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Latest Smithsonian National Zoological Park Stories

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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...

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2007-01-12 15:15:00

ATLANTA -- The giant panda cub Mei Lan made her media debut Friday, romping about a Zoo Atlanta exhibit area for a crowd of reporters and cameras while her mother chomped bamboo. The 16-pound cub and her mother, Lun Lun, have been in seclusion since the cub's birth on Sept. 6. Panda fans have been keeping up with the duo on the zoo Web site's panda cam and live video feeds at the exhibit. Friday marked the beginning of limited public viewing of the pair, which the zoo expects will bring a...

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2006-12-28 16:00:00

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. -- If you think kids are picky, try feeding a giant panda. It takes four full-time bamboo hunters at Zoo Atlanta to satisfy the palates of the zoo's panda pair, Lun Lun and Yang Yang. And they are not always successful. The animals' diet consists almost entirely of bamboo, but they will eat only about 20 of the 200 or so species that grow in Georgia. What type they like also varies by the time of year. Sometimes the pandas will eat nothing but one variety for a week, then...

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2006-10-18 09:45:34

WASHINGTON -- The Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo opened its new Asia Trial and giant panda habitat Tuesday, the first phase of a complete makeover of the zoo's exhibits. Seven Asian species now call the $53 million renovated space home. Besides the zoo's three popular giant pandas, the exhibit includes a larger, more prominent space for sloth bears, fishing cats, red pandas, clouded leopards, a Japanese giant salamander and Asian small-clawed otters. "Visitors are treated to up close...

2006-09-07 11:06:00

ATLANTA -- After seven years of trying and hoping, Zoo Atlanta officials announced a rare giant panda birth Wednesday, one of only a few in the United States. Lun Lun, a 9-year-old giant panda, gave birth just before 5 p.m. after 35 hours of labor. It's the first panda cub born at the Atlanta zoo and is just the fifth giant panda born at a U.S. zoo in the last six years. The cub is hairless, weighs about 4 ounces and is the size of stick of butter. The sex will not be known for weeks....

2006-07-01 18:56:55

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 23-year-old western lowland gorilla named Kuja died at Washington's National Zoo on Saturday while having surgery for heart disease, officials said. The animal was one of the zoo's two adult male western lowland gorillas, which are an endangered species native to the tropical rain forests of western and central Africa. Kuja died as veterinarians from the University of Alabama and Auburn University tried to implant an electronic cardiac device that zoo...

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2006-04-10 19:23:11

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Inside a small clear tube, a naked mole-rat decides to change direction. Contorting its wrinkled, hot dog-shaped body, the animal nearly somersaults over itself and pokes out its head on the other side. It shows off four big teeth, sniffs the air and turns around again. Watch a naked mole-rat for a while, and you'll see this happen over and over and over. It's the nonstop movement and unusual characteristics - certainly not its beauty - that make mole-rats a hit with zoo...