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WebClawer: Afghanistan's only pig is released from quarantine; mysterious parakeet is rescued by scuba diver

July 8, 2009 |  4:50 pm


From China to Afghanistan to England, animals are making news all over the world today.  These are a few of the stories that caught our eye:

-- As the U.S. military shifts its focus from Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, it also needs to change its notions about transportation.  Humvees and helicopters aren't easily used in the region -- and that's where donkeys and mules come in.  A course on pack animals at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest teaches Marines how to handle the beasts of burden.  (L.A. Times)

-- Chinese animal advocates say a recent raid on a Shanghai cat dealer saved about 300 stolen pet cats from being eaten in restaurants in China's Guangdong province.  The group says it received a tip that the cats were being kept in cages in a freight yard in preparation for shipment to Guangdong; most of the cats have since been returned to their owners. Police detained the dealer, but he was released a few hours later because, a Chinese police officer explained, "Cats are not a protected animal."  (Agence France-Presse)

-- The only known pig in all of Afghanistan was released from quarantine Saturday and allowed to return home to the Kabul Zoo.  The pig, named Khanzir (which means"pig"), had been quarantined for two months because people "felt that the swine influenza might ... be spread from the zoo because we have a pig here," zoo manager Aziz Gul Saqib said.  But Khanzir's return wasn't exactly triumphant -- some visitors scattered when he was brought back through the zoo to his enclosure.  "It is very haram [forbidden] and should not even been looked at," said one.  "I don't think it should even be in the zoo."  (Reuters)

-- A blue-and-white parakeet is being called miraculous for surviving a bizarre near-drowning experience -- he was rescued by a scuba diver who found him, inexplicably, a half-mile out to sea in the waters off Devon, England.  The bird, nicknamed Captain, is being held at a veterinary facility until his owner comes to claim him.  (Since there are no wild parakeets in England, it's believed he's an escaped pet.)  (Telegraph)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Marines coax a donkey on a mountain hike. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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