The Daily: December 11

We scour the news so you don't have to
Child and puppy who kept each other alive in Siberian wilderness are reunited
The four-year-old Russian girl, Karina Chikitova, who survived for 12 days in the Siberian wilderness earlier this year, has been reunited with the Alsatian puppy who kept her warm at night. Child and pet became lost after Karina wandered into the Siberian forest, habitat of many wolves and bears. After keeping her charge alive for nine days, the puppy, Naida, returned home to summon help, and eventually led rescuers back to the girl who was found lying in a grassy hole, damp, exhausted and emaciated. She had been living off river water and berries; her doctor at the City Children's Hospital in Yakutsk said the girl's provincial upbringing had helped her to survive: "The family live far away in a remote village, not in the city, and it makes its mark. She was raised close to nature." Now Karina is fully recovered and has returned from the rehabilitation centre to be reunited with Naida. She is looking forward to Christmas, when she hopes the Russian Father Christmas, Ded Moroz, will bring her a Barbie and a kitchen set.

The wild poppy is fast disappearing from Flanders Fields
Research by ecologists has revealed that the poppy, the flower which symbolises lives lost in conflict, is disappearing from Flanders fields where the First World War was fought. The research demonstrates dramatic changes in the plant life of Belgian Flanders and northern France over the past 100 years. Though the diversity of plants in the region has increased, this is not a good thing as it means invasive species are causing plants once native to the area to become extinct. Nin Hautekeete of the University of Lille, who led the study, said: "Plant species' richness and composition has changed drastically since the beginning of the 20th century...A short-term increase in biodiversity could be followed by a long-term decrease which may cause ecosystems to stop working properly."

One in five children believe Jesus Christ is a footballer for Chelsea FC
A survey of 1,000 children, commissioned by Brent Cross Shopping Centre, has revealed the diverse beliefs of youngsters today concerning the meaning of Christmas. Many children struggle with the basics of the traditional Christmas story, and gave a wide range of answers to the multiple choice questions. The most striking response, selected by 20 percent of children, was that Jesus Christ was a footballer for Chelsea FC. A quarter believe the shepherds used Google Maps to locate the stable, and 15 per cent think the Three Kings presented Jesus with a wand, tiara and wings, instead of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 10 per cent insist that Rudolph the reindeer was in the stable at the time. Young visitors who attend Christmas celebrations at the shopping centre will take the survey before seeing Santa, and will be re-educated if necessary. Katie Tucker, Marketing Manager at Brent Cross, said: "Hopefully, by proving to the kids at Brent Cross that Jesus Christ isn't a footballer they will fully appreciate the season of celebration and enjoy it even more."

Endangered gorilla born at London Zoo
A baby gorilla from a critically-endangered species has been born as part of a special breeding programme at London Zoo. The primate, a Western lowland gorilla, was welcomed by zookeepers yesterday morning. Pictures and video released by ZSL London Zoo showed it suckling the breast of 15-year-old mother Mjukuu in the zoo's gorilla enclosure. The baby is Mjukuu's second child and the first child of silverback male Kumbuka, who arrived from Paignton Zoo in May 2013. Gorilla keeper Daniel Simmonds said: "We are thrilled with the birth of a baby gorilla here at ZSL London Zoo and mum and infant are both doing really well. Mjukuu gave birth overnight, surrounded by the rest of the troop – who all seem very pleased, and quite intrigued, by the new arrival. Western-lowland gorillas are critically endangered in the wild, so this infant is a really important addition not only to the Zoo, but for the European conservation breeding programme."

David Attenborough films from a rope pulley at 250ft aged 88
Never let it be said that Sir David Attenborough is past his prime. For his latest assignment, filming an enormous bat colony in Borneo, for the Sky series 'Conquest of the Skies', Sir David filmed while hoisted 250ft up in the air by a series of r
opes. From the depths of Borneo's Gomantong cave, home to a million bats, the naturalist spoke to a camera known as an 'octocopter', fixed to a flying drone. As he did his piece to camera, thousands of bats flew past him on their way out of the cave to hunt. The 88-year-old had a heart pacemaker fitted last year and a knee replacement the year before that, but refuses to let that deter him from his fascinating work. He told the Radio Times, "If I was earning my money by hewing coal I would be very glad indeed to stop. But I'm not; I'm swanning around the world looking at the most fabulously interesting things. Such good fortune."