Dr. Brandie Smith was recently elevated to the position of deputy director, Smithsonian’s National Zoo. She continues to oversee animal care sciences, where she supervises the care and management of the Zoo’s 2,700 animals, including animal exhibits and the Zoo’s nutrition, veterinary and pathology departments. She now also leads park management and horticulture, as well as safety and planning. These added responsibilities will allow Dr. Smith to better coordinate our work across departments.
Indonesian Borneo trip to see wild orangutans
Wild orangutans are under serious threat of extinction. With the support of generous donors, primate keeper, Alex Reddy, M.S., traveled to Indonesian Borneo with primate curator, Meredith Bastian, Ph.D., in late June and early July to exchange information and work with collaborators in the field in Central Kalimantan and at Universitas Nasional in Jakarta. The Tuanan Orangutan Research Project has been an active wild Bornean orangutan research site since 2003 when Bastian first started her dissertation fieldwork there. She later established Sungai Lading, a satellite research site of Tuanan that was active from 2005 to 2007.
During this 2019 trip, Bastian visited the site of Sungai Lading with one of her former field assistants to confirm that all remaining viable orangutan habitat in the area was destroyed in the 2010 and 2015 fires. This trip and future visits to Tuanan will help Reddy integrate her observations into her daily keeper talks at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.
Sea lion pup born at the Zoo
A new set of flippers splashed down at Smithsonian’s National Zoo! We celebrated the arrival of a California sea lion pup on June 23 at 11 p.m. Animal care staff closely monitored the pup born to 14-year-old mother, Calli, in an off-exhibit area after its birth. The pup made its public debut in September 2019.