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Animal House Organ 

Q: How many animal stories does it take to make a Chronicle? A: 30, in two months.

Wednesday, Dec 8 2004
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There's always a place in a daily newspaper for a good animal story -- Page 5 of the Metro section, generally -- but the Chronicle of late has taken things to a faunatical extreme. In fact, the past two months of the paper offer a veritable zoo of animal stories, more than a few of them on Page 1 and accompanied by a photo. A brief alphabetical taxonomy:

Ant (army, meat-eating), dermestid beetle: "Academy's army ants lose the battle to a lowly beetle" (Oct. 2)

Ape: "Fossil find may be the father of us all; It's hailed as last common kin of the great apes and humans" (Nov. 22)

Bear (grizzly): "Rowdy gals face a tamer S.F. lifestyle; After escaping death, sister grizzlies are en route to zoo" (Oct. 3)

Bear (grizzly): "California or bust; 2 grizzly bears escape death in Montana for zoo living" (Oct. 11)

Bear (grizzly): "Habitat Project; Nice grizzly grotto Poses a bear of a problem" (Nov. 15)

Bear (grizzly): "Bad girls have a good day as they go outside at zoo; Montana grizzlies entertain public, astound keepers" (Nov. 18)

Bear (panda): "Pandas possible in 2005; Officials say zoo will break ground on facility in spring" (Dec. 2)

Cat: "81 cats found, taken from house; Ex-nun, nurse said they'd hoped to find homes for them all" (Nov. 6)

Cat: "Humane society getting 81 cats ready to adopt" (Nov. 7)

Cat: "Kitten up for adoption proves picture worth 1,000 words" (Nov. 20)

Cat, dog: "Pet-accessory industry these days is the cat's meow" (Dec. 3)

Cougar, duck (eviscerated remains of): "Cougar spotted on rooftop; Mountain lion leaves fresh tracks in residential area" (Oct. 21)

Dog: "Pregnant, prized show dog snatched from car at Ikea" (Oct. 3)

Dog: "'Assistance dog' designation opens doors for pooches; With state's blessing, S.F. OKs hundreds of therapeutic pets" (Oct. 19)

Dog: "Appreciating our canine companions" (Oct. 16)

Dog: "Man's best friend becoming travelers' favorite perk; More hotels, shelters offer 'loaner' dogs" (Oct. 17)

Dog: "'Dog-walker Jim' loses his leash on North Beach space" (Dec. 3)

Dog, duck: "Dog Days -- and Afternoons; Finding love at Mountain Lake Park" (Nov. 21)

Elephant: "A proposal to ban elephants from zoo" (Oct. 19)

Elephant: "Watching Out for Elephants; Mammals' complex needs keep Oakland Zoo's curator busy" (Nov. 7)

Elephant: "Tinkerbelle's big move comes off without a hitch" (Nov. 29)

Komodo dragon, gorilla (mountain), camel, penguin, monkey (snow): "Animal world awaits" (Nov. 28)

Monkey: "Newborn monkey clings to mom" (Nov. 11)

Murre: "Copter pilot convicted of harassing birds" (Nov. 20)

Seal: "Seal pup rescued in culvert" (Nov. 24)

Seal: "Emmy goes home for the holidays; Young seal found in Oakland culvert returned to ocean" (Nov. 25)

Shrimp, lobster: "Power-kicks from a crustacean land Cal scientist in the spotlight" (Oct. 22)

Sparrow (song): "Exotic grass attacks marshes, mudflats; Invasive plant eliminates natives, threatening wildlife" (Nov. 7)

Tiger (Siberian): "Siberian tiger dies suddenly of cancer; 12-year-old female thought of as smart by S.F. Zoo officials" (Oct. 23)

Turkey: "Small turkey farmers carve special niche; Mom-and-pop operations concentrate on tastiness in raising heritage breeds" (Nov. 25) (Nate Cavalieri)

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John Mecklin

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