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Bei Bei Choo!

National Zoo
Giant panda cub Bei Bei sneezes. As of Sept. 28, Bei Bei weighs 4 lbs.

Fishing Cat Kitten Born May 17th at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
July 2, 2013 Our fishing cat kitten has a spicy personality—and a name to match! Animal care staff at the Smithsonian's National Zoo have given the kitten the name "Wasabi." Wasabi recently had his/her first fishing lesson with mother Electra. A patient mother, Electra waited until Wasabi was paying attention. She showed her kitten the art of pouncing and left a few fish for it to play with—the whole lesson took about ten minutes. After watching mom, Wasabi tried his/her paw at fishing with great enthusiasm! At 11 or 12 weeks old, Wasabi will be a great fisher like Electra. For now, toys and mom's tail are as enticing as fish.

Smithsonian's National Zoo Reptile Discovery Center

National Zoo
Highlights of the Reptile Discovery Center at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

Clouded Leopard Cubs Learning to Climb

National Zoo
If at first they don't succeed, they will climb, climb again! Visit Jilian and Paitoon on Asia Trail from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.!

Shera's Cubs at Two Weeks Old: Day

National Zoo
Keepers say that Shera's cubs, now two weeks old are thriving and beginning to overcome the first milestones of their lives. All of the cubs have now opened their eyes! Recently, they began to venture from the cubbing den (where they were born) into an adjacent enclosure under Shera's watchful eye. You can watch them on the Zoo's cub cam, but since you can't watch the cub cam 24/7, check out this video for a very clear look at their cute faces. The Smithsonian's National Zoo's five-year-old female lion, Shera, gave birth to four cubs between 10:30 p.m. August 30 and 2:00 a.m. August 31. The father is 4-year-old Luke.

Weighing cheetah cubs

National Zoo
Sep. 6, 2018—Our seven cubs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are thriving! They received a clean bill of health at their first veterinary exam, and we confirmed that there are two male and five female cubs in the litter. The cubs are now eight weeks old and have started eating meat. Cheetah cubs normally begin eating meat between six-to-seven week of age, and Erin’s cubs appear to greatly enjoy it. Now that they are eating meat, their daily weights will quickly increase. We weigh the cubs every week to track their growth.

Giant Panda Bei Bei Celebrates His Third Birthday

National Zoo
Bei Bei turned 3 years old today! In celebration of his big day, Bei Bei enjoyed an ice-cake, participated in an enrichment painting session and received a new panda-friendly toy. His cake was specially made by the Zoo’s department of nutrition sciences and included all of his favorite foods. The tiers were made of diluted apple, cranberry and grape juice with leaf-eater biscuit puree. It was decorated and filled with apples, pears, bananas, shredded carrots and cooked sweet potatoes. The number 3 that topped the cake was made of diluted apple juice with a leaf-eater biscuit puree center.

Orangutan Infant Redd Explores His Surroundings

National Zoo
Our Bornean orangutan infant, Redd, is 9 months old! Although he still sticks close to mom, Batang—and she keeps a watchful eye on him—he’s very active and seems to enjoy exploring his surroundings. Read the full update from keeper Erin Stromberg: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/news/orangutan-infant-redd-explores-his-surroundings.

Portugal. The Man: "Sumatran Tiger" Live / Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
Portugal. The Man performing "Sumatran Tiger" for the first time, live at the Smithsonian's National Zoo as part of the #EndangeredSong Project. Launched on Earth Day 2014, the "Endangered Song Project," is an analog-meets-digital outreach campaign that asked 400 participants to help raise awareness about the fact that there are only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. The National Zoo partnered with Atlantic Records' indie band Portugal. The Man to distribute a previously unreleased song titled "Sumatran Tiger." The song was lathe-cut onto 400 custom poly-carbonate records designed to degrade after a certain amount of plays. These records were and are being sent out to influencers—music industry, celebrities, bloggers, policymakers, tech industry influencers, wildlife conservationists, etc. With no other copies in existence, the 400 participants are asked to digitize and share the song through their social channels with the hashtag #EndangeredSong. The song will go extinct unless it's digitally reproduced. The Sumatran tiger will go extinct unless we take action. "Breeding" the song socially will help raise awareness about the critically endangered Sumatran tigers and need for conservation efforts. To learn more, visit /www.endangeredsong.si.edu. To learn more about Portugal. The Man, visit /www.portugaltheman.com

Smithsonian's National Zoo's Asia Trail Exhibit

National Zoo
Highlights of the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Asia Trail exhibit.

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.

Field in Focus: Flying Foxes

National Zoo
Mapping the flight path of Indian flying foxes in Myanmar will help scientists learn more about where these megabats travel, and where they encounter humans and domestic animals. For the first time, scientists are tracking them with light-weight GPS trackers. The trackers will provide a window into the bats' movements that could help humans. If scientists know where bats are interacting with humans and domestic animals, they can help prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases—and maybe even help predict the next pandemic.

Baby Giant Anteater: Interview with biologist Marie Magnuson

National Zoo
On March 12, a giant anteater was born at the Smithsonians National Zoo. This is only the second giant anteater to be born in the history of the Zoo. National Zoo animal care staff and veterinarians had been closely monitoring mother Maripi (ma-RIP-ee) for the past six months, performing weekly ultrasounds and other diagnostics. The National Zoo staff has yet to determine the babys gender or weight—and may not for some time, allowing time for mother and baby to bond.

Bornean Orangutan Redd on the O-Line

National Zoo
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s nearly 7-month-old male Bornean orangutan infant, Redd, took his first trip on the O-Line April 4 carried by his mother, Batang. The 50-foot-high suspended cable track gives orangutans the choice and freedom to move between their yards at the Great Ape House and Think Tank.

Tiger Cub Swim Test (Underwater)

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.

#ZooEnrichment: How is a Raven Like an Artist?

National Zoo
Using non-toxic, water-based paint, American Trail's female raven Iris creates one-of-a-kind works of art! Painting is one among many activities that fall under enrichment, a program that provides physically and mentally stimulating activities and environments for the Zoo's residents. Biologist Rebecca Sturniolo reveals how she trained Iris to use her natural behaviors to paint in the latest Keeper Q & A: http://s.si.edu/1MTtUfu.

River Otter "Pupdate"

National Zoo
The Zoo's 4-month-old North American river otter pups are gaining confidence and exploring their habitat on American Trail, says animal keeper Jackie Spicer. Read the update: https://s.si.edu/2HOuNNv.

B-roll for Media Use: Electric Eel in the Electric Fishes Demonstration Lab

National Zoo
Oct. 5, 2017—The Amazonia Exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is buzzing with a current from a brand-new Electric Fishes Demonstration Lab, opening Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. The multisensory lab is home to a 5-foot-long electric eel, capable of generating up to 800 volts of electricity, four black ghost knifefish, more than a dozen bluntnose knifefish and three elephant-nose knifefish. The new lab features LED lights, a wave-form screen and speakers powered by the electricity the electric eel generates. The lights, screen and speaker will activate when the electric eel emits a charge—allowing visitors to see its strength. Four metal strips in the eel’s tank detect its pulses and convert them to sound, voltage and light. The electric eel can emit weak pulses to help it navigate or powerful charges to catch prey. The more excited the electric eel is, the more power it will generate. Curious visitors interested in a hands-on experience can touch a life-sized model of an eel with a positively charged head and a negatively charged tail. If visitors hold the head and the tail simultaneously, their bodies will complete a weak electrical charge and the model fish will vibrate. Electric eels generate their pulses with electric organs called the Sachs electric organ and Hunter’s electric organ. Both organs have stacked cells—similar to a battery—that produce the pulses resulting in the head of the eel to have a positive charge and the tail to have a negative charge. Visitors will also learn about other electric fishes in the Amazon River basin known as knifefish. With the press of a button, they can hear the difference between the ticking “pulse” of the bluntnose knifefish and the high-pitched “wave” of black ghost knifefish play over the speakers in the Lab. Electric eels have been studied by scientists for more than 200 years. For much of that time it was believed that there was only on species of electric eel. Research by Smithsonian scientists has identified additional species. There are eight species of electric eels throughout the Amazon River basin. The Electric Fishes Demonstration Lab was made possible by donations to the Zoo’s 2016 Electric Fishes Appeal.

Cheetah Cub B-Roll for Media Use

National Zoo
April 5, 2017—The start of spring brought a cheetah cub boom to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va., where two large litters were born over the course of a single week. Three-year-old Happy gave birth to five healthy cubs March 23. Seven-year-old Miti gave birth to seven cubs March 28—two were visibly smaller and less active at the time of birth and died, which is common in litters this large. Both mothers are reportedly doing well and proving to be attentive to the 10 surviving healthy cubs, which have all been successfully nursing. Each litter includes two male and three female cubs. “The average litter size is three, so this time we’ve got an incredible pile of cubs,” said Adrienne Crosier, SCBI cheetah biologist and manager of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP), which matches cheetahs across the population for breeding. “In just one week, we increased the number of cheetahs at SCBI by 50 percent. Each and every cub plays a significant role in improving the health of the population of cheetahs in human care and represents hope for the species overall.” Both Miti and Happy bred in December and were matched with male cats that fit their temperaments and would help ensure genetic diversity within the population. Miti was matched with 6-year-old Nick, who is a first-time father and was the very first cub born at SCBI in 2010. This is Miti’s third litter, though she lost one litter in 2015 due to health complications. Happy bred with 10-year-old Alberto. While this is Happy’s first litter, it is Alberto’s fifth. The two litters born in March are also significant because they mark the second generation of cheetahs born at SCBI, extending the branches of the breeding facility’s cheetah family tree and making grandparents of two older cheetahs that were recently retired together, Amani and Barafu. These will likely be the last litters for both Alberto and Miti, who are now genetically well represented in the population. Forty-six cubs have been born at SCBI since the facility started breeding cheetahs in 2010. Researchers believe that cheetahs, which are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, experienced a population bottleneck about 10,000 years ago, leading to low levels of genetic variation and related health and reproductive problems. This has made management of the population under human care especially challenging. In 2013, a group of organizations, including SCBI, together created the Breeding Centers Coalition to address those challenges after a meeting of the Conservation Centers for Species Survival consortium. As a result, the SSP has produced an average of 46 cubs per year in the past four years, compared to just 29 per year on average in the years before. “One of our big goals across the population right now is to breed more new individual animals, mixing and matching more pairs to diversify the genetics as much as possible,” Crosier said. “The birth of these two litters at SCBI is really symbolic of the recent success story playing out across the country as the result of coordinated efforts and terrific communication between cheetah breeding centers.” In the coming days and weeks, scientists and keepers will continue to monitor the health and behavior of both Miti and Happy and their cubs via a closed-circuit camera in the nest boxes. The cubs will have their first veterinary exam when they are approximately six-weeks old. SCBI plays a leading role in the Smithsonian’s global efforts to save wildlife species from extinction and train future generations of conservationists. SCBI spearheads research programs at its headquarters in Front Royal, Va., the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and at field research stations and training sites worldwide. SCBI scientists tackle some of today’s most complex conservation challenges by applying and sharing what they learn about animal behavior and reproduction, ecology, genetics, migration and conservation sustainability. April 5th, 2017

Batang and Her Infant

National Zoo
Sept. 13, 2016—For the first time in 25 years, primate staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are celebrating the birth of a male Bornean orangutan. He was born at 8:52 p.m. Sept. 12. Both 19 years old, female Batang and male Kyle bred in January following a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). Primate staff have confirmed the newborn is a male. Animal care staff have observed Batang nursing the infant who has been clinging closely to his mother, and they are cautiously optimistic that the newborn will thrive. In this video the infant is vocalizing to Batang, who is carefully inspecting him. Orangutan infants communicate with their mothers through vocalizations, gestures and touch, all of which helps reinforce their bond.

Asian Elephant Meet Up: Introductions Between Two Social Groups

National Zoo
On June 26, the National Zoo's newest Asian elephants Kamala, Maharani and Swarna had their first "meet up" with elephants Bozie, Shanthi and Ambika. The first meeting of these two social groups went exactly as anticipated. The elephants exhibited behaviors that reflect the heightened excitement expected with such an encounter such as ear flapping and balling up of a trunk. Bozie and Kamala exhibited behaviors associated with two elephants testing each other and jockeying for position. They pushed and tussled a little bit, and opened their mouths a few times. Our keepers were encouraged by the expected behaviors they saw today and will continue with gradual introductions. We'll keep you posted on how the girls are getting to know each other!

Earth Optimism: Frogs

National Zoo
We can save frogs with science. Release trials in the wild begin this spring. On Earth Day weekend, the Smithsonian is convening the Earth Optimism Summit, an event about the science that's working to solve complex conservation challenges around the globe. Stay tuned as we share more stories with #EarthOptimism. http://s.si.edu/2nxhpjk

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.

Black footed ferret kits summer 2015

National Zoo
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) has been a leader in black-footed ferret conservation since a small population of this solitary, nocturnal carnivore was discovered in 1981. SCBI received offspring from the species’ surviving 18 individuals and was the first institution to breed black-footed ferrets outside of Wyoming. Faced with a genetic bottleneck, SCBI scientists mitigated threats to the survival of the species by using semen that had been cryopreserved for 10 to 20 years to artificially inseminate live female ferrets. Learn more: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/publications/pressmaterials/pressreleases/press-release.cfm?id=2704
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