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For the first time in more than 30 years, a litter of wolf pups was born in the wild in Mexico, wildlife authorities announced last week. Credit: Associated Press The Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), also known as the lobo, went extinct in the wild about three decades ago. But in recent years, breeding pairs of the species have been raised in captivity and reintroduced into the mountains of western Mexico as part of a national conservation effort. Mexican authorities have been closely watching one wolf couple released in December 2013 in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains, and they suspected the female might be pregnant. The signal from her satellite collar was lost for a few days...

In Poland, Hedgehogs Find a Saviour

KRAKõW, Poland - Too weak to stand on his feet after swallowing poison for garden slugs, Smoky the hedgehog is fighting for his life. Credit: Getty Creative Thanks to a devoted Polish animal lover, he has a chance. Andrzej Kuziomski set up Poland's first and only hedgehog shelter after as a bicycle courier he came across hundreds of the small, quilled mammals that had been killed or maimed in run-ins with humans. "He hasn't eaten anything for days... He weighs less than half of what he should," the 45-year-old says as he holds Smoky, gently stroking his prickly back. The refuge on the outskirts of Krakow has space for up to 50 sick or injured hedgehogs. Driven from their habitat by...

At the risk of upsetting my cat Murphy - who I'm convinced can not only read, but speed-read - here's the latest bulletin from the world of cat feeder facial recognition technology. Credit: YouTube/Meow B. The Bistro smart cat feeder, designed by a team called 42ARK out of Taiwan, is the sort of crazy idea that Just Might Work. Currently in crowdfunding stage, the device combines several different technologies to ensure your cat is eating properly. That's "properly" as defined by humans, not by cats, which is why I just let Murphy outside and am typing this in the closet. Like other automated cat feeders, the Bistro lets owners dispense measured amounts of food when kitty is home...

African elephants in captivity are packing on the pounds, and experts warn that the rise in obesity is contributing to infertility, which could be detrimental to the survival of the species in zoos. Credit: Getty Creative To get a handle on the problem, one group of researchers in Alabama is looking for a better way to measure body fat on the already huge animals. RELATED: Future Zoos: What Will They Look Like? Just like humans, elephants with excess fat are more likely to develop heart disease, arthritis and infertility, Daniella Chusyd, a graduate student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a statement. Previous studies have shown an alarming number of African elephants...

MADRID - Would-be beachgoers near Barcelona faced a brief ban after a shark scare shut down six beaches for a day, the Red Cross said on Wednesday. Credit: Getty Creative Three small blue sharks, between one and 1.5 metres (five feet) long, were sighted by lifeguards on Tuesday, prompting two local town halls to ban bathing from their beaches. The beaches in the resorts of Premia del Mar and El Masnou near Barcelona were closed on Tuesday and reopened on Wednesday morning, a local Red Cross spokeswoman told AFP. "A surveillance patrol in boats did not find the sharks," so green flags were flying again on Wednesday indicating it was safe to bathe in the sea, the spokeswoman said. Two Red...

NEW YORK - The United States returned to Mongolia more than 18 dinosaur skeletons and fossils stolen from the Gobi desert and smuggled abroad, saying they were enough to stock a museum. The haul includes skeletons of two Tyrannosaurus bataars, a cousin of the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex, and two Oviraptors, known at least apocryphally for eating other dinosaur eggs. The repatriation ceremony was the culmination of a two-year effort to return numerous dinosaur fossils smuggled to the United States and other countries. Some were illegally smuggled into the US using false customs papers and others were voluntarily forfeited by a British collector to the United States for return to...