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The National Zoo’s Newest Arrivals

A Smithsonian Associates Event

Where: Visitor Center Auditorium

When: Tuesday, July 8, 6:45 to 8:45 p.m.

It’s a baby boom: the National Zoo has recently welcomed a gray seal pup, six African lion cubs, three cheetah cubs, two Sumatran tiger cubs, and of course, Bao Bao, the beloved baby giant panda. Many of these irresistibly cute animals are also conservation successes.

The National Zoo plays an important stewardship role in creating reservoirs of wildlife that are as genetically close as possible to their free-living counterparts. While the theory behind ensuring sustainable populations appears straightforward, the actual practice of studying and propagating endangered species is extraordinarily complex. Challenges include a dwindling number of animals, genetic management issues, and most significantly, a lack of scientific knowledge about the species.

Pierre Comizzoli, a reproductive physiologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, discusses how wild species are benefiting from modern reproductive science in many ways, ranging from a widening understanding of the complexities of species biology to assisted breeding and biobanking that helps re-establish endangered populations in nature. Hear about the important work taking place now to ensure we can continue to visit these animals—and more like them—at the National Zoo.