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June 14, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Two female lion cubs who were born on March 20 and an unrelated male cub, who was born on Feb. 20, arrived at Busch Gardens Tampa last month from a private zoological facility in South Africa. The three have genetic lines from the Kalahari and Kruger regions of South Africa, where lions are known for their large size. The cubs aren’t ready for their public debut just yet, but the two sisters do need names. In a poll on Busch Gardens' Facebook page, you can choose from Malaika and Mlinzi or Shtuko and Shaba. Voting is open until Tuesday. — For updates, follow the Busch Gardens Tampa Blog
Canine distemper virus, a potentially deadly disease, is posing a threat to endangered tigers in the wild. The big cats are being forced to live in smaller habitats, close to villagers and their dogs, many of whom carry CDV. The virus causes odd behavior in tigers, including making them less fearful of people, and it can be fatal. It’s infected 15 percent of the 400 Siberian tigers in the Russian Far East, killing three of them, reports the Wildlife Vets International conservation organization. Scientists suspect the disease is also a problem for tigers on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Although scientists are concerned about the disease in endangered tigers, the fortunate part is that the animals don’t seem to be spreading the disease among themselves because they’re not as social as other big cats. — Read it at National Geographic
Before you download that bird app on your phone, consider this: they may sound a little too real. “Repeatedly playing a recording of birdsong or calls to encourage a bird to respond in order to see it or photograph it can divert a territorial bird from other important duties, such as feeding its young,” said Tony Whitehead, public affairs officer for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Dr. Hilary Wilson, a developer for the Chirp! App, suggested keeping the volume low and using caution. “Birdsong is simply a pleasant sound to human ears, but to birds it is a powerful means of communication,” she said. — Read it at Discovery News
Two Maltese dogs looked so alike that an Alabama groomer accidentally mixed them up and returned them to the wrong owners. While one of the owners noticed right away that something was wrong, the other didn’t catch it. After nine days, the pets were finally exchanged and are back with the right people. “Oh he’s my little prince. He came back home. I’m so happy,” said one of the relieved owners. The groomer said it was changing the way it keeps records to ensure this doesn’t happen again. — Watch it at ABC News
There are less than 100 people living on Japan’s Cat Island — and several hundred wild (but friendly) cats. The cats have been legendary on Tashiro-jima since the 1800s, when the island was a popular stop along fishing routes. One legend involved a fisherman who accidentally dropped a rock, killing a cat. The fisherman, who feared retribution, then built a shrine in the cat’s honor. Now, numerous shrines to felines can be found throughout Cat Island. While the feline residents are loved by many, they are also being blamed for the sharp drop in the number of human residents on the island. — Read it at the Inquisitr
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