Caption: Bao Bao at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Photo: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

And the day just got even darker. We knew it was coming but it still stings damn it.

From the Smithsonian’s National Zoo:

“Giant panda Bao Bao will depart the Smithsonian’s National Zoo for China in late winter, within the first few months of 2017. As part of the Zoo’s cooperative breeding agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA), all cubs born at the Zoo move to China by the time they turn 4 years old. Bao Bao will turn 4 Aug. 23, 2017.

Baby Panda Vet Exam 10/23/13
Flashback Photo: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

“Bao Bao is very special to us at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo,” said Brandie Smith, associate director of animal care sciences. “She was the first surviving cub born at the Zoo since 2005. She’s captured the hearts of people all over the world who watched her grow up on the panda cams, and she has been an ambassador for conservation. We are sad to see her go, but excited for the contributions she is going to continue to make to the global giant panda population.” (more…)

From the Smithsonian’s National Zoo:

“The Great Ape House is open, but Batang and Redd still choose to spend the majority of their time resting behind-the-scenes. We were lucky to catch this glimpse of them yesterday! To help Batang transition back into her normal routine, keepers have scattered some of Batang’s favorite foods around the public exhibit for enrichment, as well as piles of hay and fleece blankets for nesting materials. Today, she built a nest close to the door of Bonnie and Kyle’s enclosure, and the two took turns looking at Redd!”

via the Smithsonian National Zoo

From the National Zoo:

For the first time in 25 years, primate staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are celebrating the birth of a male Bornean orangutan. He was born at 8:52 p.m. Sept. 12. Both 19 years old, female Batang and male Kyle bred in January following a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). Primate staff have confirmed the newborn is a male. Animal care staff have observed Batang nursing the infant who has been clinging closely to his mother, and they are cautiously optimistic that the newborn will thrive. The Great Ape House will remain closed to provide Batang a quiet space to bond with her infant.”

Photo via Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Ed. Note: Porcupette is my new favorite word.

From the National Zoo:

“The Small Mammal House welcomed a prehensile-tailed porcupette yesterday afternoon! The baby appears to be doing well and is nursing. The porcupette will stay on exhibit with parents Bess and Clark for several months. We don’t know yet if our porcupette is a male or female.”

orangutan baby
via Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the National Zoo:

“For the first time in 25 years, we’re making room for an endangered Bornean orangutan baby! The 19-year-old parents to be, female Batang and male Kyle, bred in January. Batang is not due until mid-September, but keepers are already acclimating Batang to the experiences of motherhood and training her to care for an infant.

We announced Batang’s pregnancy through a Facebook Live broadcast of her ultrasound.”