The past year has been a doozy for Albertans — between the flood and two elections, people had a lot on their minds so it's no surprise they appreciated a cute animal story.
Here are the most popular animal stories from CBC Calgary over the past year.
1. Wolf chasing motorcycle
When a Banff, Alta., man decided to take his new motorcycle out for a test ride in Kootenay National Park in June, he probably didn't expect to become a viral sensation. Tim Bartlett came within metres of being caught by a wolf and was able to snap some photos of the chase. The wolf kept up with Bartlett for about one kilometre and while this was certainly "not normal behaviour," according to Parks Canada officials, it was certainly entertaining.
2. Folksy dancing bears
Bears might not be the first animals that come to mind when you think of too-cute-to-handle animals, but a video produced in August by a conservation officer in Kananaskis Country got a ton of attention. Glenn Naylor had worked as a ranger in K-Country for 34 before creating and posting a video of bears visiting a 'rub tree.' It was made by stringing together hundreds of photos shot by motion-detecting cameras in the Alberta back country and even made it onto the Colbert Report.
3. Akemi and her beer cozies
A penguin with a foot problem turned out to be quite the popular story! Akemi, a young gentoo penguin at the Calgary Zoo who has since died, had a bad case of bublefoot — a bacterial infection that can afflict captive birds — and zookeepers improvised a solution to prevent infection. The cozies had a zipper up the side were fixed around Akemi's ankles with duct tape. She didn't seem to mind them at all.
4. Nero the burned puppy
When several kind-hearted souls in Saskatchewan found seven-week-old Nero after he was set on fire in November, they probably had no idea the story would resonate with so many people. But resonate it has, and that translated into an outpouring of support for the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society and dozens of offers to adopt the little pup. Despite horrendous injuries, this little guy has continued to surprise caretakers with his spirit and energy, and now has a new home in time for the holidays.
5. Reclusive lynx seen in Banff
If you've never seen a lynx, you're not alone. The reclusive creatures rarely come close to people but in March, one mother and her kitten were caught on tape near Lake Louise, Alta., after a resident saw the creature staring into her window. She may have caught her reflection in the basement window and thought it was another lynx. We can't blame her for being captivated by her own reflection — she's stunning.