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Latest Smithsonian National Zoological Park Stories

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2005-10-13 08:37:35

WASHINGTON -- The National Zoo's 3-month-old giant panda cub put his best paw forward Wednesday and took his first full steps. Until then, the animal had only pulled himself around on his front legs, said chief veterinarian Suzan Murray. But soon after a medical exam - when zoo vets placed the cub back in the cage he shares with his mother Mei Xiang - they saw his rear legs kick into action. "He was just moving his front end, and his hind legs sort of moved shakily behind him," Murray said....

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2005-10-06 12:09:43

WASHINGTON -- National zoo veterinarians treated a giraffe Wednesday for a tumor on its head, in what the chief vet said was the first such case of skin cancer. The 13-foot-tall Jafari was back on his feet and in seeming good health in his habitat following the 45-minute procedure that involved 28 people. It is the first case of skin cancer reported among the tall, spotted creatures, chief veterinarian Suzan Murray said. The medical team - which included a giraffe specialist from Florida...

2005-08-25 13:40:00

LOS ANGELES -- Three weeks after a giant panda cub was born at the San Diego Zoo, veterinarians confirmed on Thursday that the newborn is a girl. "The veterinary staff had its suspicions during the cub's first exam last week but chose to wait one more week to get a second look," the zoo said in a written statement. The cub -- who in keeping with Chinese tradition won't be named until she is 100 days old -- now weighs 22 ounces (618 grams) and is 11.6 inches (29.5 cms) long from the tip of the...

2005-08-03 13:11:30

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - San Diego Zoo on Wednesday welcomed a new giant panda cub -- the second to be born in the United States this year and one of the few of the endangered species in captivity to be born naturally. Zoo officials said the 4-ounce (113.5-gram) cub, whose name and gender have yet to be determined, was born late on Tuesday. Thirteen-year-old mother Bai Yun, on loan from China, was originally carrying twins but one of the fetuses died in the womb. In Washington, Mei Xiang...

2005-08-02 12:12:07

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It's a boy -- a quick peek at the baby panda born last month at Washington's National Zoo showed it is a male, the zoo said on Tuesday. Curious veterinarians at the Smithsonian National Zoo lured giant panda Mei Xiang out of her den with a bamboo snack and sneaked a look at her cub, which was born July 9. The cub is now 12 inches (30 cm) long and weighs 1.8 pounds (825.7 grams), the zoo said in a statement. Veterinarian Sharon Deem was also able to listen to its...

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2005-07-28 18:00:00

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The stork is on its way back to the San Diego Zoo's giant panda habitat. Zoo officials announced Thursday that the 13-year-old panda, Bai Yun, is pregnant again, with twins. Keepers will begin a 24-hour birth watch Friday and say a birth could happen anytime over the next few weeks, said zoo spokeswoman Christina Simmons. Researchers have been monitoring Bai Yun since April when she mated with male panda Gao Gao. Bai Yun has kept from public view since July 15 as she...

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2005-07-10 16:41:01

WASHINGTON -- Giant panda Mei Xiang appeared to be nursing her day-old cub on Sunday, a positive sign of survival for a tiny bear susceptible to malnutrition, bacterial infection and even the lumbering of its 250-pound mother. The National Zoo's first panda cub in 16 years survived its initial 24 hours - a benchmark for pandas born in captivity - and continued to emit such a robust squeal that zoo officials were optimistic about the days ahead. "Everything seems to be going fine," zoo...

2005-07-09 19:53:11

By Doina Chiacu WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A panda cub the size of a stick of butter was born early Saturday at the National Zoo (in Washington), the first for the pair of endangered bears now living there and a milestone for the zoo. Mei Xiang gave birth at 3:41 a.m. (0741 GMT) and zoo veterinarians were watching closely to see how the tiny cub, which weighs just ounces (grams), will fare in its first critical days. "Luckily, right now both mother and cub are doing really, really well," said...

2005-07-09 07:40:00

WASHINGTON -- The National Zoo's giant panda Mei Xiang gave birth early Saturday to a squealing, vigorous cub that was conceived through artificial insemination. The typical cub weighs 3 ounces to 5 ounces and is about the size of a stick of butter. It was too early to determine the gender and exact weight of the cub, zoo officials said, because veterinarians kept their distance, not wanting to interrupt the mother-cub bonding. Zoo officials were monitoring the pair via cameras in their...

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2005-05-17 17:34:11

WASHINGTON (AP) -- When the new baby is a porcupine, figuring out if it's a male or female can create a prickly situation. For the experts at the National Zoo, that's precisely the point. Scientists at the zoo said Tuesday they have been able to determine their new arrival's gender from the DNA in its quills, and that could be a first. Because a porcupine's sexual organs are internal, it can take up to six weeks before the gender is known. But the new test did the trick in about a week, zoo...