National Zoo News

Panda Cam

Small Creatures, Big Hearts

Since Tai Shan's birth, the world wondered whether Mei Xiang would bring forth a sibling. Then, on Sept. 16, she gave birth to a beautiful female cub. The tragic loss of the Zoo's newest panda underscores the challenges facing these beloved bears. Read the latest update

October 2012

A Giant Thank You

Mei Xiang

The Zoo team is profoundly grateful to everyone who took the time to send a sympathetic word and let us know that you shared our grief. Many of our kind correspondents asked if they might make a memorial contribution toward the Zoo's work. Our thankful answer is yes. Any funds received will go toward the Zoo's multifaceted work with giant pandas: animal care, reproductive science, educational outreach and more. Write to the keepers | Make a memorial donation

And Speaking of Panda Conservation…

YES! Youth Engagement through Science Participant

The Smithsonian is full of world-class scientists from many backgrounds, and the National Zoo is no exception. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) recently awarded Top Honors to the Zoo for its efforts toward Giant Panda habitat preservation, breeding, and support of wild biodiversity. Also, the Zoo's partnership with YES! (Youth Engagement through Science) earned a Significant Achievement award. YES! gives under-represented minority high school students the chance to gain hands-on experience in the sciences. How does the Zoo save species?

Gazelle Calf Springs into Action

Dama Gazelle Calf

On Sept. 4, the Cheetah Conservation Station welcomed the birth of a male dama gazelle calf. On most clear, dry days from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., visitors can watch the calf "stotting"—a bouncy movement where all four feet are off of the ground at the same time—and running alongside mother Fahima and three other mature females. Adult dama gazelles can move as quickly as 45 miles per hour! See the latest photos | Watch the calf run full-speed

Seriously Amazing

Andean Bear Cub

What exactly does a bear do in the woods? Lots of things, including playing, resting and coming in for its close-up―it's really close-up. And how do we know? Smithsonian scientists are studying the behavior of black bears, sun bears, giant pandas and dozens of other species through photos from motion-sensor camera traps around the world. What's Seriously Amazing at the Smithsonian?

Squirmy, Slimy, and Superb!


Every week the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project features a photo of a beautiful frog and description of what makes the species so fascinating and precious. But the "cute frog" feature will soon be expanding to include salamanders! Check each week to get your fill of nature's most adorable amphibians. Get amped about amphibians

Olympians Meet the Cheetah Cubs

Olympians meet Cheetah Cubs

Olympic medalists Justin Gatlin and Carmelita Jeter had a playful behind-the-scenes encounter with the two cheetah cubs at the Zoo that were named after the athletes. The cats demonstrated their athleticism as the Olympians tossed a ball back and forth for them to follow. Jeter serenaded Carmelita cheetah with renditions of songs from the Lion King, and both cubs wound up with nicknames from the athletes: "Lita the Cheetah" and "Gat the Cat." Watch their encounter

Event: Exploring Gabon's Gamba Complex

Red River Hog

Join Smithsonian's National Zoo scientist Dr. Alfonso Alonso for a fun evening about this little known—but immensely diverse—part of Africa: Gabon's Gamba Complex. Enjoy complimentary drinks and hors d'oeurves and mingle one-on-one with keepers and researchers about the Zoo's work here and abroad. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will go toward bringing new African wildlife species to the Zoo. Explore Gabon with us

What's Up

Autumn Conservation Festival

On October 6 and 7, join us for an unforgettable day of fun, tours, and activities at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of SCBI Front Royal's animals, listen to live music, and more! Purchase a Parking Pass


Boo at the Zoo

Princesses, mythical creatures, kid-wizards, and other costumed guests are invited to join us at our annual Halloween event, Boo at the Zoo, Oct 26, 27, & 28. Enjoy animal encounters and festive decorations along with tasty candy and delicious snack foods from a coven of treat stations all through the Zoo. Tricks optional. Buy tickets


The Cocoa Tree

On Nov. 1, join the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center as they ponder, taste and learn all about chocolate! Scientists will talk about the Zoo's involvement in sustainable cocoa production. The evening of decadence includes a tasting of gourmet, fair trade chocolates.

New at the Zoo

Our Changing Earth


Why should we protect natural habitats? Because biological diversity may be good for our health!


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found links between the loss of biological diversity and the risk of infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus.


A new, interactive exhibit in the Amazonia Science Gallery's Biodiversity Lab invites visitors to explore the direct connections between environmental change, ecosystems, and human health. Get connected: Plan your visit


Golden Lion Tamarin Enrichment


Fun for Fauna

Gift giving is for the birds…and the apes…and the anteater!


How can you can ensure that the Zoo’s animals have a high quality of life? By giving to our Enrichment Program! Every donation helps in a BIG way: items such as the octopus’s puzzle feeder, the lion pride’s boomer ball, and the sea lions’ Frisbee give animals the chance to make choices in their habitats and encourage natural problem-solving behaviors.


Give a gift to a grrr-eat Zoo animal

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