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April 21, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Nikki Balovich of Alaska lost her diamond encrusted platinum wedding band in January when she was pregnant and took it off her swollen finger. She suspected her 90-pound Mastiff puppy, Halli, had snatched it and kept checking her yard for it to turn up, but had no luck. The family takes the dog everywhere with them, so they figured it could be anywhere. “I gave up, I thought it was long gone,” Balovich said. But last week, she saw a post on Facebook about a ring being found in an “unusual place” and quickly contacted the poster. A woman had found the ring in dog waste while she had been helping to clean up a local ball field. It turned out that Balovich had also volunteered at the field recently — with Halli in tow. She got the ring back on Thursday, and doesn’t plan to take it off again anytime soon. “I feel very lucky,” she told Alaska’s Daily Sitka Sentinel. — Read it at the New York Post
A paper published this week finds that illnesses spread more easily from pets to people than previously believed and offers new guidelines for reducing health risks. The researchers from Ohio State University said that certain groups are more at risk when they have contact with pets, including young children, pregnant women, seniors and anyone with a weakened immune system. The guidelines include wearing gloves when cleaning aquariums and cages, thoroughly washing your hands after pet contact, discouraging pets from licking your face, keeping litter boxes away from eating and food preparation areas and regularly scheduling veterinary visits for all pets. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. — Read it at Discovery News
The wolf population in Isle Royale National Park is now at an unprecedented low. Last winter, nine wolves were observed in an annual study by Michigan Technological University, but this year they found three resident wolves. They believe the two adults are a mating pair and the third was their pup, who didn’t appear to be healthy. They also found that some wolves had visited the park via an ice bridge but had gone back to the mainland. Scientists say recovery of the wolf population there is unlikely without new genetic material. The downward trend for the wolves has changed the predator-prey balance for the wolves and moose on the island, but it’s undecided whether humans will take action to try to change that balance. — Read it at Science Daily
A newly discovered frog species is drawing lots of attention because of its resemblance to an old favorite: Jim Henson’s Kermit the Frog. A team from the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center has found six specimens of a new translucent frog in the Talamanca Mountains. The discovery brings the numbers of glass frogs living in Costa Rica to 14, researchers said. The new species, Hyalinobatrachium dianae, is named for lead researcher Brian Kubicki’s mother — but he doesn’t have a problem with the comparisons to Kermit. "I think it is great that this species is getting so much attention around the world,” he said. “Hopefully this will help increase the awareness of the incredible amphibians found in Costa Rica and the need to continue studying them and conserve their vital habitats.” The species is described in the journal Zootaxa. — Watch it at CBS News
Firefighters who arrived at a burning home in Boise, Idaho, Friday night thought an elderly woman was trapped inside when they heard a voice inside calling “help, fire.” But they couldn’t find anyone in their extensive search. They started using thermal imagery technology, which didn’t detect any people — but did lead them to a parrot sitting on a table. The talkative female parrot and her quieter male companion were rescued by firefighters. They gave the female oxygen with an adult oxygen mask. Her condition immediately improved, and she started imitating the sound of the sirens. — Read it at NBC News
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