The Smithsonian National Zoological Park has been awarded a five-year accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The accreditation certifies that the National Zoo has met or exceeded the AZA’s standards for animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety.
Giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) gave birth to a cub at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo 5:32 p.m. The panda team heard the cub vocalize and glimpsed the cub for the first time briefly immediately after the birth. Mei Xiang picked the cub up immediately and began cradling and caring for it.
Our tiger cubs are three weeks old, and this morning they got their first veterinary exam—and passed with roaring colors. Veterinarians determined that the two cubs are a male and a female. The male cub weighs a little more than 8 pounds and the female weighs 7.5 pounds.
Our elephant herd is growing again—this time with three female elephants from Calgary Zoo in Alberta, Canada! Next spring, Kamala, Swarna, and Maharani, will arrive here on loan from the Calgary Zoo, expanding our existing herd to seven. Kamala and Swarna were born in the wild around 1975 and came to the Calgary Zoo from the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka in May 1976. Maharani, Kamala’s daughter, was born at the Calgary Zoo July 14, 1990. At our Elephant Trails complex, they will join our four elephants: females Ambika (65 years old), Bozie (37) and Shanthi (38) and Shanthi’s son Kandula (11). Records indicate that Kamala, Swarna, Bozie, and Shanthi lived at the orphanage together before departing for new homes in North America.
Fishing cat kitten Wasabi and his mother Electra are out on exhibit from 10 a.m. in the morning until afternoon most days.
The Great Cats team is celebrating a conservation victory. The Zoo’s female Sumatran tiger Damai gave birth to two cubs on August 5, 2013. The cubs appear healthy, and keepers have observed Damai grooming them.
Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute are celebrating the birth of a female Przewalski’s horse—the first to be born via artificial insemination. The foal’s birth on July 27 signals a huge breakthrough for the survival of this species. SCBI reproductive physiologist Budhan Pukazhenthi and the Przewalski’s horse husbandry team spent seven years working closely with experts at The Wilds and Auburn University in Alabama to perfect the technique of assisted breeding. Both the filly and the first-time mother Anne are in good health and bonding.
Mei Xiang is beginning to show some behavioral changes. She's becoming more sensitive to noises and other unusual disturbances. That means we are closing part of the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat. Visitors will be able to see Mei when she's outdoors and Tian Tian indoors and out. Red pandas will only be visible from the upper viewing area. Remember to keep an eye on the cams!
Learn how the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute saves species at the Zoo and around the world.
As economic expansion and development fragments the forest landscape of central India, the species that rely on that habitat—including endangered tigers and leopards—face dwindling populations and increased competition for food and resources. Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists analyzed the genes of these great cats in the Satpura-Maikal landscape—a 15,000 square kilometers area composed of four interconnected reserves: Kanha, Satpura, Melghat and Pench. From April-June 2009 and November 2009-May 2010, they collected scat (fecal matter) and hair samples for DNA analysis. This data, combined with India's forest ecology history, enabled SCBI scientists to construct a definitive picture of how habitat loss affects the genetic diversity and gene flow of cat populations. Published in Evolutionary Applications and Proceedings of the Royal Society B, their research demonstrates that an intact forest corridor is vital for maintaining gene flow in these great cats.
SCBI field researchers are in Belize for the spawning season. Coinciding with the full moon once every year coral release sperm and eggs into the open ocean. Our researchers are collecting some of this material with the hopes of preserving it and breeding coral at the Zoo. Follow their progress in the field on Facebook and Twitter!
Tumai contributed four cubs to her species’s survival