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National Zoo's New Seal and Sea Lion Exhibit Sneak Peek

National Zoo
Get a preview of the wonderful new exhibit the National Zoo is building for the our seals and sea lions. Not only are we creating a better home for our marine mammals but we're also creating a multi-sensory experience with great animal viewing opportunities for visitors.

Returning Scimitar-horned Oryx to Chad

National Zoo
Thirty years after the scimitar-horned oyrx were driven to extinction, the desert antelope will return to the last-known place it existed: Chad’s Sahelian grasslands. The reintroduction—the culmination of decades of work—is being led by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), the government of Chad and their implementing partner, the Sahara Conservation Fund. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and Zoological Society of London are leading post-release satelite-tracking efforts that will result in the collection of one of the most comprehensive datasets for any wildlife species returned to its native habitat.

Monitoring and Analysis of the Acoustic Landscape (Soundscape) in the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve

National Zoo
Please click on the closed captioning button ("CC") for English translation. This video summarizes the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's acoustic monitoring research in south central Peru, an experiment designed to understand the impacts of natural gas exploration on forest animals. Further details can be found here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1470160X16306392.

Artificially Inseminating Stanley Cranes

National Zoo
Keepers at the Smithsonian's National Zoo perform an artificial insemination (AI) procedure on a pair of Stanley Cranes. A Stanley Crane chick was successfully hatched on May 23, 2011.

Celebrating Kids' Farm Month at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
At the Smithsonian's National Zoo April is Kids' Farm Month! Visitors to the Kids' Farm, sponsored by State Farm®, can enjoy special activities every day.

Bennett's Wallaby Joey Peeks Out of the Pouch

National Zoo
A wallaby popped its head out of its mother’s pouch last week at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Keepers had observed the newborn pup kicking and moving in the pouch of its mother, Victoria, for the past several weeks, but it had not ventured to stick its head out until March 11. It is the first joey for Victoria and dad, Sydney. Keepers at the Small Mammal House had been expecting to see a joey make an appearance for the past several weeks. They had noticed kicking inside Victoria’s pouch and her occasionally opening it to check on the baby inside. Since the joey made an appearance, keepers have continued monitoring the two to ensure they are doing well. Veterinarians will perform an exam when the joey is older. Keepers expect that the baby will start spending time outside the pouch in one to two months. The joey was born several months ago, though it is difficult to be sure of the exact date. Wallaby gestation is exceptionally short, a mere 29 days. Pups are born hairless, blind and weigh less than an ounce. Although they are underdeveloped, they climb into their mother’s pouch using their arms. After they make it to the pouch, they immediately latch on to a nipple to nurse. They finish developing in the pouch, opening their eyes and growing fur, and spend all of their time outside the pouch by 9 months old. It is possible that Victoria is already pregnant with a second pup. Wallabies can have up to three joeys at one time—one in the uterus, one in the pouch and one living outside the pouch. They are capable of producing milk for older and younger joeys simultaneously. Keepers will continue watching for signs of a second baby.

Footage of giant panda birth at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
As panda cam watchers may have noticed: from Mei's behavior and the sounds we're hearing, we have a giant panda cub! As far as we can tell, the cub was born at about 10:46 p.m. on September 16. According to chief veterinarian Suzan Murray: "Mei Xiang is behaving exactly the same way she did when Tai Shan was born. She is cradling her cub closely , and she looks so tired, but every time she tries to lay down, the cub squawks and she sits right up and cradles the cub more closely. She is the poster child for a perfect panda mom." We believe there is only one cub. If the cub is to have a twin, we should know by sunrise. For now, the only way animal care staff will monitor the cub is using the web cams. Our goal is for Mei Xiang to raise this cub naturally. With Tai Shan, it wasn't until he was about two weeks old that Mei walked away from him briefly and our veterinary team was able to give him a brief well-cub exam. Keep your eyes on the panda cam and on our website and social media networks for more #cubwatch updates!

Our Sea Lion Pup Is Growing!

National Zoo
Over the last couple of weeks, our American Trail keepers have watched our California sea lion pup transform into an independent and curious pinniped full of personality! KEEPER UPDATE: https://s.si.edu/2z3WOLH.

Cuban Crocodiles B-Roll

National Zoo
Five critically endangered Cuban crocodiles hatched at the National Zoo’s Reptile Discovery Center between July 29 and Aug. 7. The eggs were laid by Dorothy, a 57-year-old genetically valuable crocodile. The hatchlings are less than a foot long, but they could reach up to 10.5 feet long when fully grown. Dorothy laid a clutch of 24 eggs in a hole nest May 12. Crocodiles build either mound or hole nests. Hole nests are not always easily visible after females dig them; however, keepers had been monitoring Dorothy carefully and noticed physical changes indicating she had recently laid eggs. After a week of searching the exhibit for her nest, they found it and excavated the eggs. Ten of the eggs were fertile and moved to an incubator. Half of those fertile eggs continued to develop during the entire gestation period. A crocodile embryo will develop into a male or female depending on the incubating temperature of the eggs. Only eggs incubated between 89.6 and 90.5 degrees Fahrenheit will hatch out males; any temperature higher or lower will result in females. The surface temperature of Dorothy’s nest was 84.7 degrees Fahrenheit when keepers reached it, and it was seven inches deep. Keepers incubated the eggs in the temperature range to hatch out males, but it is too early to definitively determine the sex of each crocodile. The Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Cuban crocodiles requested that the Zoo hatch all males to ensure that the Cuban crocodile population in human care continues to be sustainable. In the wild, a Cuban crocodile’s nest will range in temperature. Depending on an egg’s temperature in the nest, some eggs could incubate at much warmer temperatures than others, resulting in males and females hatching out of the same clutch. The baby crocodiles are behind the scenes at the Reptile Discovery Center being cared for by keepers. Guests can see adult Cuban crocodiles Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Jefe on exhibit as usual. Cuban crocodiles are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are threatened with habitat loss, hybridization and illegal hunting. They are only found in two swamps in Cuba.

Anteater Bath

National Zoo
Giant anteater baby Cyrano and his mother Maripi take a bath.

Four-Week-Old River Otter Pups at Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is otterly delighted to introduce Coquille, Potomac and Nash—American Trail’s adorable North American river otter pups! Born to 3-year-old parents Ashkii and Emmett, their arrival Jan. 21 marked the first births of their species in the Zoo’s 130-year history. Get the latest news in this PUPdate with assistant curator Rebecca Sturniolo. https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/news/new-zoo-north-american-river-otter-pups

Giant Panda Cub is Almost Eight Weeks Old

National Zoo
The gates at the Smithsonian's National Zoo will open to the public Friday, October 18! The live animal cams were turned off during the government shutdown, including the panda cams. The Zoo's Information Technology staff began the process of bringing the live animal cams back online Thursday morning, starting with the panda cams. The 15 different camera systems required federal resources, primarily staff, to operate and were deemed non-essential during a shutdown. With the return of the cams, giant panda fans can once again watch the Zoo's eight week-old cub and her mother Mei Xiang. Since the panda cams went dark the cub has grown and passed several developmental milestones. She weighs five pounds (2.557 kilograms), up from 3.07 pounds (1.39 kilograms) at her veterinary exam September 26. She also has partially opened her eyes. Keepers noticed that her right eye had started to open October 4. By October 11, both her eyes had partially opened. Her ears are also fully open and she now reacts to the noises she hears in the panda house. Mei Xiang is leaving the cub for longer periods of time to eat, drink, interact with keepers and venture outside for very short periods of time. She is eating all of her leaf-eater biscuits and produce that keepers offer her every day, and approximately 60 percent of her bamboo. Saturday, October 12, she chose to participate in a training session with keepers in her outdoor training area. While her mother spends time in other parts of the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat the cub scoots around the den, though she does not get very far. She will not be able to walk until she is about four months old, and has not left the den on her own yet. She is strong enough to push herself up on her front two legs and right herself if she is lying on her back. We will resume providing updates, photos and videos of Mei Xiang and the cub via Facebook, Twitter, and our Giant Panda Bulletin.

Tiger Cub Swim Test

National Zoo
Two Sumatran tiger cubs took a brisk doggy paddle at the Smithsonian's National Zoo today and passed their swim reliability test. The male and female cubs, named Bandar and Sukacita (SOO-kah-CHEE-tah), were born at the Zoo Aug. 5. All cubs born at the Great Cats exhibit must undergo the swim reliability test and prove that they are ready to be on exhibit. Bandar and Sukacita were able to keep their heads above water, navigate to the shallow end of the moat and climb onto dry land. Now that they have passed this critical step, the cubs are ready to explore the yard with their mother, 4-year-old Damai.

Calaya Gives birth to Moke

National Zoo
We are thrilled to share that western lowland gorilla Calaya gave birth to a male at 6:25 p.m. yesterday. His name, Moke [pronounced mo-KEY], means “junior” or “little one” in the Lingala language. Primate keepers are happy to report that Calaya has been caring for her infant and are optimistic he will thrive. #GorillaStory #WeSaveSpecies Learn more: https://s.si.edu/2JQE8U7.

Earth Optimism: Oryx

National Zoo
Extinct in the wild for more than 35 years, scimitar-horned oryx are back in their native habitat thanks to international collaboration and the power of science. #EarthOptimism #WeSaveSpecies On Earth Day weekend, the Smithsonian is convening the Smithsonian Earth Optimism Summit, an event about the science that's working to solve complex conservation challenges around the globe. https://earthoptimism.si.edu/

Bao Bao Bites Her Foot

National Zoo
Jan. 12, 2014 Bao Bao can be seen practicing her motor skills around the panda house at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat now, but on Jan. 12, 2014, while entertaining herself in the den, she took a nibble of her rear paw.

National Zoo Celebrates First Cheetah Births at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

National Zoo
Many years of research are celebrated in the birth of two cheetah cubs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute—the first cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) born at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park facility in Front Royal, Va. The cubs were born to two separate females; the first to 5-year-old Amani Dec. 6, the second to 9-year-old Zazi Dec. 16

New Amur tiger debuts at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
For the first time since 1948, the Great Cats habitat at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is once again home to an Amur tiger, a 10-year-old male named Pavel. He came to the Zoo from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Ill. Keepers describe the new-cat-in-town’s personality as reserved but laid-back when interacting with animal care staff. Beginning Jan. 5, Pavel will rotate daily on exhibit.

Przewalski's Horse Foals at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

National Zoo
Przewalski's horse foals at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia

Amphibians and Reptiles of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve

National Zoo
Directing and editing/Dirección y edición – Sharanya Sarathy, Maggie Graupera & Lesley L. Romero Bardalez

Releasing Black-footed Ferrets into the Wild

National Zoo
During the first week of September 2014, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists were doing what they do best: saving species. Staff released six more black-footed ferrets—once thought to be extinct in North America—into the Colorado prairie. SCBI supervisory biologist Warren Lynch and animal keeper Chris Crowe were on hand for the release, as was senior education specialist Laura Linn. The team also transported 32 ferrets from SCBI to the Ferret Conservation Center. Those 32 ferrets will be reintroduced onto North American prairies later this fall. SCBI breeds black-footed ferrets every year. SCBI senior curator Paul Marinari, who also keeps the studbook for the Black-Footed Ferret Species Survival Program, worked with Fish and Wildlife Service to determine, based on genetics, which ferrets would be released into the wild. #WeSaveSpecies

Exam of the First Born Panda Cub

National Zoo
Around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 23, 2015 veterinarians examined the cub Mei Xiang gave birth to at 5:35 p.m. Aug. 22.

African Lion Cub Update

National Zoo
Feb. 26, 2014 Yesterday was a busy morning for African lion Naba and her two cubs—who turned one month old Feb. 24! The family has moved back on to the public cam, and keepers were able to capture the family's waking moments. The cubs, who now weigh 13 and 14 lbs, had a bit of a wrestle before playing with mom's tail. Keepers have has an opportunity to closely examine the cubs several times, and they believe that we have two females! Although it's not uncommon to mis-sex cubs at such a young age, keepers feel confident in their assessment. Meanwhile, Naba's sister Shera is in an adjacent den. Keepers anticipate that she will give birth soon. We will be sure to keep you updated! http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GreatCats/default.cfm

Two-toed Sloth Eats Treats

National Zoo
Two-toed sloth, Vlad, enjoying some treats at the Small Mammal House. Sloths metabolize food so slowly that they only defecate an average of once per week. This is quite an event for a sloth as they have to lower themselves to the base of their trees to do so and can lose up to one third body weight in a single defecation.
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