Critter News: Festive penguins, one lucky Dalmatian and cloning dogs for medical research

HARBIN, China - It's another edition of Critter News!! First to northeast China.  What's black and white and red all over?  If you said penguins getting into the holiday spirit, you're absolutely right!

Welcome to Polarland, where an adorable family donned festive red and white Santa costumes to greet visitors to Mini Snow Town, a new section of the massive theme park.  Polarland covers 16,000 square miles and combines animal shows, polar settings and hands-on exhibits. These knee-high waddlers are the perfect height for kiddos to enjoy.

Next, we journey to Miami, Florida where a 10-month old Dalmatian was abandoned in Russia, chained to a barrel.  Talk about a Cruella spot!  But after Lucky's picture was posted on Facebook, life began looking up.

"I saw a post, with a picture of that dog and I made a connection," says Evelina Libhen.  Lucky for Lucky, Libhen also happens to be an attorney and knew just what to do.  After working with a local Dalmatian rescue, Lucky arrived in the U.S.  on Christmas Eve to meet his new adopted family.

Finally, we head back to China and the Sinogene lab in Beijing.

Here we find a cute puppy, then another, and another!  They're all equally cute because they are, in fact, genetically identical.   Each is a clone of a dog named Apple.

But don't get too attached.  Each was designed with medical disorders for medical research.  Feng Chong is a technical director at Sinogene. "Dogs have almost as many inheritable diseases as humans which makes them the best disease models to study."

All three have problems regulating cholesterol, just like Apple. Their condition could lead to heart attacks and strokes.

This is the first time dogs have been cloned independently in China.  Some, like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) question the ethics involved.  They asked if creating a life destined for illness and pain is worth it.

Those in favor say dogs like these will ultimately save people.  They believe cloning dogs, will actually provide a new leash on human life!

Stay connected! Download the CW39 NewsFix app for iOS or Android devices and the CW39 Weather app for iOS or Android devices.