San Diego’s Best Animal Stories 2011

Animals in the news. We love them and apparently you do too! These are our favorite stories involving animals in 2011.

26 photos
Mark Sackett
Animals in the news. We love them and apparently you do too! These are our favorite stories involving animals in 2011.
Steven Luke / NBC San Diego
Amber the Dog: Most San Diegans know the name Amber Dubois. The Escondido teenager, who loved animals, was abducted and killed two years ago. This September, Dubois' mother and a search dog named Amber helped locate the body of Michelle Le months after she was last seen. Read more on the story here here.
Safari Park's Odd Couple: The practice of pairing a cheetah and a dog started three years ago at San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The pair are usually spotted side-by-side walking the park. See the story here.
Mark Sackett
Six-Pack of Puppies: A half-dozen puppies and their mother were rescued from a drain pipe near the U.S.- Mexico border in September. Called “The Six Pack,” the litter of 3 boys, 3 girls were discovered in the San Ysidro area by some people checking on the condition of some horses in the area. See more images here.
Scared Kitten Trapped in Pipe: A kitten was trapped in an old plastic pipe at Washington and Avocado Avenues in El Cajon. On Thanksgiving Day someone reported hearing the kitten meow. That led to a rescue by animal rescue volunteers, firefighters and police. Read the story here.
Bruce the Sea Turtle: A sea turtle named "Bruce" by SeaWorld staff was found in San Diego Bay shot four times in the neck in Feb. 2011. Experts theorized the turtle was shot when he lifted his head out of the water to breathe. By October, Bruce had recuperated and made his way back to the bay. Read the story here.
New Year's Baby: The San Diego Zoo welcomed its first baby of 2011 and wasn't it darling? The satanic leaf-tailed gecko hatched on New Year's Day.
Dog Freed from Boulder: Firefighters tried almost everything to rescue a dog trapped inside a split boulder on September 20. Airbags, Jaws of Life - you name it. It was vegetable oil that eventually did the trick. Read the story here.
Baby Tigers: This pair of Malayan tigers were born at the San Diego Zoo in April. Malayan tigers are a critically endangered subspecies, with only about 500 cats left in the wild.
NBC San Diego
Miracle Dog Survives Fiery Crash: An 18-month-old pitbull rested at the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility, hours after the dog was flown from a car pursuit crash that killed the two people inside the truck on Mar. 3, 2011. Get more information on the event here.
Dog with a Nose for Nuts: A family pet turns into a working dog sniffing out peanuts for an allergic child and a dog trainer says he's never seen anything like it. See the story here.
Tiny Dancer: A keeper at the San Diego Zoo bottle-feeds a royal antelope that weighs just 17 ounces. The baby was born on exhibit Jan. 20 and moved to the Zoo's vet hospital. Because the royal antelope is so small, the bottle’s nipple had to be specially designed for this species.
Survivor Dog Has Hollywood Lineage: Buddy, one of the sons of the popular "Air Bud" movie series, caught the first pitch at a Padres-Diamondbacks game at Petco Park. His owner says the dog's lucky to be alive. See the story here.
NBC Bay Area
Playing with Baby: Mama hippo, Funani, was caught playing with her adorable calf, Adhama at the San Diego Zoo in April 2011. Check out the entire clip here.
Rocky Survived a Coyote: An 8-week old puppy, snatched up by a coyote, survived the attack and recovered from a bite covering the area from his tail to his arm pit. Read the story here.
San Diego Zoo
It's a Boy: The San Diego Zoo Safari Park welcomed a newborn baby western gorilla to its pack - the first gorilla born at the Safari Park in more than 10 years. Read more on the story here.
NBC 5 News
Dogs of War: A U.S. Army soldier with the 10th Special Forces Group and his military working dog jump during water training over the Gulf of Mexico. Dogs are so valuable there are two new programs - one in the Army and the other in the Marine Corps to put more dogs on the front lines alongside troops. Read more on the story here.
Panda eating Bamboo: How could we not include a panda in this list? While covering a story at the San Diego Zoo, a photojournalist captures raw video of one panda enjoying a bamboo snack. See the raw video here.
Dog Rescued from Sunset Cliffs: A crowd of people gathered as lifeguards climbed down to reach a large Chow lying still under a rocky portion of the cliff at Luscombs Point near Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Hill Street in June. Read more on the rescue here.
Lisa Pembleton
Dog Stays by Fallen Master's Side: This heartbreaking photo shows a U.S. Navy SEAL's dog lying by the man's casket. The photo, taken by Jon Tumilson's cousin was shared through Facebook. Read more on the story here.
Ugly Dog: Yoda reaches out for her victory trophy after winning the 2011 World's Ugliest Dog Contest on Friday, June 24, 2011, in Petaluma, Calif. A a 14-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix, Yoda took home $1000 and a plethora of pet perks during the event at the Sonoma-Marin Fair. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
San Diego Zoo
Life Out of the Pouch: A baby Parma Wallaby was shown off by San Diego Zoo staffers in October 2011. The little one's progress from pouch to bottle can be followed here.
Incredible Dog: Rumba from Oceanside, competed in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge in January 2011. See the story here.
Parade of Pachyderms: Elephants and horses marched through the streets in July stopping traffic on their way to the circus.
Service Dog Returned to Owner: A San Diego college student who thought her therapy dog was stolen in late April launched a public campaign to get "Rosie" back. One week later she was reunited with the animal. Get more information on the event here.
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