Pet Scoop: Two Endangered Gorillas Born in Israel, Dogs Perform "The Nutcracker"

Nov. 15, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A 4-day-old baby gorilla rides on mom's back at the Ramat Gan safari in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Surprise Baby Boom at Tel Aviv Zoo

The Ramat Gan Safari park in Tel Aviv, Israel, has welcomed two endangered baby Western Lowland gorillas in the last two weeks  though they were only expecting one. Keepers knew that Anya, who gave birth to baby Amelia two weeks ago, was pregnant, but the birth of another newborn this week to mom Lia was a surprise. Both babies have the same father, silverback Lucas, but the staff hasn’t yet determined the gender of the second baby. While the babies are staying close to their moms for now, keepers expect to see them playing independently in their enclosures in the next few weeks. — Read it at the U.K.’s Daily Mail and watch video from The Guardian

Animals Face Off in Camera Trap Photo

Say cheese! An automatic camera caught a confrontation between a skunk and a cougar at Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park. While the cougar looked aggressive at first, it “chose the path of wisdom and decided to go elsewhere," said Dennis Madsen, resource conservation manager for the park. The park, which first started using the cameras to oversee human activity, now has thousands of images giving insight into the secret lives of its animal residents. — Read it at Live Science

Parrots Appear to Name Their Young

A National Geographic team studying green-rumped parrotlets in Venezuela found some very rare behavior: the parents seem to name their fledglings. By listening to recordings of the birds’ chatter, explorer Karl Berg’s team found that the baby birds appeared to recognize and learn individual calls made specifically for them by the adults. If the babies were learning the contact calls directly from their parents, then this would be the first example of a non-human species teaching acoustical communication. — Watch it at National Geographic

Animal welfare groups are rescuing cats and bringing food to displaced pets on Staten Island.

Group Brings Food and Help to Lost Animals After Sandy

A team from Guardians of Rescue is one of the groups patrolling Staten Island, N.Y., to help animals in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The group has rescued at least 100 cats so far, and they drive through the devastated streets bringing pet food and supplies for dogs and cats who were displaced by the superstorm. — Watch it at CNN

“The Nutcracker” Goes to the Dogs

Need some "paw"-liday spirit? Check out this version of "The Nutcracker" in Chicago, which features 29 highly trained therapy dogs instead of human ballerinas. “A lot of the humor behind it is that these aren’t circus dogs. They’re just our pets,” said Penny Brcic, whose dog Gracie plays the Sugar Plum Fairy. Dogs from the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe first entertained crowds with their adaptation of “The Nutcracker” in 2000. — See photos at Today


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