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Latest Smithsonian National Zoological Park Stories

2008-06-20 15:00:21

Officials at Washington's National Zoo say there are signs that one of its beloved pandas might be pregnant. Urine tests on Mei Xiang have revealed a hormone spike that could mean she is expecting, The Washington Post said Friday. Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated this spring with semen from the zoo's male panda, Tian Tian, a procedure that produced the cub Tai Shan in 2005. But zookeepers aren't passing out cigars just yet. Pandas are notorious for pseudopregnancies, and Mei Xiang...

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2008-06-20 13:18:36

Scientists at the Smithsonian's National Zoo detected a secondary rise in urinary progestin levels in the Zoo's female giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) earlier this month. The results from the test on Thursday, June 19 lead scientists to believe the hormone rise indicates that it would be mid- to late-July before Mei Xiang either gives birth to a cub or comes to the end of a pseudopregnancy, or false pregnancy, which is common in giant pandas. Zoo scientists artificially inseminated Mei...

2008-06-18 12:00:06

By Michele Munz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jun. 18--Dr. Sherman Silber has long been a trailblazer in fertility. Now the St. Louis-area surgeon is taking his expertise in humans and using it for endangered animals. Silber has performed the first successful reverse vasectomy on a severely endangered species. It's also the first done on an equid -- a hoofed mammal with slender legs, flat coat and mane. The patient was a Przewalski's horse named Minnesota living at the Smithsonian's National...

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2008-06-17 09:55:00

Veterinarians at the Smithsonian's National Zoo have performed the first successful reverse vasectomy on a Przewalski's horse (E. ferus przewalskii; E. caballus przewalskii "” classification debated), pronounced zshah-VAL-skeez. Przewalksi's horses are a horse species native to China and Mongolia that was declared extinct in the wild in 1970. Currently, there are approximately 1500 of these animals maintained at zoological institutions throughout the world and in several small...

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2008-04-06 00:20:00

At Washington D.C.'s National Zoo, the staff were puzzled and stunned when Mopie, a strong, muscular, healthy-looking western lowland gorilla able to put away 7 pounds of food a day, suddenly collapsed the afternoon of July 3, 2006 after playing with some newly introduced mates. By the time the keepers cleared out the other gorillas and performed CPR on Mopie, the gentle, 430-pound gorilla was lifeless, a victim of heart failure at age 34. Lisa Stevens, curator of primates and giant pandas at...

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2008-03-20 02:15:00

Scientists and veterinarians perform nonsurgical aritificial insemination The 2008 giant panda mating season began Tuesday, March 18, at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Female Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and male Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN) attempted to mate throughout the day Tuesday. Zoo staff carefully observed each mating and, because satisfactory mating did not occur, Zoo scientists and veterinarians performed a nonsurgical artificial insemination Wednesday morning. Both pandas were...

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2008-03-12 19:25:00

Early Friday morning, March 7, one of the world's most endangered species -- a North Island brown kiwi -- hatched at the Smithsonian's National Zoo Bird House. Keepers had been incubating the egg for five weeks, following a month long incubation by the chick's father, carefully monitoring it for signs of pipping: the process in which the chick starts to break through the shell. The chick remained in an isolet for four days and is now in a specially designed brooding box. The box will be not...

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2008-03-04 12:05:10

A male scimitar-horned oryx from the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Va., is playing an important role in ensuring the species does not vanish from the planet. The oryx, along with eight others from American and European zoos, was sent to Tunisia in December 2007 for an eventual reintroduction into the wild, where they have been extinct since the late 1970s. Oryx are a type of desert antelope that are mostly white with reddish-brown necks and...

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2008-02-11 09:10:00

This Valentine's Day, Cupid won't be making a stop at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Unlike the spontaneous attraction that most humans equate with love and romance, mating and dating at the National Zoo is planned, strategic and science-based -- quite an unromantic encounter. Successful breeding is often much more complicated than putting a male and female together and expecting nature to take its course. Animals in captivity need to be managed carefully to ensure the most genetically...

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2007-07-03 16:55:41

SEATTLE -- A previously unknown elephant herpes virus killed the Woodland Park Zoo's youngest Asian elephant, zoo officials said Monday. Six-year-old Hansa, who died last month, was one of 12 elephants fathered by a bull at a zoo in Missouri. Three of the others exhibited herpes symptoms in the past decade. Two of them died, while the third, Chandra, was successfully treated in 1997. Bruce Bohmke, deputy director of the Woodland Park Zoo, said he was not sure if zoo officials knew about...


Word of the Day
barghest
  • A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.
  • A ghost, wraith, hobgoblin, elf, or spirit.
The origin of 'barghest' is not known, but it may be from perhaps burh-ghest, town-ghost, or German Berg-geist (mountain spirit) or Bär-geist (bear-spirit).
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