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Photo: Janice Sveda/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Though still saddened by Shama’s passing these photos of her cubs are making the morning much better.

From the National Zoo:

“All of the red panda cubs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute this summer are growing! Five cubs–born to Regan, Low Mei and Shama–are being hand-reared by keepers. They are bottle-fed three times a day, and have received their first solid foods. Keepers are offering them bamboo and soaked apple biscuits. So far, the cubs mostly just gnaw on the bamboo and lick the biscuits.

The cubs are becoming more mobile, and keepers are starting to see some play behaviors from them.”

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Photo: Janice Sveda/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

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Photo: Janice Sveda/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

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Photo: Janice Sveda/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

From the National Zoo:

“The National Zoo and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China celebrated giant panda cub Bao Bao’s first birthday this morning with a Zhuazhou (dra-JO) ceremony. During a traditional Zhuazhou ceremony, symbolic objects are placed in front of a baby. The item that the baby reaches for first foretells something about his or her future. The Zhuazhou for Bao Bao was slightly modified for a panda cub. Three posters with symbols painted on them were placed in Bao Bao’s yard. Each poster had a different image, painted by students from the Sunshine School, affiliated with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and Friends of the National Zoo summer campers. Ambassador Cui Tiankai, Dennis Kelly, director of the National Zoo, and Brandie Smith, senior curator of mammals placed small honey treats (a new favorite treat of Bao Bao’s) under the posters. One poster had peaches painted on it; in China peaches are a symbol of longevity. The second poster had bamboo painted on it, representing good health for the panda cub. The final poster had pomegranates painted on it; in China pomegranates are a symbol of fertility. Bao Bao chose the peaches first, which means she will live a long life as an ambassador for panda conservation. She then played with the poster with bamboo painted on it and finally the pomegranate poster. After she had played with all three posters she climbed up her favorite hemlock tree. “

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Photo Credit: Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the National Zoo:

“We are very sad to share that red panda Shama has died at SCBI Front Royal.

Shama lived at the National Zoo on Asia Trail for years, and recently moved out to SCBI Front Royal with her mate Rusty to breed. She gave birth to three cubs earlier this summer, and she was under close observation because it is rare for a red panda to successfully raise three cubs. On Wednesday, August 13, keepers noticed that Shama had developed a neurologic disorder that progressed quickly. Shama was euthanized Saturday, August 16 due to her worsening clinical condition and poor neurological function, which was likely attributed to accumulation of fluid in the brain

Shama’s three cubs are now being hand-reared by experienced staff. Keepers are also hand-rearing a cub born to female Regan. Shama’s three cubs are active and appear to be doing well, but one is considerably smaller than its siblings, and receiving treatment for pneumonia. As a precaution, all three cubs are receiving anti-protozoal treatment. Rusty, who was housed with Shama and the cubs until recently, is also receiving anti-protozoal treatment as a preventative measure. He appears to be doing well.”

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Photo Credit: Janice Sveda, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

From the National Zoo:

“Born June 16, 2014 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, this little red panda cub is thriving! His mother, Regan, is very genetically valuable to the red panda population in human care, and keepers took every precaution to increase the likelihood of a successful birth. Because Regan has neglected cubs in the past, keepers are hand-rearing the cub and giving him round-the-clock care. According to his keepers, the 7-week-old cub is eating well (4 feedings a day) and growing quickly. He now weighs 785 grams!”

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Photo by Abby Wood, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the National Zoo:

“Mei Xiang is celebrating her sweet 16 today in style: with daughter Bao Bao by her side and a fruitsicle in her paws! Mei was born in 1998 at the China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, Sichuan Province. She arrived at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 200. Both mother and daughter celebrated Mei’s day by playing, relaxing, and eating (lots) of bamboo. The Zoo’s Nutrition team even made a panda-friendly cake for the occasion!”

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Photo Credit: Connor Mallon, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the National Zoo:

“We are very sad to announce that our elderly Sulawesi macaque, Spock, was humanely euthanized this morning. He was 27 years old. Zoo visitors may remember Spock as the macaque who interacted with them by lip-smacking, a typical macaque greeting. He often spent time basking in the sun in his outdoor exhibit.

Like many elderly animals, Spock had arthritis in his knee and ankle joints. In 2003 and 2004, Zoo veterinarians performed orthopedic surgery and stabilized the affected areas with pins and screws, thereby increasing his mobility. Zoo staff also altered Spock’s outdoor and indoor enclosure to maximize his comfort and mobility. Spock was recently diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. Veterinarians worked with Zoo nutritionists to manage his diabetes with medicine and diet modifications. Keepers and veterinarians closely monitored Spock for any signs of discomfort or worsening of his diabetic condition. In the past few months, they observed a significant decrease in his mobility, appetite and weight.”

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Photo: Abby Wood/Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the National Zoo’s Nicole MacCorkle:

“Bao Bao is participating in regular training sessions with her keepers, but as always, only on her terms. On the days when she’s focused, we make real progress—we build on old behaviors she has mastered, and learn new behaviors.

One behavior we have been continually building on is targeting. Bao Bao has been touching her nose to the target since she was about 5 months old. Now she can follow the target partway inside from the outdoor yard. And she stands on her hind legs when keepers ask. She certainly recognizes her name (when called by familiar voices) but doesn’t reliably respond yet, the way her parents do. As a matter of fact, even when Mei Xiang calls to her by bleating, Bao Bao doesn’t always respond to her! Interestingly, she does follow Mei outside most days, and rarely has to be carried onto the patio by the keepers anymore. We just need to find a way to motivate her to do the reverse in the afternoons. (more…)

“During the summer the giant pandas usually receive a refreshing fruitsicle treat every day. On July 6, 2014, Bao Bao and Mei Xiang each received one before shifting inside for the afternoon. Bao Bao’s fruitsicle is much smaller than Mei’s, but she is showing more interest in solid foods – especially fruitsicle treats.”