Pet Scoop: Young Bonobos Comfort Each Other, Lost Dog Found 600 Miles Away

Oct. 15, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A young bonobo snuggles with mom.
A young bonobo snuggles with mom.

Moms Help Bonobos Cope Better

A new study shows that young bonobos comfort their peers when they’re distressed or as a way to make up after having a fight, much like humans. The researchers also found that bonobos who were raised by their mothers had better social and emotional skills than those who were orphaned. A video from the study at a sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo shows one young bonobo rushing to the side of another who’d been hurt. The better the young bonobos were at coping with their own emotions, the more likely they were to help others in distress. Researchers say a similar pattern is seen in human children. "Mother-reared juveniles were significantly less likely than orphans to recommence screaming once their vocalizations had stopped for 30 seconds or longer," the authors wrote. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. — Read it at Live Science

Moose Population in Steep Decline

Concerned scientists are struggling to unravel the mystery of why moose populations are seeing such a sharp die-off. There are several different factors involved, but the common thread among most of the theories is climate change. Winters have become much shorter across much of the animals’ range. That’s resulted in more winter ticks, for example, in New Hampshire, which attack the moose. The warmer temperatures have helped other parasites thrive, too. A study in British Columbia blamed the declining moose population on the widespread killing of forest by pine bark beetles, which thrive in warmer temperatures. And moose have also suffered from heat stress in recent years. “It’s complicated because there’s so many pieces of this puzzle that could be impacted by climate change,” said Erika Butler, a former wildlife veterinarian at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. — Read it at The New York Times

Dog Saves Family From Fire

While his family slept in their Illinois home at 4 a.m. on Friday, Baxter smelled trouble. Even before the smoke detectors went off, the dog started barking to alert his owners that a fire had started outside their home. "We were pretty lucky that he woke us up because ... we never smelled the smoke," said homeowner Gary D'Amato. He said Baxter made a sound he and his wife had never heard him make before. "We were sleeping and never smelled it, but the dog did." The home’s smoke detectors started going off as fire crews arrived on the scene. Although the fire caused $30,000 in damage, everyone was safe and the home is still habitable, thanks to Baxter. — Read it at the Chicago Tribune

Honey had an emotional reunion with her family after being found 600 miles from home.
Honey had an emotional reunion with her family after being found 600 miles from home.

Sweet Reunion Caught on Video

The Wallis family of Missouri was devastated when their beloved Golden Retriever, Honey, ran off on July 5, while they were staying with relatives on a family farm and they couldn't find her. Three months later, Emily Wallis’ veterinarian called to tell her that Honey had been found walking along a highway in Georgia — 600 miles away. A rescue group took Honey in, and an Alabama family was about to adopt the dog when rescuers did one last scan for a microchip. They found it and contacted the Wallis family, who rushed south to retrieve Honey last week. No one is sure how Honey wound up so far away — but she’s certainly happy to be back with her family. Their heartwarming, tail-wagging reunion was captured on a video that Wallis says she’s watched over and over — “and I cry every time I watch it.” — Watch it at People Pets

Two Endangered Baby Animals Born at Mexican Zoo

Mexico’s Zacango Zoo welcomes two rare babies. A baby Nile hippo, native to Sub-Saharan Africa, weighed 77 pounds at birth on Aug. 17, and is sticking closely by mom’s side. It’s the 15th hippo to be born at the zoo. And on July 7, an endangered giraffe calf was born at Zacango — the 17th to be welcomed there. The zoo is holding a contest to help name the two new babies, according to ITN. — Watch it at Reuters


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