Animals made the news in Central New York quite often throughout 2016, from a "Moose on the Loose" to close encounters with lions at the Utica Zoo. These are our favorite, cutest animal stories of the last year.

  • 1

    Puppy Mill Puppy Gets Second Chance at Life

    Thanks to students in Mr. Lallier's technology class at Oriskany Central Schools, Claire the puppy is getting a better life. Claire was a puppy mill puppy who has had a laundry list of issues including some major problems with her back legs (she pretty much couldn't use them). The students helped create and build a wheelchair for the puppy so she could get around and have a better quality of life. You can read the whole heart-warming story here.

    Photo Credit Chris Lallier – Oriskany Central Schools Technology Teacher
  • 2

    The Utica Zoo Celebrates a Very Special Birthday

    May 11th was a very special day for Donovan over at the Utica Zoo. The African Lion celebrated his 5th birthday with some very special treats including cardboard boxes (because it's not just little domestic cats that love boxes). You can watch the video of him having all his birthday fun here.

    Photo Credit: The Utica Zoo
  • 3

    Snow Geese Flock to Central New York

    Our 2015-2016 winter was pretty mild, which could be the reason why thousands upon thousands of snow geese flocked to our area. The amount of them were just overwhelming - See for yourself in the video below:

  • 4

    Adorable Dog Brings Happiness to Nursing Home

    Andrea from Oneida knew her dog "Teddy" very special, but she didn't know how special he was until she brought him in to a nursing home to try to cheer up some of the residents. Not only did it work, but for one woman, who nurses said hadn't smiled in days, Teddy was enough to bring joy to her - And she smiled! The residents seemed to love all the puppy-kisses and being able to pet the dog. It was a small act of kindness that went a long way in Central New York.

    Photo Credit: Andrea Hart
  • 5

    Cute Baby Snow Leopards Will Melt Your Heart

    Get ready for cuteness-overload, baby snow leopards! These lovable cubs are on the endangered species list and are typically found in the snowy regions of Central and Southeast Asia near the Himalayas, but now you can come see them in Chittenango.

    See all the cuteness of these three-month-old cubs in the video below:

  • 6

    Meet the First Pit Bull to be a Part of a NY Police Department

    There’s a new sheriff in town… Okay, Kiah is not a sheriff, but the dog is leading the way for Pit Bulls and trying to break common stereotypes for the breed. Kiah is the first Police Pit Bull in New York. The pup graduated from a K9 training school back in November 2015 and will be used for missing person searches, with the Poughkeepsie Police Department. See Kiah in action, in the video below:

  • 7

    Close Encounters with Lions at the Utica Zoo

    Imagine being inches away from big, African Lions. Well, it's a possibility with the Utica Zoo's "Close Encounters" experiences. You can go into some of the animals' enclosures, learn about them on a more in-depth level, and learn how the zoo takes care of these animals. They have many of these "Close Encounters" experiences, but Matt and Naomi Lynn got to be up-close to the African Lions. You can read more about these "encounters" here.

    And see a piece of Matt and Naomi's adventure in the video below:

  • 8

    Baby Eagles Nesting in Marcy

    It's pretty cool to see the bald eagles at the Utica Zoo, but did you know we have our own bald eagles flying around (and nesting) in Marcy? There's a huge nest with two adult eagles and three little babies that is starting to become a tourist attraction. The tree housing the large eagle’s nest is located in a small ravine, making the nest almost eye-level from where onlookers stand.

    Photo Credit: John Reitz
  • 9

    The Adventures of 'Pumpkin' - The Camden Library Cat

    "Pumpkin" was a stray kitten who somehow managed to find his way into the Camden Public Library and has had a better life since. The cat keeps an eye on the people coming and going to the library, greets the guests, and of course has to be open to many belly-rubs and pats on the head (tough job, we know). In one of the cutest videos we've seen this year, watch Pumpkin's adventures below:

  • 10

    A Moose on the Loose in Gloversville

    2016 was the year for runaway animals in Utica and Central New York. There was a cow on the loose in Utica and New Hartford for months, then there was a goat on the loose, geese holding up traffic, and of a course a moose running around.

    Photo Credit: Kayla Amber Marsh