2012 has been a good year for inspiring stories about animals. And our favourites run the gamut, from a medical breakthrough that helped a 10-year-old daschund partially regain the use of his legs to a herd of elephants that appear to have held a vigil when their human protector passed away.
The end of the year is a great time to reflect on some of the amazing species we share the planet with.
Check out our top 5 amazing animal stories below, and follow the links to read the full post.
Saying Goodbye: Elephants Hold Apparent Vigil To Mourn Their Human Friend
After conservationist and author Lawrence Anthony died in March this year, a herd of wild South African elephants whose lives he helped save came to his home in the South African KwaZulu to hold an apparent vigil for him.
No one signalled to the elephants that Anthony had died. It seems they somehow sensed that their protector had passed away. They hung around his house for two days, and then moved on. It's a pretty incredible story - check it out right here. We checked in on them back in July, and the herd is doing fine.
Gorilla Brothers, Separated For 3 Years, Reunited & Overjoyed
After 3 years apart, the zookeepers at the Dublin zoo weren't sure 13-year-old Kesho and his 9-year-old brother Alf would even recognize one another. But when they were reunited, well - the pictures speak for themselves.
A mountain gorilla expert called it "gorilla joy; being reunited with someone you used to have good times with and now can again." And that's something even we non-gorillas can relate to.
A Best Friend, Even After Death: Dog Spends Six Years By His Owner's Grave
The relationship between a dog and its owner can be really intense. And in the case of Capitán (as seen in the picture above) and Miguel Guzmán, his owner, it transcended death.
After Guzmán died in 2006, his family lost track of Capitán. But on a visit to Guzmán's grave, they found the dog again - he'd been living there for some time. And in fact, he refused to go home with his family. Instead, he's spent the last six years living by Guzmán's grave, with cemetery staff feeding and caring for him. Now that's a loyal pet.
Jasper: The Paralyzed Dog Who's Walking Again Thanks To Scientists & Unique Cells In His Nose
This isn't just a great story for a dog - it's also big news for the field of spinal cord research. Jasper, a 10-year-old daschund, lost the use of his legs. But a team at the University of Cambridge used cells from the lining of his nose to improve his ability to use his back legs.
Now Jasper can walk on a treadmill with the help of a harness. His owners say he's also much more able to keep up with other dogs when he's out playing.
Check Out The Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Awards
These shots are amazing. For the last 48 years, the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest has given awards for their favourite shots of animals in the wlid.
The overall winner was that red-eyed alligator above. But the other entries run the gamut from adorable to thought-provoking, like a shot of a polar bear stranded amidst many sheets of melting ice. Check out more of the shots right here.
Want To See Something Beautiful? How About A Baby Elephant Rescued And Reunited With Her Mother
Watch A Rare Video Of A Polar Bear Mom Nursing Her Cubs In Churchill, Manitoba