News Archive 2010
January| February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
- National Zoo Celebrates First Cheetah Births at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Many years of research are celebrated in the birth of two cheetah cubs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute—the first cheetahs born at the National Zoo facility in Front Royal, Virginia.
- Giant Anteater Born at the National Zoo
A giant anteater was born at approximately 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at the National Zoo. The pup is a male, and he is the Zoo’s third giant anteater birth. Female Maripi bred with male Dante in April, May and June; Zoo animal care staff and veterinarians had been performing weekly ultrasounds since June on Maripi to monitor the baby and mother’s progress.
- Lion Cubs at Smithsonian’s National Zoo Test Out Yard and Receive Names
Seven lion cubs born at the National Zoo are now sporting seven names. Just before the cubs made their debut in the lion yard this morning, the Zoo announced their names: John, Fahari, Zuri, Lelie, Baruti, Aslan and Lusaka.
- Media Advisory: Lion Cubs at Smithsonian’s National Zoo to Make Debut in Yard and Receive Names
The National Zoo will reveal the names of its seven lion cubs on December 18. The cubs will then make their debut in the yard (weather permitting).
- Looking to Give Back During the Holidays? Consider the National Zoo Animal Wish List
National Zoo keepers have created a “wish list” for all of your favorite animals. Each special item will provide enrichment opportunities, exercise, variety to their day and enhance their well-being while in our care.
- Voting Now Open to Name Two of the National Zoo’s Lion Cubs
Animal keepers at the National Zoo have selected six finalists from the Name the Lion: Cub Cam Contest, and voting on the finalists has begun. The names presented in the winning videos will officially become the cubs’ names for as long as they live at the National Zoo.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Stars Name a Lion Cub at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo
On December 9, 20th Century Fox and Walden Media presented a monetary gift to support the National Zoo’s great-cat conservation, research and public education. Actors Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes from the new motion picture Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader joined Zoo Director Dennis Kelly and lion keepers to name one of the Zoo’s seven lion cubs Aslan after the majestic lion in the movie.
- Elderly Andean Bear Euthanized at National Zoo
A longtime resident of the National Zoo, an elderly female Andean bear was euthanized Monday after a decline in her health compromised her quality of life. At 33 years old, Bandit outlived the average Andean bear by nearly a decade. Bandit was also the second-oldest Andean bear in captivity in North America.
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo Mourns Loss of Female Gibbon
The National Zoo’s 27-year-old female Northern white-cheeked gibbon, Siam, died this morning after an aggressive encounter with Mickey, a 25-year-old male gibbon. Keepers separated the pair and immediately brought the injured female to the veterinary hospital, where Zoo veterinarians attempted to stabilize her despite several severe injuries.
- National Zoo and Partners First to Breed Critically Endangered Tree Frog
As frogs around the world continue to disappear, one critically endangered species has received an encouraging boost. The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, of which the National Zoo is partner, is the first to successfully breed the La Loma tree frog.
- National Zoo Launches Lion Cub-Naming Contest
For the past three months, the National Zoo has delighted animal lovers around the world with its lion cub cam, featuring the Zoo’s seven young African lion cubs. Now it is the viewers’ turn to make a video for the lions—and to help name two of the seven cubs in the process.
- Smithsonian Researchers Find Unexpected Genetic Differences between Magnificent Frigatebirds in the Galapagos Islands and on the Mainland
Although the magnificent frigatebird may be the least likely animal on the Galapagos Islands to be unique to the area, it turns out the Galapagos population of this tropical seabird may be its own genetically distinct species warranting a new conservation status, according to a new paper by researchers.
- Make Waves with “Project Blue Planet” to Save the Oceans
Project Blue Planet, organized by the National Zoo and Friends of the National Zoo, is a way that children can make a difference in the midst of environmental threats. Middle schoolers can form an ecoteam to learn about marine conservation science, educate classmates and inspire them to take action for a healthier school yard and planet.
- National Zoo Launches Live Webcam for Second Litter of Lion Cubs
Nababiep and her cubs can now be seen on the Zoo’s live webcam. Viewers are able to toggle between four different cameras, as Nababiep, Shera, mother of the first litter of four cubs born Aug. 31, and their cubs move around.
- National Zoo Artificially Inseminates Asian Elephant
Veterinarians and animal care staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo conducted a series of artificial insemination procedures on Shanthi, a 34-year old Asian elephant, September 19, 20, 21 and 22 with sperm from elephants from the Fort Worth Zoo and Tulsa Zoo.
- National Zoo Welcomes an Additional Three Lion Cubs
On Sept. 22, African lion Nababiep gave birth to three cubs.
- Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Holds Annual Autumn Conservation Festival
The one time each year SCBI Front Royal is open to the public. Talk with world-famous scientists one-on-one and learn about their fascinating research that spans the globe.
- Smithsonian Report Shows Bird Friendly Shade Coffee Farms Are the Next Best Thing to Natural Forest
A Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center review of more than 50 studies in regions ranging from Central and South America to Indonesia over the past 15 years demonstrates that shade-grown coffee farms far outshine sun-grown coffee farms when it comes to sustainability.
- All Four Lion Cubs at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo Likely Female
The four lion cubs born at the National Zoo Aug. 31 had their first physical exam on Sept. 17. All four cubs are believed to be female, according to the vets, but it is difficult to determine their gender with certainty at such a young age. Each cub weighs between 7 and 8 pounds.
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo Receives Prestigious Award
The National Zoo’s kori bustard team received the prestigious Edward H. Bean Award Sept. 15 from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for its work on the long-term propagation, breeding and management of kori bustards.
- National Zoo Opens Phase I of Elephant Trails New Home for Asian Elephants
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo celebrated the completion of Phase I of Elephant Trails, an innovative and expanded home for Asian elephants, Sept. 2.
- Elephant Trails Press Kit
- National Zoo Celebrates Birth of Four Lion Cubs
On Aug. 31, African lion Shera gave birth to four cubs, her first litter.
- National Zoo’s Think Tank Exhibit Boasts New Animal and Visitor Enhancements
Visitors to the Think Tank exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo will see new interactive activities relating to orangutans—an ape may spray them with water at the Orangutan Mister or play tug-of-war with them at the Orangutan Pull.
- National Zoo Successfully Grows Two Species of Anemones Using Coral Techniques Learned in the Field
The National Zoo has become the first in the zoo and aquarium community to use coral larvae settling techniques to successfully grow two species of anemones—an accomplishment that will provide the Zoo a unique opportunity to learn how anemones grow.
- Smithsonian Scientists Help Create First Frozen Repository for Hawaiian Coral
Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have created the first frozen bank for Hawaiian corals in an attempt to protect them from extinction and to preserve their diversity in Hawaii.
- Photo Release: Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Elephant Explores New Yard
As part of her acclimation to her new home, Shanthi, a 34-year-old female Asian elephant at the National Zoo, explored her grassy “lower” yard on August 10 for the first time.
- Elephant Shrew and Acouchi Born at the National Zoo’s Small Mammal House
A black and rufous giant elephant shrew, or sengi, was born at the National Zoo’s Small Mammal House around July 10, and an acouchi was discovered there by keepers on July 13.
- Record Broken for Black-Footed Ferrets Born at the National Zoo’s Virginia Campus
Twelve litters of black-footed ferrets have been born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute since May 7.
In total, 50 kits were born this year, and 49 have survived.
- Rare Persian Onagers Born at “The Wilds” with Help of Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Four years of work by a team of scientists, veterinarians and animal care specialists from the Zoo's Front Royal, Va., facility and ”The Wilds” in Cumberland, Ohio, have culminated in the birth of two rare Persian onagers.
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo to Hold Its First Garden Day
Visitors can celebrate the beauty of gardens at the National Zoo’s first Family Garden Day on Saturday, July 10. The free event focuses on the Zoo’s unique collection of gardens and aims to educate visitors about conservation and how plants and animals coexist.
- Escape the City at the National Zoo’s Free Summer Concert Series July 22 Through August 5
Escape the midweek slump and the city itself by enjoying a picnic at the National Zoo’s free summer concert series, Sunset Serenades. Enjoy performances Thursday evenings on Lion/Tiger Hill as the sun sets.
- Unique Agave Plant Blooms at the National Zoo
Standing an impressive 12 feet tall with vibrant yellow flowers at its tip, the agave plant is in bloom at the National Zoo. Once the flowering period ends, the plant will die.
- First Red Panda Cub Born at the National Zoo’s D.C. Campus in 15 Years
On June 16, Shama, a red panda at the National Zoo, gave birth to a single cub, the first for both of the Zoo’s red pandas and the first red panda cub born at the Zoo's Washington, D.C., campus in 15 years.
- Bee Creative: National Zoo Seeks Honey Recipes and
Honeybee Poetry in Honor of New Colony
Visits to the National Zoo just became a little bit sweeter with the arrival of a new honeybee colony in the Zoo’s Pollinarium. To celebrate the bees’ arrival and generate buzz, the Zoo is calling for entries in two categories: favorite honey recipes and original honeybee poems.
- Chicks Hatch at the National Zoo;
Red-billed Hornbill and Temminck’s Tragopan Chicks Call Bird House Home
One, possibly two, red-billed hornbill chicks hatched in early May at the National Zoo’s Bird House, and a Temminck’s Tragopan pheasant chick hatched in late May.
- Sloth Bear Francois Returns Home to the National Zoo
The newest sloth bear at the National Zoo is not so new at all. Born at the Zoo in 1991, his debut on Asia Trail marks his homecoming after seven years.
- National Zoo’s Elderly Tiger Dies
The National Zoo mourned the loss of its elderly male Sumatran tiger, Rokan, on May 28, while celebrating his contributions to conservation during his long life.
- Two Rare Crane Hatchings at the Smithsonian Mark a Victory for Science and Conservation
Two rare white-naped crane chicks hatched at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., May 12 and 14. The hatchings of the two chicks validate the National Zoo’s continued success in breeding some of the most genetically valuable cranes in the North American White-Naped Crane Species Survival Plan.
- Poised for New Discoveries, Smithsonian’s National Zoo Opens New Genetics Labs
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute officially opened a new genetics lab on May 25.
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo Opens New Genetics Lab
The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s geneticists are ironing their lab coats and revving up their DNA sequencers for the celebration of the group’s new state-of-the-art genetics lab at the National Zoo, where researchers will look at life’s smallest building blocks in search of some of the world’s biggest conservation lessons.
- National Zoo Mourns Loss of Newborn Lion
The National Zoo's lion cub died the evening of May 20. Lion keepers had been closely observing the cub, a male, via camera since his birth Tuesday morning. A veterinary team confirmed his death.
- Chaska and Bernardo Are the Names of the National Zoo’s Andean Bear Cubs
One week and nearly 5,000 votes after the National Zoo opened the online polls to the public to name its male and female Andean bear cubs the Zoo has two winners: Chaska for the female and Bernardo for the male.
- In the Face of Forest Loss, Scientists Call for Accelerated Conservation
Forest cover has begun to decline in every New England state. Twenty scholars, including the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s research landscape ecologist, have published a forest conservation vision that examines trends associated with forest loss and promotes strategies for permanently retaining 70 percent of New England in forest over the next 50 years.
- Birth of Lion Cub Expands National Zoo’s Lion Pride
For the first time in more than 20 years, tiny lion paws are making a mark at the National Zoo. On May 18, six-year-old lion Nababiep gave birth to a cub.
- National Zoo's Lone Speke's Gazelle Turns 15 on May 12
Bati, an endangered Speke’s gazelle at the National Zoo, turns 15 years old on May 12. He was born at the St. Louis Zoo in 1995 and is the oldest documented Speke's gazelle living in a zoo.
- Andean Bear Cubs Gear Up for Public Debut;
Public Can Weigh in on Naming the New Bears
The two Andean bear cubs that were born at the National Zoo in mid-January are getting ready for two big events: receiving their names May 19 and making their public debut May 22.
- FONZ Offers an Abundance of Educational Experiences Through Its Volunteer Program
Friends of the National Zoo is seeking volunteers with an interest in animals and their conservation to assist with upcoming events, games, projects and keeper needs.
- Ambassador Names National Zoo’s First Female Kiwi Chick
The New Zealand Ambassador to the United States has named the first female brown kiwi to hatch at the National Zoo: Hiri, which means “important and great” in Māori, New Zealand’s official indigenous language.
- Conservation, Chefs and Cuisine to Bring Out Thousands for ZooFari 2010 at the National Zoo
ZooFari 2010 will bring together more than 100 of the D.C. Metro area’s finest restaurants, 15 wineries, live entertainment and thousands of hungry guests supporting animal research and conservation.
- Oryx Breeding Program Kicks Off with Birth of Female Calf;
Staff Confirm Sex of Clouded Leopard Cubs
A scimitar-horned oryx has joined the ranks of endangered animals born this year at the National Zoo’s conservation center in Front Royal, Va., where scientists also recently confirmed the gender of the Zoo’s nearly 3-month-old clouded leopards.
- National Zoo’s Giant Panda Is Not Pregnant
Staff at the National Zoo confirmed that female giant panda Mei Xiang is not pregnant but was experiencing a pseudo, or false, pregnancy during the past several months.
- Around-the-Clock Pregnancy Watch Begins of National Zoo’s Female Giant Panda
A 24-hour pregnancy watch of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s female giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) is slated to begin today at 4 p.m. Tune into the National Zoo’s Giant Panda cam online to track her activities and view a birth should it occur.
- Shipping Industry Sends Help as Project in Panama Tackles Amphibian Crisis
As a disease known as amphibian chytrid fungus continues to wipe out amphibian species worldwide, frogs in Panama are finding a safe haven in a seemingly unlikely spot—between the metal walls of shipping containers once used to transport ice cream, strawberries, coffee beans, flowers and pharmaceuticals.
- Bird Friendly Organic Coffee For Sale in Smithsonian Museum Cafes
Shade-grown, Bird Friendly coffee is now available in five museum locations at the Smithsonian. The decision to carry the Bird Friendly-certified coffee fits well with the Smithsonian’s effort to become a sustainable organization on all levels.
- The Votes Are in: National Zoo’s New Octopus Gets a Name
Two weeks and 7,050 votes after the National Zoo opened the online polls to the public to name its new giant Pacific octopus, one choice has emerged as the clear victor: Octavius.
- Female Giant Panda’s Hormones on the Rise
Scientists at the National Zoo detected a secondary rise in urinary progestagen levels in the Zoo’s female giant panda Mei Xiang March 30. This hormone rise indicates that it should be 40 to 50 days before Mei Xiang either gives birth to a cub or comes to the end of a pseudopregnancy, or false pregnancy, which is common in giant pandas.
- Rare Brown Kiwi Hatches at Smithsonian's National Zoo
On March 31, a brown kiwi chick hatched at the National Zoo's Bird House, only the fourth of these very rare birds to hatch at the Zoo.
- What Is in a Name? Smithsonian’s National Zoo Opens Octopus Naming to a Public Vote
Starting March 25, the public can vote online for one of four names that the invertebrate keepers and volunteers have provided for the National Zoo’s newest charismatic cephalopod, its giant Pacific octopus.
- Washington’s African American Community Gathers at the National Zoo
to Celebrate a Century-Old Tradition on Easter Monday
The National Zoo and Friends of the National Zoo will continue a Washington tradition that spans more than 100 years by hosting “Easter Monday: An African American Family Tradition” on April 5.
- National Zoo Clouded Leopard Cubs Are One Year Old!
The National Zoo’s rare male clouded leopards Ta Moon and Sa Ming, born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., turned one on March 24.
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo Makes Progress in Building a Lion Pride
The National Zoo is attempting to build a breeding lion pride for the first time in more than 20 years, both to simulate more natural conditions for the most social of the great cats and to help improve knowledge for the captive management of African lions.
- National Zoo’s 16th Annual Guppy Gala Sponsored By Unitedhealthcare® to Take Place May 14
Families with preschool and elementary school-age children can talk to veterinarians, scale rock-climbing walls, enjoy live entertainment, feast on kid-friendly treats and much more at the National Zoo’s 16th annual Guppy Gala on May 14.
- National Zoo Working to Understand
and Save Endangered Bats
National Zoo scientists face challenges while they learn how to care for and conserve the critically endangered Virginia big-eared bat.
- National Zoo to Host Science Fair March 6
- National Zoo’s Andean Bear Gives Birth to Twins Over a 24-Hour Period
The National Zoo's four-year-old Andean bear, Billie Jean, recently gave birth to twins while denned in a secluded section of her indoor exhibit.
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo Gets New Giant Pacific Octopus
At a mere three pounds, the National Zoo’s new giant Pacific octopus doesn’t appear to have earned its name. Yet not only will it grow to be more than 13 times its current size over the next year, it will also play a big role in teaching researchers and recruiting fans.
- Study of Diversity Among Species Helps National Zoo Scientists Breed Endangered Species
Researchers at the National Zoo are looking beyond the lab rat to learn about how other animals reproduce—and urging the rest of the scientific community to do the same.
- Photo Release: National Zoo’s Gorilla Undergoes Dental Procedure
On February 22, Kigali—the National Zoo's 15-year-old female western lowland gorilla—successfully underwent dental surgery for a fractured tooth.
- Clouded Leopard Cubs Born at National Zoo’s Front Royal Campus on Valentine’s Day
A clouded leopard at the National Zoo’s campus in Front Royal, Va., gave birth to a genetically valuable litter of two cubs on Valentine’s Day—Sunday, Feb. 14.
- Love Is in the Air at the Small Mammal House
Love is in the air at the National Zoo's Small Mammal House at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo over Valentine’s Day weekend. Keepers helped set "the mood" for their animal friends, doling out hand-crafted valentines and heart-shaped treasures unlike anything from any greeting card company or chocolatier.
- Giant Panda Tai Shan Arrives in China
Tai Shan, the National Zoo's beloved 4-1/2-year-old giant panda, has arrived safely at his new home at Wolong’s Bifengxia Base in Ya’an, Sichuan. The 184-pound panda arrived at 4:26 p.m. local time in Chengdu on February 5.
- Tai Shan Press Kit
- Giant Panda Tai Shan Leaves Smithsonian’s National Zoo for China
Tai Shan, one of the National Zoo’s giant pandas, officially began his journey to China on February 4. The 4-1/2-year-old panda is on his way to Dulles International Airport, where he will board a FedEx 777 plane bound for Chengdu.
- FedEx to Transport Giant Pandas from United States to China Onboard Its New 777F Aircraft
Working in conjunction with the National Zoo and Zoo Atlanta, FedEx Express will fly Tai Shan and Mei Lan non-stop from Washington’s Dulles International Airport to Chengdu, China.
- Giant Panda Tai Shan Departure Date Set for Feb. 4
Tai Shan, the National Zoo’s young giant panda, will depart for China on February 4. Details will be provided at a press briefing on January 28.
- Smithsonian Launches New Institute to Address Global Conservation Challenges
The Smithsonian has established a Conservation Biology Institute to serve as an umbrella for its global effort to conserve species and train future generations of conservationists. Headquartered in Front Royal, Virginia, the facility was previously known as the National Zoo’s Conservation and Research Center.
- National Zoo Researchers Turn to Genetics to Help Elephants Ward Off Disease
As the number of Asian and African elephants in the wild continues to dwindle, a key to bolstering their survival could be contained within their DNA, according to researchers at the National Zoo.
- Fun and Frisky Valentine-Themed Event at National Zoo
Looking for the “wildest” way to celebrate Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank? Attend the National Zoo’s second annual Woo at the Zoo on February 12.
- Elderly Lion Dies at Smithsonian’s National Zoo
The National Zoo lost its senior female lion, Lusaka, on January 14. A final pathology report will provide more information, but her health had been in decline for several months.
- Panda Breeding Season Starts at the National Zoo
The National Zoo’s giant panda mating season began earlier than expected again this year. Because competent mating did not occur, Zoo scientists and veterinarians performed two artificial inseminations.
- Strawberry Dart Frogs Climb to Bolster Chance of Species Survival
For the first time in its history, the National Zoo has bred strawberry dart frogs.
- Feel the Heat This Winter at the National Zoo’s Wild Side Stage Performance Series for Children
Friends of the National Zoo proudly presents Wild Side Stage—a brand new educational performance series for children ages 2-10, sponsored by Whole Foods Market.