12/27/2011 08:30 am ET Updated Dec 27, 2011

Best Weird Animal Photos 2011 (PHOTOS)

According to the Chinese calendar, 2011 was the year of the rabbit, but from our point of view there were too many worthy animals in the news to limit the calendar to one creature. There were many high points in the animal kingdom over the past 12 months, such as an orangutan's laudable attempt to kick burning cigarettes at a Malaysian zoo. But for every triumph, there was a setback, such as the moose -- apparently drunk from eating fermented apples -- that got trapped in the bough of a tree .

Without further ado, here are the top animal news stories and photos from the past year:

Animals In The News: Best Photos Of 2011