Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Animal News

Smithsonian Science: Elusive Elephant Reproduction

July 12, 2016

What affects an elephant's ability to get pregnant? Scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) set out to solve that mystery. With help from peers across North American zoos, they evaluated elephant hormones to learn how body weight, socialization and life events affected reproduction. SCBI endocrinologist Janine Brown reveals their findings in our Smithsonian science blog.

Science To The Rescue In The #Fightforfrogs

July 11, 2016

Nearly one-third of all amphibian species globally are at risk of going extinct. While the global amphibian crisis is the result of habitat loss, climate change and pollution, the deadly amphibian chytrid fungus plays a large role in the frogs' disappearances. In the fight for frogs, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) biologist Brian Gratwicke and partners are making strides in finding a cure for chytridiomycosis disease with the help of probiotics.

Smithsonian Science Q&A: Tracking Scimitar-Horned Oryx

July 11, 2016

What happens when a species is restored to its rightful place in the wild? In the case of the scimitar-horned oryx, the answer to that question has been nearly 30 years in the making. Next month, 25 oryx will be released to a large reserve in Chad, a country where they have been extinct in the wild since the mid-1980s. Each reintroduced oryx will sport a GPS collar that has been fitted and tested by Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists. In the Q&A below, scientists Mel Songer and Jared Stabach share how SCBI has prepared for this ambitious and historic recovery effort.

Smithsonian Science Q&A: A Weight Loss Plan That Works... For Kiwi

July 11, 2016

For the first time, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI)'s kiwi pair are parents! Keeper Wesley Bailey reveals how a strict diet helped dad Ngati Hine Tahi get in shape and resulted in the pair's first chick.

The Curious Colonization Of The Humboldt Penguin

July 11, 2016

When it comes to choosing a location for a natural gas marine terminal, PERU LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) discovered that the options are not always black and white. When their construction site became the home of choice for Humboldt penguins, PERU LNG called upon the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI)'s Biodiversity Monitoring and Assessment Program (BMAP) to study the terminal's impact on wildlife. As BMAP's marine managing director Ximena Velez-Zuazo explains, the penguins' prosperity surprised everyone involved.

From the Zoo to Peru: An Andean Bear Adventure

July 01, 2016

Smithsonian National Zoo scientists are all over the globe and, most recently, at the peaks of Machu Picchu, Peru! Andean bear curator Craig Saffoe, chief veterinarian Don Neiffer, and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientist Francisco Dallmeier trekked to South America to share knowledge with colleagues at the Inkaterra Association, National Protected Area Network and the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Peru.

Smithsonian Science Q&A: Macaques with Wolfgang Dittus

June 30, 2016

For nearly 50 years, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute primatologist Wolfgang Dittus has studied and lived among the toque macaques in Sri Lanka. In our Q & A, he reveals how family relationships, intelligent behavioral strategies and a healthy environment are key to this species' survival.

Smithsonian Cheetah Science Q&A

June 30, 2016

As their native habitat continues to shrink, wild cheetahs are facing a drought of genetic diversity. This is in direct contrast with the population of cheetahs in zoos, which is as genetically diverse as it was 30 years ago because of cooperative and strategically managed breeding programs. This is according to a new study from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and partners published June 21 in the journal Biological Conservation. SCBI cheetah biologist Adrienne Crosier and Kim Terrell, lead author on the study, former SCBI doctoral student and current director of research and conservation at the Memphis Zoo, talk about what their findings mean for the future of cheetahs.

Smithsonian Science Q&A: Freezing Coral in Time

June 30, 2016

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists are working furiously to beat the bleaching clock and cryopreserve coral. But, they’ve run into a wall: bleaching is causing coral to produce poor-quality sperm and eggs. In turn, less are able to settle or survive the cryopreservation process. What could this mean for the future of coral reefs? SCBI scientist Mary Hagedorn explains in our Frozen Q & A.

Scimitar-horned Oryx Dies at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

June 27, 2016

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) humanely euthanized a 1-year-old female scimitar-horned oryx, after sustaining a severe spinal injury on June 25.

Trip to India

June 3, 2016

Zoo keeping is an ever-evolving science. That's why director Dennis Kelly and associate director of animal care sciences Brandie Smith traveled to India to collaborate, understand, and protect endangered species.

Kiwi Q&A

June 1, 2016

For the first time, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's kiwi pair are parents! Biologist Warren Lynch and keeper Wesley Bailey reveal how a strict diet helped dad Ngati Hine Tahi get in shape and resulted in SCBI's first chick.

Duck Training Q&A

June 1, 2016

The Bird House's redhead ducks share their exhibit with some skittish neighbors—flamingos. To monitor the duck's health without disturbing the other birds, keepers have trained them to come inside for a physical (and some treats) on cue. Get the scoop from keeper Gwen Cooper.

North American Porcupine Q&A

May 27, 2016

Eight-year-old North American male porcupine Quillby has had some difficulty moving around his exhibit lately. How do we determine what's ailing him? Teamwork! Zoo veterinarian Jessica Siegal-Willott and biologist Leigh Pitsko partnered with colleagues at the Friendship Hospital for Animals to get to the bottom of Quillby's imbalance. Learn how teamwork helped solved the mystery.

Maned Wolves Q&A

May 6, 2016

The maned wolf pups born Jan. 5 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are growing! Animal Care curator Paul Marinari and research biologist Nucharin Songsassen give us the scoop in the latest SCBI Q & A.

Baltimore Oriole Science Q&A

May 3, 2016

The Bird House's male Baltimore oriole seems to prefer the company of people to his fellow migratory birds. To help him socialize, keeper Jordana Todd is teaching him some husbandry behaviors that help animal care staff care for him, such as landing on her arm, showing his body parts, and entering a crate on cue. Learn how she trained him in the latest keeper Q & A.

Allen's Swamp Monkey Q&A

May 2, 2016

Eight-week-old Allen's swamp monkey Zawadi is on the move. Over the past few weeks, biologist Becky Malinsky has watched the baby—whose name means "gift" in Swahili—become more independent. Zawadi has splashed in the water, sampled mom's food, and she's even hitched a ride on one of the Schmidt's red-tailed monkeys! Get the scoop on Think Tank's precious primate in the latest Keeper Q & A.

Stanley Crane Science Q&A

March 4, 2016

Two-year-old Stanley crane Alice seems to enjoy participating in daily demonstrations with keepers and Zoo visitors. But how does she really feel about these interactions? To get inside Alice's head, Bird House curator Sara Hallager and keeper Debi Talbott teamed up with Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute biologist Janine Brown to study her hormones.

Hand-rearing Fennec Fox Kits Q&A

March 4, 2016

The Small Mammal House's baby boom got a little bit bigger Feb. 4 with the births of two fennec fox kits! Keepers are hand-raising the kits —one male and one female.

Clouded Leopards Born in Thailand Via Artificial Insemination

June 15, 2015

For only the second time, a litter of clouded leopard cubs has been born as the result of an artificial insemination. Pierre Comizzoli, reproductive physiologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), performed the artificial insemination in Thailand last March alongside Paweena Thuwanut, a former JoGayle Howard Postdoctoral Fellow at SCBI, and Wanlaya Tipkantha, a doctoral candidate at Chulalongkorn University, who also studied at SCBI. The two cubs were born at the Khao Khew Open Zoo in Chonburi, Thailand June 9. Learn more.

Loggerhead Shrike Chicks Hatch at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

June 11, 2015

Ten loggerhead shrikes hatched last month at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va. These genetically valuable chicks will be the first SCBI-hatched shrikes to be released into the wild. Learn more.

Miniaturized GPS Tags Allow Tracking of Small Breeding Songbirds to Tropical Winter Territories for First Time

June 10, 2015

For the first time, researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Migratory Bird Center have tracked small migratory ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla) to their tropical wintering grounds with unparalleled accuracy, which significantly improves the understanding of migratory connectivity. Understanding migratory connectivity is key to future conservation efforts. Learn more.

Critically Endangered Spider Tortoise Hatches

May 22, 2015

Just in time for World Turtle Day on May 23, we have a tiny addition to celebrate. The Smithsonian's National Zoo hatched a critically endangered spider tortoise for the first time at the Zoo! The baby tortoise broke out of its shell May 10 and appears to be doing well. Learn more.

Manny and Cayenne Play

May 20, 2015

Our female tamandua Cayenne now has a male companion! Manny arrived at the Small Mammal House as part of the southern tamandua Species Survival Plan. The introductions went well and the two can be seen playing and sleeping near one another.

Say Hello to Charlie the Fennec Fox

May 7, 2015

The Small Mammal House recently welcomed a one-year-old male fennec fox named Charlie! He is on loan to the National Zoo from the Bronx Zoo as part of a Species Survival Plan breeding recommendation with 5-year-old female Daisy.

Andean Bear Cub Update

April 28, 2015

Our rambunctious 5-month-old Andean bear cub brothers Mayni and Muniri are on exhibit and on the move! Curator Craig Saffoe gives an update on the cubs in the latest Q & A.

Mei Xiang Artificially Inseminated

April 27, 2015

The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute's team of reproductive scientists, veterinarians and panda keepers performed two artificial inseminations within the last 24 hours.

Male bonding brings peace, allows primates to live in bigger groups

April 27, 2015

While studying the social dynamics of the bearded saki, a primate living in the rainforests of Suriname, primatologist Tremaine Gregory of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute observed an unusual behavior she described as "piling up."

Meet Calaya, the newest member of the Great Ape House.

April 9, 2015

Calaya, a western lowland gorilla, is now on exhibit at the National Zoo. Keepers describe the 12-year-old female as confident and socially-savvy.

Pacu Medical Procedure

April 2, 2015

When keepers at Amazonia noticed an unusual growth on the face of a pacu, they called upon Zoo vets to biopsy the mass. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the intricate procedure from the view of veterinarian Dr. James Steeil.

Say Hello to Mayni and Muniri

March 26, 2015

The Smithsonian's National Zoo Andean bear cub brothers received their names. The Zoo asked fans to vote online to choose names for the two male cubs.

Bozie and Kandula Share a Yard

March 23, 2015

Last week Bozie and Kandula spent some time outside together in the same yard for the first time, under the close watch of our elephant team.

Meet Cayenne the southern tamandua!

March 11, 2015

Cayenne the southern tamandua is now on exhibit at the Small Mammal House!

CBS This Morning on Bao Bao's Transition

March 6, 2015

Watch the video by CBS This Morning on Bao Bao's transition from a cub to a juvenile panda.

Lion Cubs Turn 1!

February 20, 2015

Read about how the lion cubs have developed in the latest keeper Q&A!

Shredder, Clinger, and Slash Update

January 26, 2015

Shredder, Clinger, and Slash, the 7-month-old red panda cubs, are growing and doing great. Read the keeper Q and A here!

Carmelita To Be Part of C2S2 Cheetah Sustainability Program

January 17, 2015

Next week, we will be transferring Carmelita from the National Zoo to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Cheetah Science Facility to incorporate her into the C2S2 Cheetah Sustainability Program.

Henry and Tink Q and A

January 13, 2015

Read the latest keeper Q&A on Henry and Tink. These red panda cubs were born in summer 2014 and required round-the clock care. Now, the cubs are healthy and thriving.

Past News

Remi Turns One

December 30, 2014

Sloth bear cub Remi, who was hand-reared by a dedicated group of biologists, keepers, veterinarians and nutritionists, has made it through her first year!

Bandar and Sukacita are Growing Up Fast

December 17, 2014

Keepers Marie Magnuson and Dell Guglielmo, along with curator Craig Saffoe, talk about training, separating from mom Damai, and the possibility of new cubs in the latest Q & A.

The Small Mammal House has Welcomed Newcomers

December 11, 2014

Come say hi to our new chinchillas, chevrotains, and Walter, the screaming hairy armadillo.

New Timor Python Hatchlings

November 14, 2014

The Reptile Discovery Center has welcomed new timor python hatchlings. The babies are not yet on diplay but vistors can view their parents at the Zoo.

Two Andean Bear Cubs Born

November 13, 2014

Our 8-year-old female Andean bear Billie Jean gave birth to two cubs. This is the third birth for Billie Jean and staff are closely monitoring the mother and cubs.

Andean Bear May Give Birth for Third Time

November 6, 2014

Our 8-year-old female Andean bear Billie Jean is showing signs that heighten hopes that she will give birth for the third time.

Asian Elephant Bozie Updates

October 21, 2014

The Zoo staff is currently monitoring and treating our 38-year-old Asian Elephant Bozie for an infection. Check here for updates on her condition and what our Asian Elephant Staff is doing.

Three Dama Gazelles Born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

March 11, 2014

The staff from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is celebrating the birth of three male dama gazelles.

First Gray Seal Pup Born at the Zoo in 23 Years

Keepers Hand Feeding Gray Seal Pup at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

January 31, 2014

Animal keepers at the National Zoo have been hand feeding a female gray seal pup, born January 21 on American Trail. Zoo.

Zoo's first Instameet “#ZooMeet”

January 15, 2014

Get special early access to the David M. Rubenstein Giant Panda Habitat to see giant panda cub Bao Bao and meet and ask questions of her team of panda keepers and biologists.

New Degus at the Smal Mammal House

January 8, 2014

Five adult female degus just arrived at the Small Mammal House. During their entrance exams, we discovered a surprise–one was pregnant!

Weathering the Cold at the Zoo

January 7, 2014

Just like humans, some animals seem to revel in cold weather and snowfall. The animal care team closely monitors temperatures and weather to ensure the well-being of our animals.

Cheetah Health Update

December 13, 2013

We are happy to announce Granger cheetah is doing well following his surgery last week and will be joining Draco and Zabini back at Cheetah Conservation Station.

Animal Care Update

December 10, 2013

At the National Zoo, we work constantly to evaluate and improve the quality of animal care we provide. We take every concern seriously and have protocols and processes to evaluate and update our management techniques.

Sara Hallager Wins 3 AZA Awards

September 23, 2013

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) awarded National Zoo’s Acting Curator of Birds Sara Hallager with three service awards at its recent national conference in Kansas City, MO.

Socorro Doves

September 19, 2013

With the help of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, the Socorro dove has returned home to Mexico! This spring Africam Safari, a zoo located southeast of Mexico City, celebrated the arrival of several Socorro doves, including two hatched here at the National Zoo

Seal Splashdown at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

June 3, 2013

Check out the five new seals featured on American Trail in the new seal habitat at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

Sloth Bear Cub Named

May 3, 2013

In a poll conducted on the Zoo’s Facebook page, 830 fans elected to name the cub Hank, a moniker that combines the cubs’ parents’ names, Hana and Francois.

Smithsonian's National Zoo to Welcome New Asian Elephant

May 3, 2013

The National Zoo will soon welcome Bozie, a 37-year-old female Asian elephant, into the Zoo's existing herd. She will be on loan from the Baton Rouge Zoo.