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#GorillaStory: Moke on the Mend

National Zoo
Over the weekend, primate keepers noticed that the Zoo’s western lowland gorilla infant, Moke, was not placing weight on his left leg. A veterinary exam revealed that the rambunctious 9-month-old had a fractured femur. Moke is resting and recovering with his parents, Calaya and Baraka, under the close watch of the animal care team. Find out more about Moke’s treatment: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/news/gorillastory-moke-mend.

Apps for Apes: Smithsonian Orangutans using iPads for Enrichment

National Zoo
The Smithsonian's National Zoo is participating in the Apps4Apes program. The Apps4Apes program is an Orangutan Outreach initiative, designed to further enrich the quality of lives for primates in zoos. The animals are allowed to engage with basic apps for added mental stimulation and entertainment. Video produced by Elliott Fabrizio, Smithsonian's National Zoo Office of Communications. Special thanks to Orangutan Outreach.

B-Roll: Sumatran Tiger Cub at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
As the world prepares to celebrate Global Tiger Day this Saturday, July 29, Great Cats keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo have some big news to share about the 2-week-old Sumatran tiger cub in their care: it appears to be a boy! The cub’s birth July 11 marked an important milestone for the Zoo: this is the second litter for mother Damai but the first for 13-year-old father, Sparky. Keepers are monitoring Damai and her offspring via a closed-circuit camera, allowing the family time to bond.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo Celebrates Giant Panda Bei Bei’s First Birthday

National Zoo
The National Zoo and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China celebrated giant panda cub Bei Bei’s (BAY-BAY) first birthday this morning with a Zhuazhou (dra-JO) ceremony. During a traditional Zhuazhou ceremony, symbolic objects are placed in front of a baby. The item that the baby reaches for first foretells something about his or her future. The Zhuazhou for Bei Bei was slightly modified for a panda cub. Mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) chose the red knot on behalf of Bei Bei, which means he will serve as an ambassador for scientific collaboration.

FIELD IN FOCUS | Elephants in Myanmar: Tracking Elephants

National Zoo
Follow our scientists as they track endangered elephants in Myanmar with GPS collars. They have collared about 35 elephants during the past 17 years. The more they learn about how Asian elephants travel and move through the landscape, the better they can protect them.

Smithsonian's National Zoo: Giant Panda Bao Bao's First Birthday with Zhuazhou Ceremony

National Zoo
The National Zoo and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China celebrated giant panda cub Bao Bao’s first birthday Aug. 23 with a Zhuazhou (dra-JO) ceremony. During a traditional Zhuazhou ceremony, symbolic objects are placed in front of a baby. The item that the baby reaches for first foretells something about his or her future. The Zhuazhou for Bao Bao was slightly modified for a panda cub. Three posters with symbols painted on them were placed in Bao Bao’s yard. Each poster had a different image, painted by students from the Sunshine School, affiliated with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and Friends of the National Zoo summer campers. Ambassador Cui Tiankai, Dennis Kelly, director of the National Zoo, and Brandie Smith, senior curator of mammals placed small honey treats (a new favorite treat of Bao Bao’s) under the posters. One poster had peaches painted on it; in China peaches are a symbol of longevity. The second poster had bamboo painted on it, representing good health for the panda cub. The final poster had pomegranates painted on it; in China pomegranates are a symbol of fertility. Bao Bao chose the peaches first, which means she will live a long life as an ambassador for panda conservation. She then played with the poster with bamboo painted on it and finally the pomegranate poster.

Keeper Memories: Marty and Bei Bei

National Zoo
Our keepers have been caring for Bei Bei since the day he was born. Now, he's all grown up and it's time to say goodbye. #PandaStory #ByeByeBeiBei

Asian Elephant Journey: From Calgary to the Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
On Monday, June 23, Asian elephants Swarna, Maharani and Kamala finished their 30-day quarantine and made their public debut at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. This is the story of their journey from Calgary to their new home in Washington, DC. To learn more visit: http://ow.ly/ymx2Z

Bei Bei's 4th Birthday

National Zoo
Bei Bei (BAY-BAY) turned 4 years old today, Aug. 22. The Department of Nutrition Science at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo made him a panda-friendly frozen cake as a birthday treat. Keepers placed the cake made of his favorite foods including diluted apple and grape juice, leaf-eater biscuits, applesauce, apples, pears, bananas, carrots, cooked sweet potatoes and sugar cane in his yard at 9 a.m. Bei Bei was born at the Zoo but will move to China now that he is 4 years old as stipulated in the Zoo’s giant panda breeding agreement. The preparations for his move are well underway and include working with other federal agencies, researching travel logistics, coordinating with colleagues in China and preparing Bei Bei for the move. A date for his move has not been finalized, but it will occur in the coming months.

B-roll: Guam Kingfisher Chick Hatching

National Zoo
A female Guam kingfisher, a brightly colored bird and one of the most endangered bird species on the planet, hatched at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va., May 17. The Guam kingfisher is the most endangered species living at SCBI. There are about 140 Guam kingfishers in the world and they all live in human care. The chick has been living in an incubator that mimics the conditions of a nest. A closed-circuit camera inside the incubator caught the exact moment the chick hatched. It has been four years since the last chick hatched at SCBI. Guam kingfishers are notoriously difficult to breed. They are territorial and it has been difficult to match compatible breeding pairs. The chick’s mother and father moved to SCBI from the Saint Louis Zoo in 2016 and 2014, respectively. This was the first fertile egg they have produced together. However, since the pair did not display appropriate parenting behaviors, keepers artificially incubated the egg and are hand-raising the chick. The incubation period for Guam kingfishers is relatively short—only 21 to 23 days. The chick hatched after 22 days. During the incubation, keepers candled—or shined a light against the shell of the egg—to track the chick’s development. When it hatched, the chick weighed 5.89 grams. For the first seven days, keepers fed it every two hours between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The chick eats chopped mice and crickets, mealworms and anoles. Keepers are gradually decreasing the number of feedings until the chick is 30 days old and ready to fledge the nest. All existing Guam kingfishers are descended from 29 individuals. They were taken from the wild into human care in the 1980s to create a breeding program to save the species from extinction. SCBI hatched its first chick in 1985. Since then, 19 chicks have hatched at SCBI as part of the Guam Kingfisher Species Survival Plan. 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.

#ZooEnrichment: Green Tree Monitor at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
At the Reptile Discovery Center, our green tree monitor lizard is following the scent of its prey. Keeper Lauren Augustine hid food in a log with holes of different sizes and depths. To find (and eat) his meal, the lizard must problem-solve using his sight, smell and tactile senses. This puzzle feeder is part of the Zoo's enrichment program, which encourages animals to use their natural behaviors-- and their minds-- in exciting ways.

Elephants Moving Along on Elephant Trails

National Zoo
The Zoo is making great progress on Elephant Trails, our innovative new home for our Asian elephants—Phase One will open later this year!

FIELD IN FOCUS | Elephants in Myanmar: Human-Elephant Conflict

National Zoo
Humans and elephants are increasingly living in the same places, but science can help prevent conflict between them. Watch part two of our new series—Field in Focus.

Smithsonian's National Zoo: We Save Species

National Zoo
Learn how the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute saves species, both here and around the world.

Bao Bao's First Snow Day!

National Zoo
Support giant panda conservation at the Zoo and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute! http://s.si.edu/1DGqJEj Jan. 6, 2015—As the year’s first blanket of snow coated the Washington, D.C. area today, giant panda Bao Bao spent much of the morning playing in it for the very first time. The sixteen month-old panda cub tumbled down the hill in her outdoor enclosure, climbed trees and pounced on her mother Mei Xiang.

American Bison and American Indian Nations

National Zoo
In honor of its 125th anniversary, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is once again home to American bison, the animal that began the Zoo’s living collection in 1889 and sparked the conservation movement. Before 1800, American bison once roamed the Great Plains in vast numbers: estimates range from 30 to 100 million. Bison were once a major source of meat and hides in the United States. They formed the basis of the economy for a number of American Indian nations. However, by the 1890s, fewer than 1,000 of these animals remained on the continent. The U.S. Government slaughtered many bison in an effort to destroy the livelihood of Plains Indians. In recent years, many American Indian nations that traditionally depended on bison have been engaged in efforts to bring back the “Buffalo Nation,” reestablish healthy bison populations on tribal lands, and reclaim an important part of their people’s traditional diet and way of life. Learn more at /www.americanbison.si.edu or visit /www.nmai.si.edu.

Meet Alice: Stanley Crane and Medical Pioneer!

National Zoo
Stanley crane Alice is unlike any other bird of her species. Hand-raised by keepers, she has a sweet temperament and joyous personality. When she sustained a leg injury last summer, animal care staff rallied around Alice and found an innovative solution to help her thrive. Keeper Debi Talbott shares the remarkable story of Alice's road to recovery. Read more: https://s.si.edu/2PZuIKw

Anteater Bath

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

Hand-Rearing Clouded Leopards Cubs

National Zoo
Animal care staff at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, are hand-rearing the pair of clouded leopard cubs born on March 28, increasing the chances that the cubs will be more successful at breeding later in their life. For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/i8KIX0

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.

B-roll For Media Use: Clouded Leopard Cubs at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
For the first time, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is home to rare clouded leopard cubs. The two cubs are the newest residents on the Zoo’s Asia Trail and will make their public debut Wednesday, Sept. 11. The Zoo has been home to adult clouded leopards since 2006. The cubs are a male named Paitoon and a female named Jilian. They were born April 29 and March 24, respectively, at the Nashville Zoo. Visitors will be able to see them for short periods of time during the morning at the clouded leopard exhibit from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The cubs are learning how to climb but will need to be supervised by keepers while they explore and acclimate to their new exhibit. As they become more independent, they will spend longer periods of time on exhibit until they no longer need keeper supervision, and visitors will be able to see them for much of the day. Clouded leopards are arboreal and have large paws with sharp claws and long tails that help them adeptly navigate forest canopies of Southeast Asia. The Zoo’s energetic cubs spend most of their time perfecting their natural climbing abilities and wrestling and vocalizing to each other. Paitoon and Jilian will live together as a socially bonded pair but will not breed when they are adults. Although they were born to different parents, they are not an ideal genetic match. Clouded leopards are usually hand-raised as cubs to increase the chances they will survive to adulthood and are paired with their future mates by the time they are 1 year old. The Zoo and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) have been studying clouded leopard behavior, biology and ecology for decades. SCBI reproductive biologist JoGayle Howard was the first scientist to perform a successful artificial insemination in the species in 1992. Her legacy was built upon by SCBI scientists in 2015, when they performed the second successful artificial insemination using a new technique that required significantly fewer sperm cells than a classical artificial insemination. In 2017, SCBI scientists again made history by performing a third successful artificial insemination, this time using frozen sperm on a female clouded leopard named Tula living at the Nashville Zoo. The resulting cub, Niran, gave birth this year and her offspring is Jilian, one of the cubs living at the Zoo. The three generations of clouded leopards have proven that scientists can use artificial insemination as one tool to help keep the population of clouded leopards in human care genetically healthy. In addition to studying clouded leopard biology, SCBI scientists and keepers have helped develop the best methods to breed, raise and care for the species. During the 1990s, scientists found that clouded leopards raised together from a very young age greatly reduced the chances of aggression between them and increased the chances they would breed successfully as adults. Since the number of clouded leopards in human care at the time was very small, scientists needed every cub born to survive. As a result, the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended hand-rearing cubs and pairing males and females at a very young age. Research at SCBI’s Endocrine Lab also helped establish guidelines for caring for clouded leopards. For example, these arboreal cats breed more successfully when they live in habitats that provide a minimum of 15 feet to climb vertically. Currently, scientists are examining effective contraceptive measures in the species, as decades of research and collaborations have led to a more sustainable population in zoos and the need to prevent bonded pairs from breeding too often. In 2002, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, in collaboration with Nashville Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo in the U.S. and the Khao Kheow Zoo in Thailand, founded the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium. The consortium has been an integral part of the sustainability of clouded leopards worldwide. Its members work together to increase the genetic diversity of the species living in zoos in the U.S. and to study clouded leopards in much greater numbers at the Khao Kheow Zoo. Due to all of the dedicated conservation efforts, the population of clouded leopards in human care around the world is gradually becoming more stable, which has allowed the SSP to begin giving females the opportunity to raise cubs on their own and to create non-breeding pairs for exhibit, such as Jilian and Paitoon. These pairs act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts teaching visitors about this elusive species. Clouded leopards are listed as vulnerable in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is estimated that there are about 10,000 clouded leopards in the wild. Threats to the species include habitat fragmentation, deforestation and illegal wildlife trafficking. The Zoo will continue to provide updates on the cubs through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Smithsonian's Lions Cubs GoPro Video

National Zoo
Last week, keepers at the Smithsonian's Great Cats exhibit put a GoPro camera in the den with Naba's cubs while mom was outside enjoying the sunshine. At first, the girls were a bit wary of the cam—hissing and stepping gingerly around it. Within 20 minutes, however, they felt comfortable going right up to the cam and even knocked it over! Adding a novel items to the lions' environment is part of the Zoo's enrichment program. Not only do they physically and mentally stimulate the Zoo's residents, but also encourage animals to use their natural abilities and behaviors in new and exciting ways. Enrichment is an integral part of daily care and helps keepers ensure the Zoo's animals have a high quality of life. You can help contribute to the Zoo's enrichment program by donating to our Giving Tree! http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Support/MakeDonation/GivingTree.cfm

Keeper Memories: Mariel and Bei Bei

National Zoo
Mariel, one of Bei Bei's keepers, looks back on the past four years with her panda birthday buddy and shares some of her favorite memories with him. #PandaStory #ByeByeBeiBei
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