National Zoo News

Andean Bear Cubs

Happy New Year!

The stork paid a visit to our Andean bear Billie Jean! She delivered twins on Dec. 13—the first to survive since Bernardo and Chaska were born here in 2010. Tune in to the cub cam to watch them grow

January 2013

The Year of the Bear

Sloth Bear Cub

Yet another adorable bear cub joined our Zoo family! Our 18-year-old sloth bear Hana gave birth to a single cub around 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 19—which happens to be her birthday, too! Animal care staff are keeping a close watch on the cub through a closed-circuit TV camera, and it appears both bears are doing great. Mom is very attentive, and the cub has successfully nursed. If the cub thrives, it will be a few months before it goes on exhibit. Watch short videos of the cub

Love is in the Air

Sumatran Tigers

Good news: Sumatran tigers Kavi and Damai have bred! While it has only been once so far, it shows Damai has overcome her understandable caution around Kavi and that she trusts him. Tigers are induced ovulaters which means it's the breeding itself that causes the female's ovaries to release the eggs. If Damai does not come into estrus again we will know that she is pregnant. Read the latest keeper update

Party Animals

On December 28, the Great Ape house threw a bash to celebrate three special orangutan birthdays: Batang, Bonnie, and Kyle! Batang and Kyle turned a sweet 16, and Bonnie celebrated turning 36 in style. Keepers decorated the enclosures with colorful streamers and presents filled with the orangutans' favorite treats. Want to join in the fun? Follow us on Facebook for a heads-up about these and other special animal enrichment events! More zoo-perior news

Zoo Scientists Leap to Save Frogs


Our efforts to save frogs made the front page of the Washington Post! In what may be the greatest disease-driven loss of biodiversity in recorded history, hundreds of frog species around the world are facing extinction, and time is running out. Brian Gratwicke, SCBI conservation biologist and project coordinator for the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, and collaborators speak about our joint efforts to build an ark and save frogs from the disease called chytrid. Read the Article

New Year's Re-Zoo-Lutions


We've had a truly wild year here at the National Zoo (and we're doing our best to keep a wild world)! Our New Year's re-ZOO-lutions are to continue to support excellence in science and animal care, support a biodiverse planet, and share lots of amazing animals photos and stories. Thank you for being a friend of the National Zoo! Plan your visit

A Safari Close to Home

Grevy's Zebra

Looking to engage your child in nature and the outdoors? Then check out our Nature Camp 2013! Take a trip to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA on February 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. Chat with staff about the camp experience and exploring the lives, habitats, and conservation of animals from all over the world. Nature Camp is open to students entering grades 5-10. An RSVP to is appreciated. Please include the number of attendees. In the event of inclement weather, this event will take place March 3. Camp out at the Zoo

What's Up

Bringing Gabon to the National Zoo

Do you know why a red river hog "fluffs" his facial hair? Have you heard of a sitatunga? On Jan. 11, hear Zoo keepers, experts, and scientists discuss Gabon's diverse Gambia Complex and what it's like to care for these and other oddly fascinating species.


Tickets include complimentary beer, wine, soda and light hors d’oeuvres. Guests can speak with keepers and scientists one-on-one about conservation efforts at the Zoo and abroad.


FONZ Members: $15. Nonmembers: $20.

Buy tickets


New at the Zoo

Aquatic Antelope


If you've been to the Zoo in the last month, you may have spotted two new faces at the Cheetah Conservation Station.


Our newest residents, Silas and Marley, are young male sitatunga—a new species at the Zoo! These amphibious antelope that are comfortable in the water as well as on land.


The sitatunga is native to western and central Africa. They will be out and about in their exhibit weather-permitting.


More about sitatunga




Frogs Are Vanishing

But you can make them reappear!


How? By donating some green.


Thanks to generous donors like you, National Zoo scientists are developing probiotics to help frogs and other amphibians ward off chytrid, a deadly fungus. With your help, we could find a cure.


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