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Photo Release: Critically Endangered Spider Tortoise Hatches at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo

May 22, 2015

Tomorrow is World Turtle day. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is celebrating a conservation milestone; for the first time, a rare spider tortoise has hatched in the Reptile Discovery Center.


Photo Release: Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Scientists Find Andean Bears Using Camera Traps In Peru

May 8, 2015

For the first time, a team from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s (SCBI) Center for Conservation Education and Sustainability collected photo evidence of an Andean bear (also known as the spectacled bear) in Peru’s Amarakaeri Comunal Reserve using camera traps—automated cameras with motion sensors.

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute Scientists Find Forest Corridors Are Key to Maintaining Healthy Sloth Bear Populations

May 6, 2015

By using DNA extracted from sloth bear scat, a team of Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) researchers found that forest corridors between protected areas in the bears’ native habitats are vital to maintaining a genetically diverse population.

Media Advisory: Smithsonian’s National Zoo Celebrates International Migratory Bird Day with Family Events May 7 and 9

May 4, 2015

In honor of International Migratory Bird Day, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is hosting two free events where Zoo visitors can learn about birds and ways to support bird conservation efforts. These events, collectively known as Bird Fest 2015, celebrate the springtime return of millions of birds that winter in Latin America and the Caribbean. The theme of this year’s event is “Restore Habitats, Restore Birds.”

Smithsonian’s National Zoo Opens Mobile Wildlife Trafficking Educational Kiosk

April 29, 2015

A free-standing kiosk at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo enables visitors to gain a better understanding of the impact of wildlife trafficking.

SCBI Researchers Use Frozen Testes Tissue To Generate Sperm

April 29, 2015

Researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) have generated mature sperm from frozen testicular tissue for the first time. Their findings were published in PLOS ONE today. The technique, called xenografting, has been successful in several domestic species but has never been done with frozen tissue before.

Photo Release: National Zoo Scientists Artificially Inseminate Giant Panda Mei Xiang

April 27, 2015

After carefully monitoring the behavior of both its giant pandas and female Mei Xiang’s (may-SHONG) hormones for weeks, 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. The first procedure started at 6 p.m. on April 26, and the second began at 7:30 this morning, April 27. Daily hormone reports showed Mei Xiang’s progesterone levels peaked Sunday morning, an indication that she was in estrus and able to become pregnant.

National Zoo Prepares for Giant Panda Breeding Season with the Arrival of Frozen Semen from China

April 21, 2015

Caitlin Burrell, research scientist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, returned from China last night April 20, with frozen giant panda semen that had been stored at the Bifengxia Giant Panda Base’s cryopreservation bank. The sperm may be used for an artificial insemination on the Zoo’s female giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) when she goes into estrus this spring. This is the first time frozen semen has been transported from China to the National Zoo for breeding.

Photo Release: New Western Lowland Gorilla on Exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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. She arrived at the National Zoo from the Woodland Park Zoo on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ western lowland gorilla Species Survival Plan. After arriving at the Zoo Feb. 25, Calaya spent 30 days in quarantine per standard procedure. For the past few days, keepers have been slowly introducing her to 22-year-old silverback male Baraka and females 32-year-old Mandara and 6-year-old Kibibi. Zoo visitors can see Calaya at the Great Ape House.


Giant Anteater Update

February 12, 2015

Giant anteater Maripi gave birth to a female pup the night of January 24. Keepers monitored both Maripi and her pup via a closed circuit camera. Within 48 hours keepers became concerned that the pup was not thriving.


Smithsonian's National Zoo Security Update and Planning: Statement from the Director

January 23, 2015

The Smithsonian's National Zoo's attendance varies greatly throughout the year varying from a few hundred visitors per day in January to more than 25,000 visitors per day in April. To safely and securely handle the crowds, the Zoo implements temporary access control during high traffic times.








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