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#OrangutanStory: Redd Goes to School

National Zoo
Over the winter, Bornean orangutan Redd learned some new husbandry behaviors! Read the latest #OrangutanStory from primate keeper Erin Stromberg. STORY: https://s.si.edu/2Y2DIjx.

Smithsonian's National Zoo's Cheetah Conservation Station

National Zoo
Highlights of the Cheetah Conservation Station exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

Asian Elephant Bozie - Smithsonian National Zoo PKG

National Zoo
Asian elephant Bozie arrives at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

ZooLights 2019

National Zoo
ZooLights, powered by Pepco, a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free event, ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland! New this year: enjoy dozens of large, glowing animal lanterns and stroll through thousands of reflecting lights as part of the interactive ⁠— and highly Instagrammable — art exhibit called "Entre Les Rangs."

Naked Mole-rat Cam Highlights

National Zoo
Watch our brand new naked mole-rat cam to watch our colony busily bustling about their tunnel system! The cam is in the chamber that keepers fill with a feast of veggies every day. The naked mole-rats eat everything from sweet potato to kale, but they don't drink water at all. They get all their water from their food. The colony also designates different chambers for different functions, so it's not unusual to see naked mole-rats moving food in and out of the chamber.

Mei Xiang Playing in a Bubble Bath Tub

National Zoo
On March 15, Mei Xiang started exhibiting behavioral signs that breeding season is approaching! A urinary hormone analysis confirmed that her change in behavior was due to her rising estrogen levels, signaling that the panda breeding season will be here soon. Mei Xiang’s behavioral changes have not been especially subtle, she has broken from her energy-efficient routine of eating and sleeping and is instead much more active. She is very eager to play and splash in the pools in her yard and enclosure, and the bubble bath tubs she receives as extra enrichment. She also has been scent-marking around her habitat. Scent-marks are one of the ways giant pandas communicate if they are ready to breed. Adults do not spend time together outside of the breeding season. A scent-mark helps the solitary animals find each other during the 24-to-72-hour window the female is able to conceive a cub. Mei Xiang is not just advertising her rising hormonal levels through her restlessness and scent-marks, she is also vocalizing. She began bleating at keepers, which is something she only does during the breeding season. Tian Tian has been following all of these changes vigilantly. Over the weekend, he started bleating at Mei Xiang, one of his ways to communicate that he is interested in her. He also has been spending a lot of time at the howdy window that separates their yards. This week he has been bleating more frequently and has tried to keep Mei Xiang within his sight. Although Tian Tian is very interested in Mei Xiang, she has made it clear with her vocalizations that she is not ready to breed. Keepers are going to continue to monitor the pandas for behavioral changes. Meanwhile, endocrinologists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute will continue monitoring her hormones to determine when Mei Xiang reaches peak estrus.

Giant Panda Mei Xiang Gives Birth at Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
Giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) gave birth to a cub at the Smithsonian's National Zoo 5:32 p.m. The panda team heard the cub vocalize and glimpsed the cub for the first time briefly immediately after the birth. Mei Xiang picked the cub up immediately and began cradling and caring for it. Behavior watchers have been monitoring her 24 hours a day since Aug. 7 via the panda cams. The panda team began preparing for a birth when they saw her water break around 3:36 p.m. and she began having contractions. Mei Xiang started spending extended amounts of time body licking and cradling her toys Aug. 11, all signs that she could give birth. For the first time this year scientists used another test developed by the Memphis Zoo which analyzed Mei Xiang's levels of prostaglandin metabolite (a fatty acid) to narrow the window when she would give birth or experience a pseudopregnancy. Scientists at the Memphis Zoo performed the analysis and determined that if Mei Xiang were pregnant she would likely give birth during the last week of August. If she were not, her pseudopregnancy would have likely ended in early September. "I'm glued to the new panda cams and thrilled to hear the squeals, which appear healthy, of our newborn cub," said Dennis Kelly, director of the Smithsonian's National Zoo. "Our expansive panda team has worked tirelessly analyzing hormones and behavior since March, and as a result of their expertise and our collaboration with scientists from around the world we are celebrating this birth." Keepers and veterinarians will perform a preliminary health exam on the cub within the next 48 hours. Li Guo, lead giant panda keeper at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, is at the National Zoo supporting the giant panda keepers. Li and the Zoo's panda team will perform health checks every few days during the next week. The panda cams will be briefly turned off when the team performs the health checks. National Zoo scientists detected a secondary rise in Mei Xiang's urinary progesterone July 10. The rise indicated that she would either have a cub or experience the end of a pseudopregnancy within 40 to 55 days. In the weeks since, keepers and veterinarians have monitored Mei Xiang closely. She has exhibited behavior consistent with a pregnancy or pseudopregnancy since the end of July. Her appetite has been steadily decreasing, and during the past few weeks she has spent significantly more time in her den. Veterinarians had been attempting regular ultrasounds to monitor changes in her reproductive tract and look for evidence of a fetus since late June, but Mei Xiang chose to stop participating in them several weeks ago. The only definitive way to determine if a female is pregnant before she gives birth to a cub is to detect a fetus on an ultrasound. Mei Xiang's last ultrasound was Aug. 5, during which veterinarians saw no evidence of a fetus. Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated twice March 30 after natural breeding attempts with the Zoo's male giant panda, Tian Tian (t-YEN t-YEN), were unsuccessful. A team of Zoo scientists and veterinarians, including Tang Chunxiang, the assistant director and chief veterinarian of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at Wolong, performed the artificial inseminations. During the first procedure she was artificially inseminated with a combination of fresh semen collected from Tian Tian and frozen semen collected from Tian Tian in 2003. The second procedure was performed with frozen semen collected from Tian Tian in 2003 and frozen semen collected from the San Diego Zoo's male giant panda, Gao Gao, in 2003. National Zoo scientists will perform a paternity analysis in the coming weeks to determine which male sired the cub. This is Mei Xiang's third cub born as the result of an artificial insemination. The panda team expects Mei Xiang to spend almost all of her time in her den for the next two weeks with her newborn cub. The David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat has been closed to the public since Aug. 2, and will remain closed until further notice to provide quiet for Mei Xiang and her cub. Both will be visible on the panda cam. Visitors can see Tian Tian in his outdoor habitat and on the panda cam. Mei Xiang gave birth to her first cub, Tai Shan, July 9, 2005. Tai Shan was born as a result of artificial insemination and now lives at the Panda Base in BiFengxia in Ya'an, China. Mei Xiang gave birth to her second cub born as the result of an artificial insemination Sept. 16, 2012. Six days after her birth, the giant panda cub died from liver damage caused by underdeveloped lungs.

#OrangutanStory: A Redd Winter

National Zoo
At 16 months old, Bornean orangutan infant Redd is growing stronger and more independent every day. Read all about Redd’s progress and favorite activities in the latest Q&A with animal keeper Erin Stromberg. https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/news/orangutanstory-update-redd-winter

Primates and Peanuts: Testing Tool IQ

National Zoo
Two peanuts sit on a tray. One is beneath the curve of a tool; the other is beside a different tool, out of reach. Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Allen’s swamp monkey Nub Armstrong is eyeing both. Will he pick the tool that brings the peanut toward him? To examine whether guenons understand how tools work, primate keeper Erin Stromberg and University of Michigan graduate student Missy Painter have teamed up to put these monkeys’ smarts to the test. STORY: https://s.si.edu/2IVKrZj.

Otter Pup Vet Exam 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.

Cheetah Cub Explores Beyond Its Nest Box

National Zoo
One of the cheetah cubs born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's facility in Front Royal, Virginia, ventured beyond its next box yesterday and explored the den it shares with its foster mother and foster sibling. The older cub, a male, was born on Dec. 6, 2010 to Amani. Because mothers that have only one cub cannot produce enough milk, Amani's cub was placed with Zazi, an experienced mother who gave birth to a female cub on Dec. 16, 2010. Both cubs are thriving under Zazi's care. There are currently no plans to bring the cubs to the Zoo's campus in Washington, D.C.

Lion Cubs Born August 31, 2010

National Zoo
The Smithsonian's National Zoo welcomed this year's second litter of African lion (Panthera leo) cubs. On Aug. 31, Shera gave birth to four cubs—the first litter for 5-year-old Shera and the first surviving litter for 4-year-old male Luke. The cubs were born between 10:30 p.m. Monday and 2:30 a.m. Tuesday and since then have been mobile and appear to have nursed. This footage from the web cam in the den gives a sneak peek at the new cubs. "Our hope is that her maternal instincts will kick in quickly, but we are keeping in mind that this whole experience is new to her," said Kristen Clark, a lion and tiger keeper. "We will be closely monitoring how she reacts to her cubs, since there is a possibility that she could reject them. Nababiep [Shera's 6-year-old sister] was an excellent mother to her first cub, and we have every indication that Shera will be the same." Keepers suspect that Nababiep is pregnant again and will monitor her behavior in the coming weeks.

Helping the Elephant-Sized Medicine Go Down

National Zoo
Oct. 3, 2014—Ever wonder how elephants take their medicine? Last week, we told you that 38-year-old Asian elephant Bozie was being treated by our animal care team for colic-like symptoms. Following 24-hour care and daily treatments, Bozie’s overall appetite and water intake has improved and she is back to eating her normal diet of fruits, grains and greens. As blood test results revealed that she has a serious infection, the challenge for our team is to try to pinpoint its origin and continue to administer antibiotics for the next month or longer to ensure her full recovery. However, just like children, elephants sometimes need some coaxing to take an elephant-sized dosage of meds. Sometimes for specific critical situations, we bend the nutritional rules and provide non-typical items to deliver the medication Mary Poppins style. Bozie is one of those cases. Check out this behind-the-scenes look at how our team is using banana bread, peanut butter and even potato chips to help the medicine go down.

Field in Focus: Predicting Pandemics

National Zoo
Animal health and human health are connected. Seventy-five percent of emerging infectious diseases begin in wildlife species and jump to humans. Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute veterinarians with the Global Health Program are studying infectious disease in different species to help prevent and predict pandemics.

Sumatran tiger Cub Born July 11, 2017

National Zoo
Great Cats keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are celebrating the birth of a Sumatran tiger, a critically endangered species. The cub’s mother, 8-year-old Damai, gave birth at 4:17 p.m. July 11. Keepers watched the birth via a closed-circuit camera and continue to closely monitor the cub, which appears to be nursing, moving and behaving normally. Animal care staff are allowing Damai and the cub time to bond, so it may be some time before veterinarians can determine the cub’s sex. This is the second litter for Damai but the first for the Zoo’s 13-year-old male, Sparky.

Clouded Leopard Cubs at Two Weeks Old

National Zoo
The clouded leopard cubs born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center (CRC) are both male as confirmed by the veterinary team. The cubs, born on March 24, are a healthy 1 pound 3-5 oz. each and have opened their eyes. They are now eating every four hours, down from their original schedule of a feeding every three hours.

Panda Cub Rolls Over

National Zoo
Mei's cub can roll from her front to her back, but then she has to yell for Mei's help.

Red Panda Cub Weighs 3 Pounds

National Zoo
Our red panda cub born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is growing. He weighs 3 pounds. As adults, red pandas weigh about 10 pounds. He will begin venturing outside the nestbox where he spends most of his time in the coming weeks.

Abyssinian ground hornbills Karl and Karoline

National Zoo
Abyssinian ground hornbills Karl and Karoline live at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

Hereford Calf Debuts at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

National Zoo
Kids’ Farm keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo welcomed a new member to the cattle herd—a 10-month-old female Hereford calf named Willow. Born Oct. 4, 2018, Willow came to the Zoo from South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland. Her arrival bumps the number of cattle at the Kids’ Farm up to three, as she joins the Zoo’s 16-year-old Hereford heifer Rose and 1-year-old female Holstein calf, Magnolia.

Emperor Tamarins at Amazonia

National Zoo
Emperor tamarins live in the forests of the Amazon Basin. They spend most of their time in trees, navigating from branch to branch foraging for insects, fruit and leaves. Fully grown, they only weigh about one pound. The tiny monkeys live in extended family groups, which helps prepare young monkeys for parenthood. Come see Fleck and Poe at Amazonia! #MonkeyMustaches #EmperorTamarin #WeSaveSpecies

#ZooEnrichment Fishing Cat Kitten Learns to Fish

National Zoo
To some animals, #ZooEnrichment means testing one's survival skills. For the fishing cat kitten born April 15, it means learning how to fish! A patient mother, Electra watches her kitten as it wades and pounces on some unsuspecting goldfish. This six-week-old kitten just began its lessons. By the time it turns 11-12 weeks, it will be able to fish as well as mom! Learn More: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Support/MakeDonation/GivingTree.cfm

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.

Red Panda Cubs Born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

National Zoo
Seven red panda cubs were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute! The cubs were born to mothers Nutmeg, Regan and Leo Mei. Keepers are hand-raising five of the cubs. Our animal care team is always hopeful that new moms will raise their own cubs, but that’s not always possible. And when it isn’t, keepers are ready to hand-raise cubs. Leo Mei had aggressive cancer which metastasized and her condition declined rapidly. Unable to stop its spread, or improve her quality of life, our animal care team made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her after she gave birth. Regan is a very genetically valuable red panda and important to the population in human care, but she has not been able to successfully rear cubs on her own. Keepers made the decision to hand-rear her cubs before she gave birth to give them the greatest chance of survival. Nutmeg is raising her own cubs, and they appear to be doing well. ‪#‎WeSaveSpecies‬
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