9/11 hero dog cloned

June 22, 2009

A dog which retrieved survivors from the wreckage of the World Trade Centre has been successfully cloned, Agence France Press reports.

BioArts International last year held a contest to determine the world’s most “cloneworthy” dog, in what they called the “Golden Clone Giveaway”. Genetic immortality was awarded to Trakr, the valorous Alsatian responsible for discovering the last human survivor of the terrorist attack on New York, September 11 2001.

Lou Hawthorne, Chief Executive of BioArts, said: “We received many very touching submissions to our contest, each describing some truly amazing dogs, but Trakr’s story blew us away.”

Five healthy German Shepherd puppies have been cloned from the prestigious pooch’s DNA, following the assitance of South Korea’s SooAm Biotech Research Foundation.

Trakrs offspring, with equally preposterous names

Trakr's offspring, with equally preposterous names: Trustt (sic), Valor, Prodigy, Solace and Deja Vu

“Trakr was an extraordinary search and rescue dog. His work at Ground Zero was the culmination of his career,” said retired RCMP dog handler James Symington, Trakr’s human partner.

It is hoped the puppies, dubbed Trustt, Valor, Prodigy, Solace and Deja Vu (pictured), will follow in the pawprints of their genetic forbear and embark (haha) on a career of rescue work.

“If they have the same attributes Trakr did, then hopefully they’ll develop into world class search and rescue dogs,” said Symington, as the assembled hacks dabbed their eyes with their handkerchieves.

In addition to the emotional potency of cloning a dead 9/11 hero, Trakr’s descendants somewhat vindicate the work of Hwang Woo-Suk, the South Korean scientist recently disgraced for falsifying his results. His five-for-the-price of-one attitude to American heroes is sure to go a long way towards his academic rehabilitation.

German fox steals over 100 shoes

June 22, 2009

A fox in Germany has been found in possession of over 100 stolen shoes, Reuters reports.

The cache was discovered in woods near the town of Föhren, in Rheinland Pfalz, by forestry workers.

The vulpine Imelda Marcos had apparently half-inched the shoes from local residents under the cover of darkness.

“There was everything from ladies’ shoes to trainers,” said an unnamed police spokesman. “We’ve found between 110 and 120 so far. It seems a vixen stole them for her cubs to play with.”

Local residents expressed delight at being reunited with their lost footwear, raising further questions about the provision of shoe leather in western Germany.

Food caching strategies are well known among foxes. The poultryman’s lament, frequently heard in anti-bloodsports circles, usually takes the following form: “You wouldn’t be anti-hunt if you’d ever seen what a fox can do in a henhouse.”

Foxes routinely kill more than they can eat: an observation that, to lay observers, implies uncontrollable bloodlust in the animal. However, discovery of unconsumed prey usually indicates that a predator was disturbed before it could carry off all its kills, intended for burial as insurance against future shortages.

Whether the German fox mistook the stolen trotter cases for food, or simply had to find the perfect pair of Jimmy Choos to match her coat, remains to be learned.

Berlin chimp chomps captor’s finger

June 9, 2009

Quite literally biting the hand that feeds him, a chimpanzee at Berlin’s Zoo severed his captor’s finger, Reuters reports.

Pedro, a 28 year-old chimpanzee, attacked 51 year-old zoo director Bernhard Blaszkiewitz while he showed an unnamed companion around his menagerie. Offering the alpha chimp a snack of shelled walnuts, Blaszkiewitz instead found his index finger bitten off at the knuckle.

“Pedro is the boss of the group so he has to demonstrate a certain dominance in it to prove himself,” zoo spokesman and ape apologist Andre Schuele said.

“Under normal circumstances, a chimp would never have the chance to reach a keeper or our director,” Schuele continued, eyeing the machine gun nests and carefully-planted minefields with evident satisfaction.

While surgeons battled to reattach Blaszkiewitz’s finger, Pedro was assured that no reprisals would follow his insurgency.

Blunkett attacked by cow

June 9, 2009

These days, everyone and his dog has an opinion on MP’s expenses, including those who only ever took The Telegraph for the cricket and crossword. But now, even the livestock appear to have taken a position.

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has been attacked by a cow, BBC News reports.

The Honourable Member for Sheffield Brightside was enjoying a stroll through the Derbyshire countryside in celebration of his 62nd birthday when the ruminant took a dislike to his guide dog, Sadie. Valiantly protecting his canine companion, Blunkett fell and was trampled.

The former Home Secretary spoke to the media through gritted teeth, alive to his role as a living metaphor for the party. “I have a broken rib and am bruised all over but am still walking,” he told BBC Five Live.

When quizzed for best practice, Alison Pratt, rent-a-quote spokesperson for the National Farmers’ Union, cast the following pearls of wisdom before the attendant swine:

“The best thing to do is to let the dog off the lead so it can run away because obviously a dog can run faster than you,” she said.

“The next thing to do is to get quite quickly to the edge of the field, collect the dog and leave,” glossing somewhat conveniently over the fact that Sadie is Blunkett’s guide dog.

Blunkett added somewhat ruefully: “I know the public are furious with politicians, but I didn’t realise the anger has spread to Britain’s cow population.”

Sadie, although unavailable for comment, was unharmed.