Top 12 Animal Stories of 2022: the Adorable, the Absurd, the Astounding

Good News Network’s top animal stories and moments from 2022 is a celebration of the majesty of our planet, the incredible four-legged or winged pals we share our homes with, and of the heroes who dedicate their lives to ensuring future generations can connect with endangered animals the way we can.

Whether featuring a snapshot of nature in action or a moment of human-to-animal connection, animals are never far from the front page. 2022 was no exception.

Photos: (Left) Ingrid Moyle, (right) Kay McCall

Ginger Cat is Local Star for Stealing Hundreds of Toys and Presenting Them Sweetly to Neighbors

Cats are always going viral for these or those antics. In February GNN reported that Kay McCall and her husband were moving into a new apartment last year in Ferny Hills, near Brisbane, when they met a ginger cat who hopped over the fence looking for a head pat and chin scratches.

It became an enjoyable daily encounter, but as the visits continued they began to notice an accumulation of toys in their yard.

It wasn’t long before they caught him in the act. It turned out, the orange visitor was bringing more than affection and neighborliness.


Bride Has ‘Slowest Walk Down the Aisle’ as Her Ring Bearer Pet Tortoise Steals the Limelight on Her Big Day

Vets Ericka and Jay Johnson first met while doing a wild tortoise survey 20 years ago, so felt it was only right for their beloved Sulcata tortoise, Tom Shelleck, to be part of their wedding celebrations.

The 41-year-old said that strawberries were dotted down the aisle for ‘always hungry’ Tom to follow before the pair tied the knot last year at Tohono Chul Botanical Gardens in Arizona.

The mom-of-one said that everything ran smoothly and he even became the ‘center of attention’ on her big day.

A Pod of Whales Adopted a Young Stray Narwhal – and They May Have Little ‘Narwhales’

Marine biologists in Quebec had the pleasure of studying a fascinating phenomenon: a narwhal traveling, eating, and living with a pod of young male beluga whales as they cruise down the province’s famous St. Lawrence river.

Drone footage indicates this unique black sheep was a male, and well-fed, indicating that he’s been adopted into the pod.

Biologists are fascinated to see if the adopted narwhal has integrated enough to breed, and produce a hybrid known colloquially as a “narluga,” though GNN feels an opportunity has been missed to call them “narwhales.”


Sloth Is Friends With Zookeeper and Won’t Get Out of Bed Until They’ve Had Morning Cuddles

Back in April GNN reported that a sloth had formed an adorable relationship with its keeper and refuses to get out of bed until they’ve had their morning cuddles—and a zoo tour.

Amelia the zookeeper’s nerves around working with sloths are what she believes encouraged Gordon the sloth to show affection towards her in an attempt to make her feel at ease.

Gordon is now at the point where he’ll pick up a bucket and sponge as if helping Amelia clean his cage.


Rare ‘Dinosaur Bird’ Patiently Awaits a Lifelong Mate to Populate the Magnificent Species

The Exmoor Zoo in the UK received a teenage shoebill stork this year, a tremendous species that’s rare and threatened. She recently arrived from the Pairi Daiza Zoo in Belgium where she was a newborn star in their international breeding program.

The unique-looking bird is one of only eleven shoebills that are currently in captivity around the world.

The 14-year-old bird called Abou has been greeting her keepers with displays of bowing and spreading her wings—a common courtship ritual.

But she’ll have to wait until the breeding program produces a male, so the pair can be matched and produce much-hoped-for offspring.

Eagle Decides He Wants the Hawk For a Sibling, Rather than a Meal – WATCH

A Canadian wildlife conservation society called “GROWLS” had a nest cam on a bald eagle’s nest over July which captured a family of eagles choosing not to eat a red-tailed hawk chick. 

Pamichen, a GROWLS member, captured 14 minutes of incredible nest cam footage of the nail-biting phenomenon, when on several occasions it seems for all the world like the eagles are going to just start ripping this little fluffy red-tailed hawk baby to pieces.

But hour after hour, eaglet and baby hawk just continue to shift around in the nest, eating scraps of leftover food. Just before dark, “it really [seemed] like they were going to go in for the kill,” Pamichen can be heard saying in the video. But as darkness falls, the two babies crawl under mama’s wings, and the next afternoon, she even feeds her hostage.


Family Left Stunned When Their Dog Escaped–Only to Return Later With a Ribbon From a Dog Show

In the first of two stories about pets stepping out to go partake in human society, July saw GNN report that an English family was left stunned when their dog escaped only to return later that day with a ribbon won at a local dog show.

Peter and Paula Closier became sick with worry when their five-year-old beagle-mix Bonne vanished on Sunday morning.

Soon after, the family’s fears were eased when Paula spotted a Facebook post by John Wilmer, who was running late for the dog show and asked, ‘does anyone know this dog’?

John then decided to enter Bonnie into the competition. He thought “I might as well enter her into the ‘best rescue dog’ category.”


Amazing Spectacle as Rare White Risso’s Dolphin Leaps Above the Water For Photographer – LOOK

A wildlife photographer captured an amazing spectacle when a rare white Risso’s dolphin flipped out of the water.

Jay Spring was enjoying a Californian boat tour last month when he found himself lucky to be facing the right way as the distinctive creature breached.

“I could not believe what I was seeing and luckily I was looking the right way at the right time and was able to get some pictures of him,” he said.

As it turns out the whale watchers have a name for this individual, “Blanco”. He has leucism, a condition separate from Albinism, that results in an irregular distribution of melanin pigments. Spring was told there are no existing photographs of Blanco, and that his are the first ones on the internet.

Owl Visits 98-Year-old Grandma Every Week–And Family Believes it’s a Sign From Her Late Husband–WATCH

A grandmother receives weekly visits from a chatty owl that her family believe is a sign from her late husband.

The owl visits Ranna almost every day and sits on her balcony for hours. It even tries to hop on her lap and “chats” back to her when she hoots at it.

Granddaughter Shai Ward captured the wholesome footage when she visited the home in Phoenix, Arizona and saw the unique bond with the animal—and strongly believed he represented something truly special.

bonobo cuddles a mongoose – Christian Ziegler/Natural History Museum

Magnificent Picture of Ape ​​Cuddling Another Species is Finalist in Wildlife Photographer of the Year – SEE Photos

In September, GNN shared a wildlife photograph for the ages of a bonobo ape that appears to be cuddling a mongoose as if it were a pet.

The photo won “Highly Commended Image,” and captures a moment of gentleness in a Hobbsian world that is the Congo Rainforest.

“I was so surprised to see how he carried the mongoose with such care. I immediately started to follow him and document it,” photographer Christian Ziegler told the BBC.

Ziggy the Cat – Emma Roberts Facebook

Cat Who Sneaks into School Gets His Class Photo Taken – And Portrait Packet is Sent Home to Mom

A cat performed the most head-scratching stunt in Wales recently on class picture day, leaving a group of proud moms “in floods of laughter.”

10 and 7-year-olds Meghan and Chloe Roberts were all dressed up and excited to have their picture taken at Drury Primary School, but their excitement couldn’t compare with that of Ziggy, their orange and white cat who regularly visits the school.

When Ziggy the “honorary student,” felt it was his turn, the 4-year-old effortlessly jumped up on the photo chair, looked straight at the camera, got his snap, and promptly left, leaving mom Emma Roberts calling him “ridiculously embarrassing.”

– credit Atlantic Naturalist.

World Record Giant Sunfish is Heaviest Fish Ever Weighed–at 6,000 Pounds–and a ‘Sign of Hope’

Marine biologists working in the Azores in November recorded the largest sunfish ever at 6,049 pounds (2,740 kilograms).

After towing it ashore and availing themselves of the help of a forklift to hoist the behemoth bony fish onto a hanging scale, they found it broke the Guinness World Record for heaviest bony fish, and weighed more than an entire NFL football team’s roster.

José Nuno Gomes-Pereira, the biologist that spotted the giant fish and who described it in the Journal of Fish Biology, says its discovery is a sign of hope.

“It means that the marine ecosystem is still healthy enough to sustain these large animals,” he says.

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