Pet Scoop: Zoo Celebrates Panda’s 1st Birthday, Rescuers Free Osprey Chick

July 30, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

The San Diego Zoo celebrated Xiao Liwu's first birthday on Monday.
The San Diego Zoo celebrated Xiao Liwu's first birthday on Monday.

Happy Birthday Mr. Wu!

The San Diego Zoo marked giant panda Xiao Liwu’s first birthday on Monday with a cake that was bigger than the adorable cub. The three-tiered treat was made from many of the bear’s favorites: bamboo and ice, with decorations of yams, apples and shaved carrots. He happily shared his cake with his mom, Bai Yun. The cub, whose name means “little gift,” has been nicknamed “Mr. Wu” by his caretakers. "Weighing a pound and a half when he was first examined 23 days after his birth, he is now just over 41 pounds of pure energy," the zoo said in a statement. His keepers say he’s a “very smart and inquisitive cub whose favorite activities include roughhousing with his mom and napping in his favorite spot in one of the tallest trees on his exhibit.” — Read it at Live Science and watch it on Instagram

Tiger Population Jumps in Nepal

The number of Royal Tigers in Nepal has increased to 198, up 63 percent in just four years, according to a government survey. The numbers were released Monday at a meeting of conservationists in the country’s capital for World Tiger Day. Experts credited the population gains in Nepal to a crackdown on poaching and better management of the animals’ habitat, as the government tries to fight the tigers’ extinction. But there’s more work to be done. “While we celebrate the positive results from this tiger survey, WWF calls on the government of Nepal to redouble efforts to protect these conservation gains that could easily be lost as human-tiger conflict increases and illegal wildlife trade empties our forests,” Nepal World Wildlife Fund representative Anil Manandhar said in the statement. — Read it at the Los Angeles Times

Studies Look at Evolution of Monogamy

There are few species of mammals that are monogamous, and now two teams of scientists have come up with differing reasons for how they became monogamous. One team looked at primates, and found that monogamy in that group came about as a way to let fathers defend their offspring against other males. The second team examined about 2,000 species of non-human mammals and found that they’d become monogamous because females had spread out geographically and the males had to fight off the competition. The studies were published in the journals Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. — Read it at AP via Yahoo News

A two-man team helped free an osprey chick from a fishing line in her nest.
A two-man team helped free an osprey chick from a fishing line in her nest.

Osprey Saved From Fishing Line

In late May, we told you about Tom and Audrey Osprey, whose eggs were hatching on the Chesapeake Conservancy's live web cam, which is trained on the pair’s home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. They have three chicks — Chester and Essie have taken flight, and the youngest, Ozzie, is expected to fledge any day now. But on Sunday night, Facebook messages poured in to the Conservancy, with camera watchers saying it looked like little Ozzie was tangled in fishing line that had been brought back to the nest by her mom or dad. So, on Monday morning, two men who work with the Conservancy waded into the 3 ½ foot deep water with a 14-foot ladder and a pair of scissors that they’d ground the tips off of so that they wouldn’t hurt Ozzie. In less than a minute, Ozzie’s rescuer freed her legs from the line and descended the ladder, avoiding upsetting the family. — Read it at Maryland’s Capital Gazette and watch the rescue on YouTube

Mystery Flamingo Arrives in San Francisco

An exotic pink flamingo — normally found thousands of miles away in the tropics — has been spotted swimming in San Francisco Bay in the last month. Officials think it’s the same one that was seen in November off the Hayward shoreline. Local zoos say they aren’t missing any of their flamingos. Cathy Keyes, a zookeeper at the Oakland Zoo, looked at photos of the bird and identified it as a lesser flamingo, the smallest of the six flamingo species, and native to Western Africa. She suspects the bird is “somebody’s escaped pet.” Observers say the bird seems content, and Keyes said it would have plenty of food in the Bay. She also said that if no one claims it, the zoo might be interested in bringing it to its facility to join its flock of 16 flamingos. — Read it at the San Jose Mercury News


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