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February 2010

Goodbye Tai Shan and Mei Lan!

Tomorrow will be a bittersweet day at the National Zoo and Zoo Atlanta, as fans must say goodbye to Giant Pandas Tai Shan and Mei Lan respectively. Four year old Giant Pandas Tai Shan and Mei Lan have captivated crowds since their successful births, the first for both institutions. 

The pandas will be returned to China in accordance with the Zoos' original agreements. In fact, Tai Shan was supposed to return home two years ago but the Chinese government extended his stay for another two years.

(Below) Tai Shan back in 2005 at 11-weeks-old. This was during the cub's 7th check up, all of which he "handled very well," according to zoo veteranarians.

Photo: Smithsonian Zoo

Photo: Smithsonian Zoo

(Below) Snow falls on Tai Shan during his farewell celebration. The snow and frigid temperatures failed to deter Tan Shan's diehard fans from coming to say goodbye.

Jon McRay/FONZ Photo Club

(Below) Mei Lan snuggles up with mom during her first weeks at Zoo Atlanta in 2006. 

Mei lan atlanta zoo giant panda cub
Photo: Zoo Atlanta

(Below) Mei Lan strikes a postcard worthy panda-pose.

Mei lan atlanta zoo giant panda cub 2
Photo: Atlanta Zoo 

(Below) The Washington Post shares video of Tai-Shan's last days in DC. 

Tai-Shan received farewell letters from DC area students including this one from Florence Kane, age 8.


Teeny Tiny Toads at the Bronx Zoo!

The Bronx Zoo has just unveiled what is sure to be a major-miniature attraction and an essential piece of conservation to boot - Kihansi Spray Toads! When Tanzania built a massive hydroelectric dam in the Kihansi Gorge, this tiny toad lost 90% of its habitat. True to their name, Kihansi Spray Toads required the mist generated by water crashing through the gorge to keep their skin moist. When the heavy water was reduced to a trickle, the spray dried up. 

Baby kihansi spray toad 1a rs 

Luckily, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo were on hand to collect an "assurance colony" of 499 toads. Over the last nine years these researchers have figured out how to keep the little toads comfortable and, more importantly, how to encourage them to produce baby toads! The eensy-teensy-tiny results can be enjoyed below!

Baby kihansi spray toad 3 rs 

Baby kihansi spray toad 1 rs 

Baby kihansi spray toad 4 rs Photo credits: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS

If you live anywhere near New York or were looking for an excuse to make the trip, the Kihasa Spray Toad exhibit is reason enough. Learn more by clicking "continue reading" below.

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Say Hello to Germany's Newest Gorilla Baby

Germany's Hellebrunn Zoo hosted photographers last week for a media session with 25 year old gorilla Bagira, and her 6th offspring, Kojolu. Kojolu was born last month and continues to do well in the protection of her mother.  Doting mom Bagira keeps older siblings Sadiki and Makena at bay during this critical period for the infant's development. After another two months in seclusion, Kojolu will be introduced to the other gorillas in the zoo's fold. (via The Windsor Star)

Photo: Michael Dalder/Reuters

Photo: Michael Dalder/Reuters

Photo: Oliver Lang AFP/Getty Images

Photo: Oliver Lang AFP/Getty Images

Photo: Michael Dalder/Reuters

Penguin Picassos

Only one year ago we covered little "Blue Blue's" hatching at Connecticut's Mystic Aquarium

Blue blue baby penguin mystic aquarium

Since that time, Blue Blue has turned into quite the painting prodigy. Keepers apply non-toxic paint to Blue Blue's webbed feet and he is free to waddle about as he pleases, creating a unique piece of art. Along with the works of two other mated pairs, Blue Blue's masterpieces are available on the Aquarium's website starting Feb. 5th. The perfect Valentine's Day gift for that hard to buy for penguin art aficionado in your life.  

Painting penguin mystic aquarium 2

Painting penguin mystic aquarium

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