Pet Scoop: Zoo Hand-Raises Baby Kangaroo, Dolphins Call Each Other by Name

Feb. 21, 2012: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

An orphaned red kangaroo joey has a new surrogate mom at an Australian Zoo.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo
An orphaned red kangaroo joey has a new surrogate mom at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia.
Orphaned Joey Gets Human Mom

When a baby kangaroo was found orphaned in the wild, it was taken in by the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia. After a veterinary examination at the zoo’s Wildlife Hospital, the baby was assigned a vet nurse, who will become its surrogate mother. The nurse will provide regular feedings to make sure the joey continues to grow and develop over the next several months, until it is ready to be released back into the wild. Red Kangaroos are the largest mammal found on the Australian continent — and possibly the cutest. — Read it at Zooborns

Cat Rescued From Brooklyn Shaft

Nine-year-old Ryan Fanchiotti and his mom, Taryn FitzGerald, had nearly given up hope of finding the boy’s 18-month-old Norwegian Forest Cat. Venusaur hadn’t come home after being let outside in his Brooklyn neighborhood the day before the Feb. 8 snowstorm that hit the region. But nearly a week later, a Brooklyn woman heard a cat crying out from a deep, narrow shaft between her building and the one next door, and she knew who to call for help: Met Grotto, a cave exploration group she once belonged to. Two members of the group, Kay Shriver and Rob Fabiano, made a 90-minute drive from Long Island to rescue the trapped kitty. Shriver lowered herself into the 2-foot-wide space, picked up the cat and brought him back up. She thinks he fell from a rooftop, 16 to 20 feet to the bottom of the shaft. Venusaur, who seemed unfazed by his ordeal, was returned to his grateful owners, and his veterinarian gave him a clean bill of health. — Read it at The New York Times

Dolphins Call Loved Ones by Name

A new study finds that bottlenose dolphins call out the names of certain other dolphins when they become separated. The research by the University of St. Andrews Sea Mammal Research Unit in the U.K. is based on acoustic data from wild bottlenose dolphins around Sarasota Bay, Fla., from 1984 to 2009, and on the study of four captive males at The Seas Aquarium in Florida. Previous research has found that dolphins have signature whistles for themselves, and the new research finds that dolphins who are close to them can copy their whistles to find them. “Animals produced copies when they were separated from a close associate and this supports our belief that dolphins copy another animal’s signature whistle when they want to reunite with that specific individual,” said the study’s lead author, Stephanie King. The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. — Read it at Discovery News

This image of Dave Thomas with Buzz helped save the dog's life.
This image of Dave Thomas with Buzz helped save the dog's life.

Facebook Photo Helps Free Impounded Pit Bull

Dave Thomas’ 2-year-old Pit Bull mix, Buzz, was taken to a San Bernardino, Calif., shelter by authorities after his owner was arrested for failure to appear in court on two traffic violations. After his legal proceedings were squared away, Thomas went to pick up his dog and says he was told that if he didn’t come up with half of the $400 in required fees by mid-week, the dog would likely be put down, reported KABC-TV. With only $6 in his pocket, the distraught Thomas sat down to say what he thought would be his last good-byes to Buzz. But luckily, photographer Maria Sanchez, who was visiting the shelter, captured the emotional moment and posted the photo to Facebook with the story. Donations from animal lovers quickly poured in, and Buzz was reunited with Thomas. — Read it at PawNation

Research Chimps Settle Into Retirement

Julius, Sandy, Phyllis and Jessica, four former federal research chimpanzees, are savoring their retirement at Chimp Haven, a sanctuary in Louisiana. They’re among the 111 chimps who are being moved to Chimp Haven from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center over the next 18 months. It’s the result of a recommendation by a National Institutes of Health committee last month that 350 federally owned chimps be retired, which would leave 50 federal research chimps, as the government moves away from using the primates as test subjects. And the retirees seem pleased with their new freedom at the sanctuary. "They light up, look up at the sky, look at us watching them," said behaviorist Amy Fultz. — Read it from AP via the Huffington Post

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