Smithsonian National Zoo

First Wild Horse Born from Artificial Insemination at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

9411745468_a463229c0f_k

In a huge breakthrough for the survival of an endangered species, the first Przewalski’s Horse to be born via artificial insemination was delivered at the National Zoo's Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) on July 27.  

9411749050_e6f6aeaa94_k

9408978119_b5da1d5f6d_k

9408984831_2de1729b56_k
Photo Credit:  Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

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.

“It seems reasonable to assume that reproduction for the Przewalski’s Horse would be similar to domestic Horses, but it simply isn’t the case,” said Pukazhenthi. “This is a major accomplishment, and we hope our success will stimulate more interest in studying and conserving endangered equids around the world.” 

Anne was born at SCBI and is the daughter of a mare imported from Europe and the most genetically valuable stallion in the U.S. The filly’s father Agi also lives at SCBI. The Przewalski’s Horse is considered the last wild Horse on the planet, although it is often mistaken for a breed of domestic Horse, the Norwegian Fjord. Little is known about wild equids despite the extensive knowledge of domestic Horses.

Read more and see additional photos below the fold.

Continue reading "First Wild Horse Born from Artificial Insemination at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute" »


It's Twin Maned Wolf Pups for the Smithsonian Institute

Wolf twins 1

The onset of summer for the Animal Care staff at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., means patiently awaiting endangered-animal births, hand raising youngsters, and saying farewell to cubs that are ready to be matched with mates. All of the species—which range in International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List status from near threatened to endangered—are significant and represent great conservation successes.

One of the new births of these important animals were two male Maned Wolf pups, born on April 14 to 2-year-old female Vitani and 8-year-old male, Paul. The pups received a clean bill of health at their first veterinary exam, appearing robust and healthy. Keepers have nicknamed the pups “Bold” and “Shy” for their distinctive personalities. 

Only 85 Maned Wolves are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, and these pups account for 40 percent of successful Maned Wolf births in the United States this year. A leader in Maned Wolf conservation, SCBI has had 74 pups born there since 1975—more than any other institution.

Wolf solo

Wolf twins tilt
Photo Credit: Janice Sveda

Read more and see more pictures after the fold:

Continue reading "It's Twin Maned Wolf Pups for the Smithsonian Institute" »


Every Day is Play Day for Clouded Leopard Cubs

941184_10151574355097902_288603944_n

Two Clouded Leopard cubs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute on February 6 have three goals:  to play, play, and play some more!

At two-and-a-half months old, the cubs are growing fast and becoming more adventurous.  Recently, as a zoo keeper cleaned their enclosure, the cubs decided to play in the water spraying from the hose.  This was the first time the cubs experienced getting wet – but as you can see from the photos, they didn’t seem to mind at all.

554683_10151566925197902_1842200381_n

9394_10151574355252902_1715656444_n

381391_10151574355177902_1141084975_n

207138_10151574355092902_1828931562_n
Photo Credits:  Janice Sveda, Smithsonian's National Zoo

The cubs, a male and a female, recently had a routine veterinary check-up and were proclaimed healthy and strong.  You can see their baby photos here, here, and here.

These two cubs are genetically valuable to the zoo population of Clouded Leopards.  The cubs’ parents, Jao Chu and Hannibal, were born in Thailand and came to the Smithsonian as part of a collaborative research program. 

See more playful photos and read more below the fold.

Continue reading "Every Day is Play Day for Clouded Leopard Cubs" »


UPDATE! Clouded Leopard Cubs at Smithsonian's Front Royal are Growing Up

58

The Clouded Leopard cubs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute-Front Royal recently turned 2 months old, which means they’re big enough to have access to a larger enclosure with big climbing structures. Keepers report that the cubs spend most of their time playing and like to climb as high as they can! They’ve also mastered eating solid foods and are steadily gaining weight. The male weighs just over 4.5 pounds, and the female weighs about 3.5 pounds.

Read more about the cubs and see pictures of them as newborns in earlier posts on ZooBorns HERE and HERE.

36

47

37

24
Photo Credit: Janice Sveda, Smithsonian's National Zoo

Continue after the fold to more of these playful baby pictures!

Continue reading "UPDATE! Clouded Leopard Cubs at Smithsonian's Front Royal are Growing Up" »


Nothing Says "It's Springtime" Like The Birth of Clouded Leopard Cubs

Clouded Leopard Cubs 2013 - Amiee Stubbs

Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the births of two litters of Clouded Leopard cubs. On March 26, Jing Jai gave birth to one female cub and Baylie gave birth to one male and one female. All three are doing well and are being hand-raised by the Zoo’s animal care staff.

“Nashville Zoo is a leader in Clouded Leopard conservation, with 18 Clouded Leopards born at our off-exhibit breeding facility since 2009,” said Karen Rice, carnivore supervisor at Nashville Zoo. “These cubs will remain a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Clouded Leopard population as breeding cats, education or exhibit animals. Whatever role they play, they will contribute to the ongoing conservation effort.” 

ASP_8690

ASP_8658

ASP_8651
Photo credits: Amiee Stubbs

 

Clouded Leopards are considered endangered because of deforestation, poaching and the pet trade. Nashville Zoo is a member of the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium, an ongoing collaboration with the National Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo, Clouded Leopard Species Survival Program and Zoological Park Organization of Thailand (ZPO) to develop a multi-faceted clouded leopard conservation program that includes a viable self-sustaining captive population. 

See more pictures and learn more below the fold...

Continue reading "Nothing Says "It's Springtime" Like The Birth of Clouded Leopard Cubs" »


(UPDATE!) National Zoo Clouded Leopard Cubs Grow Up and Chow Down

8598821050_cabb880e43_o

The Clouded Leopard cubs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., Feb. 6, are healthy and growing. At nearly two months old, they just received their first vaccinations. As they have grown, their diet has changed to match their appetites and nutritional needs. When the cubs were first born they were bottle-fed by keepers every couple of hours, but they recently graduated from bottle-only feedings. In addition to fewer bottle feedings, they receive four feedings of chopped and cooked chicken meat mixed with a small feline diet. The male cub weighs almost three and a half pounds and his female sibling just over two and a half pounds. The cubs will remain at SCBI until they are three and a half months old. They will then move to other zoos for eventual breeding as recommended by the Species Survival Plan. Listed as vulnerable to extinction in the wild, SCBI has successfully bred more than 70 clouded leopards over the past 30 years and is a leader in conservation science initiatives to save the species.

8597719081_eee75b1ba8_o

8598820890_2af3ec904b_o

8598820810_09c05edd95_o

8597719357_be966e0115_o
Photo credits: Janice Sveda, Smithsonian's National Zoo

See many more pictures beneath the fold...

Continue reading "(UPDATE!) National Zoo Clouded Leopard Cubs Grow Up and Chow Down " »


Ever Seen a Frog This Tiny? Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Collaborators Successfully Breed Endangered Species

Frog coin 2

The Limosa Harlequin Frog (Atelopus limosus), an endangered species native to Panama, now has a new lease on life. The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project is successfully breeding the chevron-patterned form of the species in captivity for the first time. The rescue project is raising nine healthy frogs from one mating pair and hundreds of tadpoles from another pair.

“These frogs represent the last hope for their species,” said Brian Gratwicke, international coordinator for the project and a research biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, one of six project partners. “This new generation is hugely inspiring to us as we work to conserve and care for this species and others.”

Nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species are at risk of extinction. The rescue project aims to save priority species of frogs in Panama, one of the world’s last strongholds for amphibian biodiversity. While the global amphibian crisis is the result of habitat loss, climate change and pollution, a fungal disease, chytridiomycosis, is likely responsible for as many as 94 of 120 frog species disappearing since 1980.

Frog duo
Frog piggyback

Frog on leaf
Photo Credit: Brian Gratwicke, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

See more pictures and read much more about these frogs, and the great efforts to preserve their species, after the fold:

Continue reading "Ever Seen a Frog This Tiny? Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Collaborators Successfully Breed Endangered Species" »


Rare Kiwi Hatches at Smithsonian National Zoo's Front Royal Facility

Nat Zoo Kiwi 1

In early February, the National Zoo's very successful Kiwi breeding program continued in their contributions to the conservation of this rare flightless bird hailing from New Zealand. The chick was born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Front Royal campus. The facility, which is not open to the public, is designed with the sole purpose of breeding rare and endangered species. 

Nat Zoo Kiwi 2

Nat Zoo Kiwi 3
Photo credits: Chris Crowe / Smithsonian National Zoo

The National Zoo is one of the foremost experts in the world when it comes to the breeding of Kiwis. Back in 1975, the zoo was the first facility outside of New Zealand to hatch one of these precious chicks. As experts, they are often tasked with helping with helping other zoos hatch their eggs. This chick came from an egg that was shipped over to their facility in January from the Columbus Zoo. 

Kiwis are difficult to sex, so researchers sent out shards of the egg shell for genetic testing to help make this determination. The results came in...it's a girl! Caretakers have reported that this little girl is doing well. She is very active, eating and drinking well, and gaining weight each and every day. 


Twin Andean Bear Cubs Thriving at National Zoo

8492295485_0a0de6ea4a_h

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s eight-week-old Andean Bear cubs received a clean bill of health this week during their veterinary exam. The cubs received a complete physical, which included listening to their hearts and lungs; checking their mouths, eyes, legs, feet and genital area; and feeling their bellies. The cubs also received the first of a series of routine vaccines. Although it is difficult to determine the sex at such a young age, the cubs appear to be male and female. The larger cub weighs 10.1 pounds; the smaller weighs 9.2 pounds.

8493397326_8eee302a1d_o

8493397956_083ed29833_h
Photo Credit: Beth Branneu / Smithsonian's National Zoo

You read about the cubs on ZooBorns soon after their birth on December 14.  The cubs have spent the past two months bonding in the den with their mother, Billie Jean. Animal care staff and the public have had the unique opportunity to watch Billie Jean give birth, nurture her cubs, and watch them play and grow via the live Andean Bear Cub Cam.

The family’s public debut will take place later this spring.  Andean Bears—also known as Spectacled Bears—are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and it is estimated that there are only 2,000 left in their natural habitat. They inhabit mountainous areas from Venezuela to Bolivia.

See more photos below the fold:

Continue reading "Twin Andean Bear Cubs Thriving at National Zoo" »


Two Handfuls of Clouded Leopard Born at Smithsonian National Zoo

Clouded leopard hero

On February 6th, two Clouded Leopard cubs were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute of Smithsonian National Zoo

Six days later, the zoo announced that the cubs had opened their eyes and had healthy appetites, drinking milk seven times a day! 

Clouded leopard 1
Clouded leopard 2
Photo Credits: Janice Sveda / Smithsonian National Zoo

Watch caretakers of Smithsonian National Zoo hand-rearing Clouded Leopard cubs born in March 2011. Sita and Ta Moon are the mother and father of this year's newborn cubs as well as the cubs in the video. 

 
Learn more about Clouded Leopards after the fold. 

Continue reading "Two Handfuls of Clouded Leopard Born at Smithsonian National Zoo" »