Pet Scoop: Three Cheetah Cubs Survive Tough Start, Katherine Heigl Helps Rescue Sochi Pups

Feb. 25, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

One of the cheetah cubs wears a T-shirt to protect its wounds after surgery.
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
One of the cheetah cubs wears a T-shirt to protect its wounds after surgery.

Cheetahs Get Round-the-Clock Care

Three cheetah cubs who were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are making huge strides thanks to extraordinary care from the cheetah team after they had to be removed from their mom. A litter of four cubs was born to mom Ally on Nov. 26 at the Virginia facility, which is affiliated with the National Zoo. About four weeks later, the cheetah staff noticed that one of the cubs had puncture wounds in the back of its neck from the way Ally was carrying it. The wounds led to an infection that the cub couldn’t recover from. The other three cubs were found to have neck wounds as well, so they were removed from Ally’s care and underwent surgery and treatment for infections. The cubs wore T-shirts while they healed to protect the wounds, and had to be tube-fed because they were past the point where they could learn to bottle feed but too young to eat solid food. The cheetah team was on duty 24 hours a day at the vet hospital for several weeks to care for the cubs. They’re now doing much better, have started eating solid food and will soon be returning to the SCBI facility. The team doesn’t feel that Ally could be successful with the cubs, so they are hoping that Miti, a cheetah at SCBI who had a litter just two weeks before Ally, will be able to foster the trio. — Read it from the National Zoo

Rare Kestrels Speed the Pace of Life

A new study finds that the destruction of forests on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean has forced its native kestrel to speed up the course of its life in order to survive. With forests now making up only 2 percent of the island, the birds are nesting in sugarcane fields. The birds living in agricultural areas have more offspring earlier in life and die earlier in “a sort of speeding-up of the pace of life,” said Samantha J. Cartwright, an ecologist at the University of Reading in England and an author of the study. They produce the same number of chicks in their lifetime as their forest counterparts, but in a shorter period of time. Researchers said that the birds’ resiliency is a good sign. In 1974, the island’s kestrel population dropped to just four, but it’s now up to 400. The study was published in the journal Current Biology. — Read it at The New York Times

Leopard Sparks Panic in Indian City

A leopard on the loose is causing chaos in Meerut, a city about 37 miles outside of the Indian capital of New Delhi. The wild cat evaded authorities while it walked inside an empty ward of an army hospital, a movie theater and an apartment block. Schools and markets were closed after the leopard was seen roaming city streets on Sunday. Authorities were having a hard time capturing the animal because of the large crowds that gathered to see it. The World Wildlife Fund called for better management of forests and other habitats for leopards. "Leopards are large territorial mammals, they need space to move around. Some of their corridors are getting blocked so there is bound to be an interface," said Deepankar Ghosh of WWF-India. — Read it from AFP via Yahoo

Actress Katherine Heigl met E! News correspondent Ali Fedotowsky at the airport in L.A. to help with the puppies she brought home from Sochi.
Actress Katherine Heigl met E! News correspondent Ali Fedotowsky at the airport in L.A. to help with the puppies she brought home from Sochi.

Katherine Heigl Helps Sochi Pup

The Olympics may be over, but the rescuing of stray dogs from Sochi continues as athletes and members of the media return home. Ali Fedotowsky, a former Bachelorette star and Olympic correspondent for E! News, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday from Sochi with two stray puppies. She was greeted by actress Katherine Heigl and her mother, Nancy Heigl, who are helping Fedotowsky to find homes for the pups. Katherine Heigl has seven dogs herself and co-founded the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, which matches shelter dogs with happy homes, with her mom in honor of her late brother. The pups were named Sochi and Adler, a Russian town near Sochi. The Heigls will care for the dogs for the next 2 to 4 weeks until they can be adopted. “Literally, I’ve received hundreds of requests already to adopt her,” Fedotowsky said of Adler. “I wasn’t going to bring her back just to add her to another shelter.” — Read it at ABC News via Yahoo

Feline Station Master Draws Tourists

After seven years on the job as station master at the Kishi station in Wakayama, western Japan, a cat named Tama continues to attract thousands of tourists each year. The nearly 15-year-old cat is credited with helping to turn around a rural area that had been suffering from a declining population. Tama draws tourists mainly from Hong Kong and Taiwan to the small station. She works four days a week, mostly sitting and getting her picture taken with visitors. When Tama’s not working, her “junior station master,” a 3-year-old calico named Nitama, entertains her fans. “The idea is clever, as the cat has become the symbol of the railway, attracting many tourists,” said Ka Wing Wu, a 22-year-old college student who came from Hong Kong see Tama.— Read it at the Wall Street Journal

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