Washington, DC


Photo by PoPville flickr user angela n.

I’m not crying, you’re crying!!

From the National Zoo:

“By the end of August Bei Bei will be another year older! He will receive a panda-friendly frozen cake specially made by the Zoo’s Department of Nutrition Science the morning of Aug. 22. Visit the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat to celebrate with us.

Now that Bei Bei is turning four years old, he will move to China as stipulated in our breeding agreement. Read More

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Photo by PoPville flickr user angela n.

From the Smithsonian’s National Zoo:

“Our scientists, veterinarians and keepers have been monitoring Mei Xiang closely for the past several months to determine if she is pregnant or experiencing a pseudopregnancy. They will have their answer by the end of August, because Mei Xiang is in her secondary hormone rise — or the 40-50 days when her levels of progesterone start to rise — signaling that she will either give birth to a cub or enter the final stages of a pseudopregnancy in the next several weeks. When Mei Xiang’s hormone levels return to baseline, she will either give birth to a cub or her behavior will return to normal. Read More

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Red panda cub being weighed June 19. (Jessica Kordell/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute)

From the Smithsonian National Zoo:

“Moonlight, a 4-year-old red panda, gave birth to a cub overnight June 12 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. Moonlight and the cub appear to be doing well and keepers are cautiously optimistic that the cub will continue to grow. The new mom has been very attentive to the cub, only leaving the nest box where it was born for very short periods of time to eat and drink. Keepers have been monitoring the pair via a closed-circuit camera in the nest box and they have seen Moonlight, an experienced mom, grooming and nursing the cub.

When Moonlight left the nest box June 19, keepers took the opportunity to perform a quick visual exam and weigh the cub. It weighed in at 6 ounces (172 grams), which is normal for a newborn. Keepers and veterinarians will continue to monitor the pair closely during the next several weeks, which are the most critical for a newborn cub. Read More

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Giant panda Mei Xiang at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. (Skip Brown/Smithsonian’s National Zoo)

From Smithsonian’s National Zoo:

“A team of reproductive scientists, veterinarians and panda keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute performed an artificial insemination on giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) yesterday evening, March 28 at 9 p.m.

Scientists and keepers had been closely monitoring Mei Xiang’s behavior and hormones since she began displaying behavioral changes March 15, indicating she was entering her breeding season. Daily hormone reports showed Mei Xiang’s estrogen levels peaked the evening of March 27, which means she was ovulating and able to become pregnant. Female giant pandas are only in estrus, or able to become pregnant, for 24 to 72 hours each year.

Since the window when a giant panda can conceive a cub is so short, the Zoo’s panda team performed an artificial insemination on Mei Xiang. They artificially inseminated her using fresh semen from Tian Tian (t-YEN t-YEN) for the procedure. Read More

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Rest In Peace Diogo


via Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the National Zoo:

“We are sad to share that Diogo, one of our golden lion tamarins, died Monday, March 4. At 18 years old, Diogo was geriatric for a golden lion tamarin. Keepers and veterinarians made the difficult decision to euthanize him due to his rapidly declining quality of life caused by renal failure and gallstones. He did not have any offspring, but he and his mate Julie were ambassadors for their species. Read More

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3001 Connecticut Ave., NW

“Dear PoPville,

The Zoo fencing plan is back at the National Capital Planning Commission.  The TSA-style security gate is gone from the front entrance (yay!), but the ridiculous fencing everywhere else remains.  Comments are due by noon on Wednesday!

Here’s what I got from NCPC:

At its Thursday, March 7 meeting NCPC will review revised preliminary and final site development plans for supplemental perimeter fencing at the National Zoo.

The project was original submitted for approval in July 2018, when the Commission postponed action due to outstanding questions from the public and Commission regarding the need for the enhanced security measures. The Smithsonian Institution indicated that this revised submission responds to feedback received from local leaders, civic groups, and the public. Major changes include the elimination of permanent security screening pavilions from further consideration.

The Executive Director’s Recommendation is available online, as is the final agenda. Both may also be accessed from https://www.ncpc.gov/. The meeting will begin at 1:00 pm and be streamed live at https://www.ncpc.gov/live/.

If you wish to provide comments on this revised submission, or register to speak on the submission, you may do so through noon on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. Further information is available here: https://www.ncpc.gov/participate/guidelines/.

NCPC Office of the Secretariat

And here’s a copy of what I just submitted: Read More

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Tian Tian plays in the snow via Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the National Zoo:

“You’re invited to a housewarming celebration! The new visitor exhibit in the panda house is finished and we would love for everyone to come visit and see it. On Feb. 23, we’ll be hosting a giant panda housewarming party, sponsored by Airbnb, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat.

After a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m., the housewarming party will begin! The day will be filled with fun activities for pandas and panda enthusiasts alike. The giant and red pandas will receive special frozen treats throughout the day. The treats, created by our department of nutrition science, will be made to look like noodles. Bei Bei and the red pandas, Asa and Jackie, will receive their treats in their yards at 9:30 a.m. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian will receive their baskets at 1 p.m.

Special treats will also be available for human visitors as well! Read More

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From the National Zoo:

“American Trail keepers celebrated the arrival of three North American river otter pups — two males and one female — Jan. 21. Born to first-time parents 2-year-old mother Ashkii and 2-year-old father Emmett, the pups are the first litter of North American river otters born at the Zoo in its 129-year history. Ashkii gave birth in an off-exhibit den, and keepers report that they have observed her tending to and nursing her offspring. Read More

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“Three-year-old giant panda Bei Bei plays in the snow” last month

From the National Zoo:

“Panda House Will Occasionally Close On Weekday Mornings

The New Year will bring in some new changes to the panda house! Beginning in early December, the panda house at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat may occasionally close during weekday mornings to allow for the installation of a brand new exhibit! On those mornings, visitors will be able to see Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Bei Bei outside. The pandas spend their mornings outside in their yards, and during the winter sometimes choose to spend the afternoons outside as well. They prefer cold temperatures and winter weather. If the panda house needs to close, it will reopen at 12 p.m., when the pandas have the choice to spend time inside or outside.

The updated exhibit will teach visitors about the ecology, history, reproduction, conservation and care of giant pandas. Read More

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