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Latest Smithsonian National Zoological Park Stories

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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...

2006-03-03 20:24:09

By Patricia Wilson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five weeks after the U.S. National Zoo put down one of its elephants, veterinarians artificially inseminated another, hoping to add one more notable birth at an institution hit by high-profile deaths. Shanthi, a 30-year-old 9,000-pound (4,000-kg) Asian elephant stood in a training chute -- a contraption with bars to restrain her gently -- and a keeper fed her treats while the zoo's experts and a team of German veterinary scientists used...

2006-01-27 08:50:00

WASHINGTON - An animal rights group on Thursday appealed to the U.S. National Zoo in Washington to send its three remaining Asian elephants to an animal sanctuary and close its elephant exhibit. The appeal came a day after the zoo put down an arthritic Asian elephant who was said to have been in worsening pain. The elephant named Toni was 40. Elephants can live to be 60 or older. "Toni was clearly in bad shape and had been suffering for a long time. If she had been sent to a sanctuary years...

2006-01-26 20:20:00

WASHINGTON -- An animal rights group on Thursday appealed to the U.S. National Zoo in Washington to send its three remaining Asian elephants to an animal sanctuary and close its elephant exhibit. The appeal came a day after the zoo put down an arthritic Asian elephant who was said to have been in worsening pain. The elephant named Toni was 40. Elephants can live to be 60 or older. "Toni was clearly in bad shape and had been suffering for a long time. If she had been sent to a sanctuary years...

2006-01-26 10:26:19

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. National Zoo said it put down an arthritic elephant on Wednesday in the latest in a series of high-profile deaths at the flagship institution, which has also marked notable births. The Asian elephant, Toni, was 40 and had been in worsening pain, the zoo said. Elephants can live to be 60 or older. "We increased her (painkiller) dosages and did not get any satisfactory response," National Zoo director John...


Word of the Day
caparison
  • A cloth or covering, more or less ornamented, laid over the saddle or furniture of a horse, especially of a sumpter-horse or horse of state.
  • Clothing, especially sumptuous clothing; equipment; outfit.
  • To cover with a caparison, as a horse.
  • To dress sumptuously; adorn with rich dress.
This word ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin 'cappa,' cloak.
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