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Young dama gazelle explores yard

National Zoo
Just a few weeks old, the Zoo's youngest dama gazelle explores his yard. The gazelle was born Sept. 4, 2012.

Lion Cub Swim Test

National Zoo
Video courtesy of Justin Dent. Four African lion cubs born to Shera on March 2 had their swim reliability test this morning. All lion cubs at the Smithsonian's National Zoo must take a swim test, carefully monitored by the animal care team, before going on exhibit. As part of the test they must prove that they can swim to land and pull themselves out of the water. All of the cubs passed. They are now one step closer to going on exhibit in a few weeks with their aunts and half siblings. Aug. 27, 2015

Cheetah cub weigh-in at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, May 14

National Zoo
Animal keepers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute weigh cheetah mom Echo's four cubs.

Making Bei Bei's New Hammock

National Zoo
The exhibits team built the hammocks from sturdy fire hose and installed them. There has been a hammock in Bei Bei’s enclosure for several years, but it was starting to show some wear-and-tear as it’s been a favorite resting spot for him and Bao Bao when she lived there. Bei Bei is 215 pounds now and still growing, so our exhibits team made the hammock large enough for an adult male. That also means that if Mei Xiang or Tian Tian spend time in that enclosure, the hammock will be big enough to accommodate them.

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.

Bei Bei's First Steps

National Zoo
One small step for panda…one adorably wobbly moment for all of us—‪‎BeiBei‬’s first steps! Under the watchful eye of mom Mei Xiang, BeiBei took his first steps on Monday, Nov. 9 around 4:50pm. ‪#‎PandaStory‬ ‪#‎WeSaveSpecies‬ Now that he’s got all four paws under him, Bei Bei will begin to wander around and leave the den on his own to explore the indoor enclosure.

Pandas in Snow 2019

National Zoo

Panda Cam Footage of Mei Xiang and Cub

National Zoo
August 31, 2015 - Mei Xiang decided to eat some sugarcane and drink some dilute apple juice the keepers left for her yesterday evening around 6 p.m. Two hours later, she left the den to urinate and defecate—only the second time she’s done that since giving birth. She put the cub down when she left and he was very quiet the entire time she was gone. Over the next few weeks she will get more comfortable leaving him for increasingly longer periods of time to eat and drink. While Mei was away, our behavior watchers got a fantastic view of the cub!

Tagging Black-Crowned Night Herons

National Zoo
--This research was made possible by the generous support from the Smithsonian Women's Committee-- Every spring and summer the Bird House hosts some very special migratory guests -- about 100 black crowned night herons. The Bird House is their only rookery in Washington, D.C. For the past century, the birds arrive in April each year and depart between August and September, but scientists did not know where their southern destinations were or what challenges they faced to reach them. In summer 2013 Smithsonian Migratory Bird Scientists got some answers. They attached tracking devices to four birds. It was the first glimpse they had into the birds' migration. They received valuable data for 3 months, until the devices died. This year they tagged six more birds using more technologically advanced devices. The light-weight, solar-powered devices use cell phone technology to transmit locational data every 2 hours. During the early morning of July 7, 2014 scientists caught the herons, weighed them, took a feather sample for DNA testing, tagged them, attached the backpack-like transmitters to them, and released them. The devices do not harm the birds. They are custom-fitted to each individual bird and sewed closed to prevent them from falling off or causing any harm. The six herons can be seen flying around the Bird House with the devices. Precision real-time tracking will help scientists understand what challenges migratory birds like black-crowned night herons face on their marathon journeys. #WeSaveSpecies

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.

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.

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.

Professor Pan Wenshi

National Zoo
World renowned conservationist, and longtime Smithsonian collaborator, Professor Pan Wenshi recently visited the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute where he inspired the next generation of students, staff and conservationists. He shared with us just some of his memorable experiences from his life’s work researching giant pandas.

Otter Pups Born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
We are otterly delighted to welcome three precious pups to American Trail! And, they made history—they’re the first North American river otters ever born at the Zoo. LEARN MORE: https://s.si.edu/2RwWZGf.

Giant Panda Cub is a Boy!

National Zoo
Aug. 28, 2015. Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics confirmed that the giant panda cub born to Mei Xiang Aug. 22 at the National Zoo is male. A paternity analysis showed that Tian Tian is the cub’s father.

African Lion Luke Update

National Zoo
Visitors to the Great Cats exhibit may have noticed that our 12-year-old African lion, Luke, has had an on-again, off-again limp. Over the past year, our animal care team has been closely monitoring him for mobility issues in his right forelimb. A CT scan revealed a lesion on Luke’s spine. However, staff elected not to perform surgery due to significant complications that could arise related to post-surgical care. To help improve his mobility, vets prescribed anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications. As part of his treatment, our veterinary team is performing deep tissue laser therapy and electro- and dry-needle-acupuncture on the affected areas. We’re happy to share that Luke is showing good progress and has resumed walking on all four limbs. While we don’t know for how long the treatment will be effective, our animal care team will continue to monitor Luke and keep him comfortable. Visit Luke and our African lion pride at our Great Cats exhibit.

Tian Tian in the Snow Jan. 23, 2016

National Zoo
Jan. 23, 2016---Male giant panda Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN) woke up this morning to a lot of snow, and he was pretty excited about it. Giant pandas have thick woolly coats that keep them warm in the snowy mountains of China. #Blizzard2016

Giant Panda Mei Xiang Giving Birth to Cub August 22, 2015

National Zoo
Giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) gave birth to a cub at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo today, Aug. 22. The panda team witnessed the birth at 5:35 pm. Mei Xiang reacted to the cub by picking it up. The panda team began preparing for a birth when they saw Mei Xiang’s water break at 4:32 pm and she was already having contractions. The sex of the cub won’t be determined until a later date.

Smithsonian's National Zoo's Amazonia exhibit

National Zoo
Highlights of the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Amazonia exhibit

Studying EEHV at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

National Zoo
Aug. 6, 2015—Scientists at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute were the first to discover Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEHV) in 1995. EEHV is a lethal virus and affects both elephants in the wild and in human care. Scientists at the EEHV lab at the National Zoo are trying to better understand how the virus is spread between elephants. They know that it can be shed in trunk secretions. They are studying semen samples from 200 elephants to see if the virus is spread through seminal fluids. So far, they have not found any evidence that it is. The EEHV Lab also tests trunk wash samples and blood samples of elephants around North America for EEHV. The earlier EEHV is detected, the better chances elephants have of surviving it. As a result, the mortality rate has plummeted. There has only been one elephant death as the result of EEHV since 2008 in the United States. #WeSaveSpecies

Brunch with Vlad (a two-toed sloth) and Izzy (a golden lion tamarin)!

National Zoo
🐒 Saturday brunch with Vlad and Izzy, and beets are on the menu! Our 33 y.o. two-toed sloth and 7 y.o. golden lion tamarin often dine on veggies together. 🥬 Beets are a favorite food of Vlad’s. He doesn’t seem to mind as Izzy plops down on top of him, noshing on her beet. 🐵💨 Vlad is no stranger to these precocious monkeys. Past tamarins would often jump on him while he cruised the exhibit, going for a sloth ride! Sometimes, they take his food, but keepers say he seems to enjoy the attention. #NatZooZen #BringTheZooToYou #ClosedButStillCaring #sloth #sloths

Brian Gratwicke, Amphibian Advocate

National Zoo
Join National Zoo Conservation Biologist Brian Gratwicke in his work to save Panama's amphibians from extinction. You can also catch up on his dispatches from the field on the Panamanian Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project's blog: http://amphibianrescue.org/

Abyssinian ground hornbills Karl and Karoline

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

Field in Focus: Hlawga National Park

National Zoo
The first step to eventually predicting the next pandemic is studying infectious diseases in places where humans and animals frequently come into contact. About 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases begin in wildlife. Their research to help prevent the next pandemic has led wildlife veterinarians with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Global Health Program to a wild animal park in Myanmar, where they are collecting samples from animals ranging from sambar deer to elephants. They are learning what types of infectious diseases animals carry to help humans interact with them safely.
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