd. Lourd has her own Frenchie, Tina, who was best friends with Gary. Fisher, 60, had said in the past that she wanted Gary, who acted as a service dog to help with her bipolar disorder, to live with Lourd if anything happened to her. The family suffered another tragic loss on Wednesday, when Fisher’s 84-year-old mother, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds, died one day after her daughter. — Read it at TMZ
Small unmanned aerial vehicles that are used by hobbyists have proved successful at spooking wayward elephants just enough to steer them away from private farmland in Tanzania, where they can get in trouble with farmers. Field trials by wildlife managers showed that when drones were flown overhead, the elephants would consistently leave the farmland where they were grazing. The study was published in the journal Oryx. — Read it at Seeker
Rob Tackett, a 34-year-old South Carolina firefighter and Army veteran, posed with a shelter puppy for the annual Charleston Animal Society Firefighter Calendar — and found a new best friend. The German Shepherd named Kimber was randomly placed with Tackett for the charity calendar’s photo shoot. The puppy had been found starving and suffering from mange on a roadside before being nursed back to health by the shelter. “He carried her around like a baby all day,” said Jen Coleman, assistant producer for the calendar shoot. “She had an abusive past, and she’s not great around men, but there was this instant connection and she warmed right up to him.” In a Facebook post earlier this month, Tackett said he has been training Kimber as a PTSD dog and plans to bring her to visit other veterans. — Read it at the New York Post
Orphan Annie was a tiny puppy when she was found all alone outside a few weeks ago by Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Officer Leyton. Annie was only a few weeks old at the time and Leyton brought her to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, where she stayed while they waited to see if an owner would come forward. When no one did, Leyton asked if he could foster the puppy, and he and his family fell in love with her. Now that she’s 8 weeks old and ready for adoption, Officer Leyton has officially made Annie part of his family. — See photo from the Fairfax County Animal Shelter’s Facebook
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