Pet Scoop: Zoo Hand-Rears Four Rare Cloud Leopard Cubs, Two Puppies Saved From Fire

May 22, 2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A rare litter of four endangered clouded leopard cubs is being hand-reared at the Point Defiance Zoo in Washington.
Ingrid Barrentine, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
A rare litter of four endangered clouded leopard cubs is being hand-reared at the Point Defiance Zoo in Washington.

Feisty Cubs Thrive at Zoo

Clouded leopard quadruplets are getting around-the-clock care from the staff at the Point Defiance Zoo in Washington state. The cubs were born May 12 to mom Chai Li and dad Nah Fun. Litters of four are uncommon for clouded leopards. The cubs were left with their mom until she showed she would no longer care for them, the zoo said in a Facebook post. Clouded leopards are routinely hand-reared at zoos. At one week old, they weighed between 11 and 12 ounces each, and they squirm and squeal to let their keepers know they’re hungry. The zoo staff says the cubs are “active and moving around well,” and they’re gaining weight. “These cats are precious,” said Andy Goldfarb, a biologist at the zoo. “Clouded leopards are endangered and there is constant pressure on the species from poaching, habitat loss and other human-animal conflict.” — Get updates on the cubs from the Point Defiance Zoo’s Facebook page and see more cute zoo baby photos

Study: Humans and Dogs Bonded Earlier Than Thought

Dogs may have been man’s best friend for even longer than we thought. Tests on an ancient wolf bone discovered in Siberia's Taimyr Peninsula show that wolves and dogs split from their common ancestor at least 27,000 years ago. Previously, scientists thought the split had happened no earlier than 16,000 years ago. “Although separation isn't the same as domestication, this opens up the possibility that domestication occurred much earlier than we thought before," said lead study author Pontus Skoglund, of Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute in Massachusetts. The researchers found that a portion of Siberian Husky’s genome can be traced back to the now-extinct Siberian wolf. The study was published in the journal Current Biology. — Read it at Live Science

New Rabies Strain Found in New Mexico

The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed a new strain of rabies was found in a fox that bit a 78-year-old woman in New Mexico last month. The woman received a series of rabies vaccinations that prevented her from developing the deadly illness. The strain is “somewhat similar to rabies strains associated with bats, but unique,” said Paul Ettestad, New Mexico’s public health veterinarian. Officials warned the public that wild animals acting sick, fearless, aggressive or friendly should be considered a threat and avoided. — Read it at the Albuquerque Journal

Flagler County, Florida, firefighters used pet oxygen masks to save two puppies rescued from a house fire.
Flagler County Fire Rescue
Flagler County, Florida, firefighters used pet oxygen masks to save two puppies rescued from a house fire.

Firefighters Save Mom and Puppies

Crews used pet oxygen masks to save the lives of two puppies who were inside when their home in Palm Coast, Florida, caught fire Tuesday. They were among the six dogs in the home at the time, including their mom. While the homeowner and his 2-year-old daughter were treated for smoke inhalation at a local hospital, a neighbor rushed the dogs to the vet. “We are happy to report that mom and pups are doing well after thorough exams, and oxygen therapy!” the Flagler Animal Hospital posted on Facebook Wednesday. “Can not thank firefighter David Lawrence from Flagler County Fire Rescue enough. He went above and beyond for the puppies,” said the neighbor, Margaret O’Neill. PETA agrees. The group said Thursday it was awarding Flagler County Fire Rescue a Compassionate Fire Department Award. — See photos at Buzzfeed

In England, Ducks Get Their Own Walking Lanes

Walkways along the waterside in England get a lot of traffic from pedestrians, bicyclists — and waterfowl. Now, the group that preserves more than 2,000 miles of waterways, the Canal River & Trust, has a temporary solution for those who move at a waddling speed: exclusive lanes for the ducks. The lanes are marked with a silhouette of a duck and #sharethespace, and are separated from the main route by a white line. It encourages awareness among the humans — but there’s no word yet on whether the ducks are sticking to their lane. — Read it at the Huffington Post


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