Monthly Archives: December 2016

Service Pup Named for WWII Vet

Before a celebration for his 100th birthday, World War II veteran Norval Nichols asked that in lieu of gifts, his friends and family should donate to Patriot PAWS, a Texas-based non-profit that trains service dogs for veterans. Nichols, who goes by Sgt. Nick, is partially blind. Although he doesn’t have a service dog himself, he wanted to give another veteran the opportunity to have one. At his celebration, Patriot PAWS had a sweet surprise for the caring vet. He met the adorable yellow Labrador Retriever puppy who’s benefiting from his generosity, and who has a special name: Sgt. Nick. So far, the veteran has raised $5,835 toward his $34,000 goal through a GoFundMe page. — Read it at NBC Dallas-Fort Worth


Shelter Dog Saves 3-Year-Old Girl

Peanut, a recently adopted shelter dog, is being hailed as a hero for finding a 3-year-old girl shivering near a cold river in Michigan last week. Peanut’s owners couldn’t figure out why the dog “started going crazy at our house. She was running up and down the stairs, barking and yelping,” the unidentified woman who’s Peanut’s new owner said. Her husband let the dog outside, and she “went barreling into the field behind our house at full speed,” the owner said. Her husband followed Peanut, and was shocked to find a little girl “barely hanging on for her life.” The man wrapped her in a sweatshirt, brought her inside and called 911. Sheriff’s deputies found the girl’s home, and she’s now in the custody of Child Protective Services due to the conditions they discovered. “This formerly abused dog has now saved the life of a little girl,” the shelter wrote on Facebook. — Read it at


Baby Hippo Fiona Hit Big Milestone

Fiona, a hippo born six weeks early at the Cincinnati Zoo, tipped the scales at 101 pounds on Tuesday. “This significant milestone puts her closer to becoming a real hippo! She has a great appetite and is now consuming hay and grain in addition to formula,” the zoo wrote in a Facebook post. The preemie hippo has gotten critical care and 24/7 attention since she was born in January, and she’s come a long way. She’s now enjoying play time in the pool, loves playing with the hose and has even been sleeping underwater, a unique ability of hippos.

Escaped Shelter Dog Found by Lincoln Tunnel

Pandy was rescued for the second time on Tuesday afternoon. The 5-year-old Terrier has been staying at New York’s Animal Haven shelter after she was saved from the dog meat trade in Thailand. But the pooch got spooked during a walk with a volunteer on the streets of Manhattan in blizzard conditions on Tuesday, and ran 40 blocks across town. About an hour later, she was spotted by police officers near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, which leads to New Jersey. They scooped up the exhausted and freezing pup and brought her to the ASCPA, where her microchip helped identify her. Pandy is now safe, warm and loved back at Animal Haven, where she’s waiting to find her forever family. “She’s tired but she’s the sweet girl she always is,” said the shelter’s executive director, Tiffany Lacey. “She’s shy and needs a patient, loving adopter.” — Read it at the New York Post


Study: Antarctic Penguin Numbers Double Previous Estimates

New research using aerial and ground surveys, tagging and camera images over several breeding seasons finds that the number of Adelie penguins in East Antarctica is 5.9 million — not 3.6 million, as previously thought. Previous population estimates only took breeding pairs into account. “Non-breeding birds are harder to count because they are out foraging at sea, rather than nesting in colonies on land,” said Australian Antarctic Division seabird ecologist Louise Emmerson. “However, our study in East Antarctica has shown that non-breeding Adelie penguins may be as, or more, abundant than the breeders.” On the basis of this number, the scientists estimate the global Adelie penguin population to be 14 to 16 million. — Read it at Yahoo


Thirsty Koalas Seek Out New Water Sources

Koalas usually rely on eucalyptus leaves for nourishment and moisture, but scientists say climate change is forcing the parched marsupials to leave their trees to get water at drinking stations. When the desperate animals scramble down from their trees and stand at the water stations, they run the risk of an attack from predators. Camera footage showed the koalas drinking water for more than 10 minutes even during the winter months last year. They expect that they drank more during the summer season, which runs from December to February, when the country’s east coast had a record-hot summer.

Police Rescue Frozen Kitten From Highway

A pair of Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were driving on a Saskatchewan highway last week when they swerved to avoid something in the middle of the road. They thought it was a chunk of ice — until they saw it move. They stopped their car once they realized it was an animal, and got out to investigate. The partially frozen and very vocal kitten knew help had arrived, and started moving toward the officers, who scooped him up and got him to a veterinary clinic. There, he was warmed up, fed and treated for frostbite. One of the kitten’s heroes, Cpr. Sean Chiddenton, was surprised to find a happy and active kitten when he returned later that day to check on him. “He has stolen all our hearts!” the Prairie Animal Health Centre wrote in a Facebook post. The fluffy kitten has been named Ambrose, and is now being spoiled by the family who adopted him. — Read it at the Huffington Post


Great White Shark Numbers Growing Off Cape Cod

Surveys taken between June and October 2016 identified 147 great white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod, including 89 new sharks that researchers hadn’t seen in previous years. When the survey project began in 2014, only 68 sharks were spotted during the same time period. Still, the jump in the numbers may not mean that the population is growing, warns study leader Gregory Skomal. While there are “positive signs that conservation is working,” it’s possible some of the new sharks may have been missed by previous surveys, he said. — Read it at Live Science


Bald Eagle Parents Shelter Eggs From Storm

As a late-winter storm brought snow, sleet and wind to Washington, D.C., a pair of nesting bald eagles at the National Arboretum huddled together atop their fragile eggs on Tuesday. The park’s eagle cam captured the duo, named Mr. President and First Lady, sitting on the eggs in their snowy nest together for hours on Tuesday. The First Lady had protected her eggs on Monday night and Tuesday morning before her mate arrived to help her. The eggs are expected to hatch in the last week of March.

Friar Dog at Monastery Gets His Own Robe

Carmelo, whose official name is Friar Bigoton (Friar Moustache), is an adorable Schnauzer who lives at a Roman Catholic monastery in Bolivia. The little guy has quickly gained fame this week, as photos of him dressed in the traditional brown robes like the monks he lives with have gone viral. Several news stories have reported Carmelo was adopted as a stray and wears the robes regularly, but the monk who shared his cute photos clarified the pup’s story this morning. In a new Facebook post, Kasper Mariusz Kapron Ofm (Order of Friars Minor) wrote that the dog wasn’t actually a stray and doesn’t always wear his robes. Instead, he was given to the monks as a Christmas gift when he was a puppy — and he sported his custom robe as a “prank” on their seminarians for Carnival this year. Still, it’s clear that the little guy is loved and adorable. — Read it from Kasper Mariusz Kapron Ofm via Facebook


Rare Whale Caught on Video for First Time

Two True’s beaked whales were caught on camera by students during an expedition in Portugal’s Azores Islands. Live sightings of the elusive whale species is extremely rare, and the video is the first recording of them in the wild. A study published Tuesday in the journal PeerJ includes the video, rare photos of a whale calf and further data collected from strandings and sightings of the True’s beaked whales. — Read it at Yahoo


Study: Warming Climate Creates Risks for Songbirds

A new report finds that rising temperatures and heat waves with a greater duration and intensity are posing a grave danger to songbirds in the Southwest. Songbirds that are common in the region, including the lesser goldfinch, house finch, cactus wren, Abert’s towhee and the curve-billed thrasher, are facing a greater risk for death by dehydration and mass die-offs under projected conditions where temperatures increase by 7 degrees Fahrenheit during summer by the end of the century. “When it’s really hot, they simply can’t evaporate enough water to stay cool, so they overheat and die of heat stroke,” said co-author Blair Wolf of the University of New Mexico. “In other cases, the high rates of evaporative water loss needed to stay cool deplete their body water pools to lethal levels.” The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.