BBC filmmakers announced in June that they had captured, for perhaps the first time ever, an episode of pandas mating in the wild, for the "Wild China" TV series. A male is shown fighting off other males to coax a female down from a tree. What follows that, said producer Glenn Maxwell, are "loud calls which will make viewers think instantly of the Wookie character from the 'Star Wars' movies. I liken it to Chewbaccas in a pub brawl." Eventually, the female descends, and the pair get to work, "breathing hard and panting," said Maxwell. "You can see the steam coming out of their mouths." 

Animals in Trouble: China's Xinhua news agency reported in March that a farmer in Jilin province had been found with a tortoise that is addicted to nicotine. The farmer, a smoker himself, said he was surprised when the pet puffed on a cigarette he had playfully stuck in its mouth, and since then, he occasionally shares smokes with it.

Magistrates in Sunderland, England, accepted a guilty plea in June from Samantha Pearson and David Step for animal cruelty. The couple had relocated quarters last October but left behind a pet, Milly, to starve to death. Milly was a pet rat.

  • or