During the federal government shutdown, from Jan. 2 to Jan. 28, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s animal care team, almost all federal workers, reported to work and provided the same level of care for the Zoo’s animals as any other day. Below, in no particular order, is an overview of top animal news updates that happened during this time.
1. Kiwi Chick Hatched
A brown kiwi chick hatched at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, on Jan. 9. The chick is a female. She is doing well and started eating meat, a mixture of vegetables and special nutritionally complete pellets a few days after she hatched. Kiwi are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
2. Otter Pups Born
American Trail keepers celebrated the arrival of three North American river otter pups — two males and one female — Jan. 21. Born to first-time parents 2-year-old mother Ashkii and 2-year-old father Emmett, the pups are the first litter of North American river otters born at the Zoo in its 129-year history. Ashkii gave birth in an off-exhibit den, and keepers report that they have observed her tending to and nursing her offspring.