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WebClawer: Sam the koala gets an agent, Oprah's puppy "holding steady", Memphis Zoo gets mini moos

March 19, 2009 |  1:13 pm

Sam the koala From koalas to walking catfish to two-foot-tall cows, animal news abounds today:

-- Sam, the koala who was photographed receiving a drink from a firefighter's water bottle, quickly became a superstar as the touching photo made the rounds.  Now the injured koala has an agent -- and may soon have book and movie deals, as well.  Australia-based legal firm TressCox Lawyers has said it is fielding offers from media outlets around the world.  The profits from the koala's appearances are to go to the Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter, where she and other wildlife are receiving treatment for fire-related injuries.  Sam also has a website, SamTheKoala, where well-wishers can track her progress.  Outposts

-- A spokesperson for Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions says Sadie, the cocker spaniel puppy Winfrey adopted from a Chicago-area shelter who is being treated for parvovirus, is "holding steady for now."  Sadie's littermate Ivan, who was also adopted by Winfrey, died recently of the highly contagious disease to which puppies are especially vulnerable.  Chicago Tribune

-- The Memphis Zoo's newest residents are tiny, but shouldn't be mistaken for babies: Little Cloudy and Darwinia are both more than a year old and are miniature cows.  Cloudy stands 25" high at the shoulder; the slightly larger Darwinia measures 36".  "What we're showing here is the evolution of farms, because people can keep (miniature cows) on smaller homesteads," the zoo's assistant curator of mammals, Gail Karr, explained.  Memphis Commercial Appeal

-- A U.K. angler found a walking catfish -- an air-breathing fish native to southeast Asia that does what its name implies by wriggling with its pectoral fins on land -- in the Thames Estuary at Woolwich.  The Environment Agency warned that catfish could pose a "significant risk" to native species by competing for food and habitats and spreading disease or  parasites.  "Let's hope this isn't a sign of things to come. The last thing we need is a bunch of walking catfish taking to the streets. Hopefully we've caught this in time and we're not going to face an invasion of these bloody things," said local resident Graham Telfer.  Telegraph

-- Pet adoption website Petfinder is holding a contest for rescue dogs in need of behavior training.  Petfinder users are encouraged to vote for their favorite among the contest's five finalists.  The dog with the most votes when the contest ends March 22 will receive a free consultation from celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stillwell; the dog's eventual adoptive family will receive a consultation as well.  Among the finalists are one L.A. dog, a "painfully shy" American Staffordshire terrier named Liza Bean who's available for adoption through the rescue group Marley's Pit Stop.  Petfinder Blog

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Sam the koala at the Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter in Victoria.  Credit: Rebecca Michael/AFP/Getty Images.

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