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01/13/2013 01:37 pm ET

Animal Photos Of The Week: Sea Lions, Monkeys, Japanese Macaques And More Pictures

This past week, the animal kingdom was full of interesting stories. Trained dogs are being used to protect threatened species around the world, from little penguins in Australia’s Middle Island to rhinos in the South African wilderness. At the Milwaukee zoo, newborn jaguar cubs are expanding the captive-bred endangered species’ gene pool, with traits from a father born in the wild. Recently, scientists were amazed when Banda the basking shark, a species known for staying close to home, traveled an epic 3,100 miles from Ireland to Africa.

Unfortunately, there was some tragic news this week as well. PETA reported significant evidence of animal abuse and racism at a bear park in North Carolina. An outbreak of brain cancer has been discovered in raccoons on the West Coast, possibly due to a curious new virus. Panic arose when a killer whale pod got stuck in the sea ice off the Canadian coast this week. While the orcas were eventually freed, the situation might have been diverted had this winter not been unusually warm.

Thankfully, there was still an abundance of adorable animals to fill our hearts with joy. Check out the happiest animal in the world, these 13 videos of animals kissing, and a photo of a baby snuggling with a dog. For a little something to look forward to in the coming weeks, did you know that there will be hedgehog cheerleaders at this year’s Puppy Bowl?

Find some of the week's best animal photos below:

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Awesome Animal Photos Of 2013

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