Members of the Zoo Neighborhood Council received this correspondence Sept. 16, 2021.
I hope this finds you well and healthy. Ever since the Zoo reopened May 21, our team has worked tirelessly to create a safe environment for our visitors, staff and animals. Autumn is a lovely time to take a stroll through our beautiful park, and we hope you and your constituents will visit in the near future. Free entry passes and paid parking passes—as well as detailed information about our safety measures—are available on our website.
As the summer concludes, we are looking forward to cooler weather, fall foliage and more exciting happenings at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. We welcomed many new animals and celebrated many milestones over the past three months, including:
- Cheetah Conservation Station recently welcomed a new female lesser kudu, Gal.
- In late June, two European glass lizards hatched at the Reptile Discover Center.
- In July, collared lemur brothers Bentley and Beemer made their debut at Lemur Island.
- In early August, four snakehead fish—a new species for the Zoo—debuted on Asia Trail.
- In late August, giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji celebrated his first birthday, with much fanfare.
- On Sept. 12, our youngest Bornean orangutan, Redd, celebrated his 5th birthday.
- The Cheetah Cub Cam is back as we await the birth of Sukiri’s cubs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
It’s important to me, and the Smithsonian, that our neighbors understand the priority we place on the safety and well-being for our visitors, staff, community and animals. To that end, we have made the difficult decision to cancel several events that traditionally take place in autumn. This includes Conservation Discovery Day at our Virginia campus, Boo at the Zoo and ZooLights.
We know how much the members of our community value these events and look forward to them every year. However, the continued prevalence of the COVID-19 virus and its variants has put a damper on these large-scale gatherings. We hope that conditions will improve in the coming months, and that we will be able to revive these and other beloved events in 2022. Please note that your constituents are welcome to tune in to any of our free UnZOOsual Careers webinars, which launch Oct. 1. These are a terrific resource for learning more about the Zoo and our animal care teams from the comfort of home.
We remain committed to open lines of communications with our neighbors. If you would like to submit feedback, please email NZP-CommunityOutreach@si.edu. You can also stay up-to-date on all the latest animal news and events by signing up for Zoo e-newsletters and following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. As always, we look forward to seeing you at the Zoo!