Photo by PoPville flickr user Brian Mosley
“Due to the high winds the National Zoo will be closed to the public today.”
And the good stuff:
“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 today, March. 1. (more…)
Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.
From the National Zoo:
“Keepers have noticed some dramatic changes in Mei Xiang and Tian Tian’s behavior during the past several days. On Saturday, Feb. 17, Mei Xiang started showing behavioral changes that indicate she may be going into estrus within the next few weeks. It is normal for Mei Xiang to exhibit these types of behavioral changes for a short time before she reaches peak estrus, which is the 24 to 72 hours out of the year that she is capable of conceiving a cub. Last Saturday, keepers immediately noticed that her behavior had changed when they arrived at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat. Mei Xiang chose to sleep in until after 7 a.m., which is unusual for her. She usually greets keepers at her door at 6:30 a.m. sharp, looking for a little morning snack and in eager anticipation of the bamboo breakfast in her yard. After Mei Xiang roused herself, she ignored her bamboo breakfast. Instead, she wandered around her yard scent-marking, which is a behavior that increases pre-estrus. She also vocalized at Tian Tian, but the vocalization was a moan, indicating that Mei Xiang is not interested in spending time in the same space as Tian Tian or breeding quite yet.
Tian Tian is always very perceptive and responsive to even subtle changes in Mei Xiang’s hormones that indicate she may be coming into estrus. (more…)
Nutmeg and Jackie via Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Big news from the Zoo for Red Panda lovers:
“Just in time for Valentine’s Day, two animals that are red and white and beloved by everyone made their debut on Asia Trail! Meet Nutmeg and her son, Jackie, who came to the Zoo from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in December.
Get the scoop on the Zoo’s new red panda pair from animal keeper Mariel Lally.
At 8.5 months old, Jackie is a bit smaller than his 4-year-old mom, Nutmeg. While Nutmeg has a very light face and blonde hips, Jackie’s forehead is red. Beneath his eyes, he has dark red teardrop markings that are very pronounced.
Personality-wise, Jackie is playful and inquisitive; he will walk right up to keepers to check out what is going on. Nutmeg, on the other hand, is a bit more subdued and prefers to observe her surroundings from a distance. While she is friendly, all interactions with keepers take place on her terms.
They made their debut on Asia Trail last week and seem to enjoy exploring the red panda habitat. They spent the majority of their time climbing trees, following one another around the yard, and smelling where our 3-year-old female red panda, Asa, has been scent marking. Sometimes Nutmeg and Jackie will go their separate ways, but more often than not Nutmeg is leading the way. Sometimes, Jackie is so interested in an object in the yard that he will not notice mom is many paces ahead. Once he does, though, he will run after her and give her a nice big hug.”
Read more about Nutmeg and Jackie here.
Jackie via Smithsonian’s National Zoo
“Bei Bei eating overnight Tuesday in the panda house.” via Smithsonian’s National Zoo
From the National Zoo:
“Bei Bei started showing signs of abdominal discomfort overnight Saturday, Nov. 25, and as a result the panda team began monitoring him closely. All of his symptoms were consistent with a mucous stool–which include abdominal discomfort, nausea, decreased appetite and sleeping. He passed a mucous stool on Sunday, Nov. 26, and began eating and defecating normally again.
The panda team has been monitoring Bei Bei continuously since Saturday. He has not expressed interest in spending time outside, and during the course of the day on Monday, Nov. 27, he again became reluctant to eat and his activity decreased. As a result, the panda team will continue to monitor him overnight and watch for any changes, or evidence of another mucous stool. Mucous stools are not uncommon for giant pandas. Bei Bei has passed several of them and Mei Xiang and Tian Tian also experience them occasionally.
UPDATE: The panda team monitored Bei Bei overnight Monday and watched for any changes, or evidence of another mucous stool. His symptoms did not worsen overnight, but did not improve. He did defecate this morning, but as an extra precaution veterinarians will perform an exam this morning while Bei Bei is under anesthesia to take a closer look at him. The panda house will be closed today, but visitors can see Mei Xiang and Tian Tian in their outdoor yards.
VETERINARY EXAM UPDATE: (more…)
Photo by PoPville flickr user angela n.
From the Smithsonian’s National Zoo:
“Tian Tian had a preventative health exam yesterday. He was taken to the veterinary hospital, which allowed our veterinarians to get an up-close and in-depth look at him while he was under anesthesia. As part of the exam, they took a blood sample, urine sample and x-rays. They also performed an ultrasound to look at his abdomen and organs. Veterinarians did not find anything abnormal, but Tian Tian may be starting to show some changes that are normal for an older bear. The biggest change that the keepers have noticed is that he has lost some weight during the past several months. He weighs 260 pounds, and his weight has been holding steady for the past month. His behavior and appetite are normal, but the panda team wanted to take a closer look as an extra precaution.
“Dr. Don Neiffer performs acupuncture on Tian Tian during a full veterinary exam. The acupuncture may help improve Tian Tian’s overall muscle tone.” (Photo: Roshan Patel/Smithsonian’s National Zoo)
During the exam, veterinarians also took the opportunity to perform acupuncture and laser treatment–both are complementary treatments. (more…)
Photo of Mandara & Kibibi back in 2009 by PoPville flickr user Pablo Raw
From the Smithsonian’s National Zoo:
“For the first time in nine years, primate staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are making preparations for the highly anticipated birth of a critically endangered western lowland gorilla. With a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP), the parents to be–15-year-old female Calaya and 25-year-old male silverback Baraka–bred in summer 2017. Animal care staff used a common human pregnancy test to confirm that Calaya had successfully conceived. They are cautiously optimistic that she will deliver a healthy baby between late March and early May, 2018. However, just as with any animal pregnancy, there is a possibility that miscarriage, stillbirth or a complication could occur. The Zoo will provide weekly updates on Calaya’s pregnancy through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GorillaStory.
Calaya. Photo Credit: Ann Batdorf, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
“It is a rare and exciting event that we will soon have not one, but two, primate infants at the Great Ape House,” said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates. “Both Redd, our 1-year-old Bornean orangutan infant, and this western lowland gorilla belong to species that are critically endangered in the wild. Our growing primate family gives us an opportunity to highlight the differences between the biology, development and social nature of these amazing animals and inspire Zoo visitors to care about their conservation.”
Calaya came to the Zoo in February 2015 from the Woodland Park Zoo. (more…)
via Smithsonian’s National Zoo
From the National Zoo yesterday:
“The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is transporting its 9-week-old male Sumatran tiger cub to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where he will live and thrive with another young male tiger cub. Southwest Airlines is providing the transportation for Zoo staff and the cub on the non-stop flight, which departed at 8:25 a.m. EDT from Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Maryland. The Zoo will be sharing moments of the cub’s journey to San Diego on Instagram (@SmithsonianZoo) using “#TigerStory.” The San Diego Zoo Safari Park received a male tiger cub (genetic lineage unknown) Aug. 23 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found the cub while inspecting a vehicle that was entering the United States from Mexico. Due to legal restrictions, that cub is not permitted to leave California.
Since Aug. 2, the Zoo’s Great Cats team had been providing support to the Sumatran tiger cub born July 11 through supplemental feeding. When he was just 19 days old, his mother Damai began displaying aggressive behaviors toward him whenever he tried to nurse. It quickly became evident to animal care staff that Damai was either not producing enough milk or had stopped production altogether. (more…)
Photo by PoPville flickr user Brian Mosley
Calm down Dan. The important thing to note is that:
“Beginning Aug. 18, the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat will be partially closed to keep a quiet area around panda Mei Xiang’s den.”
However, given how much joy a real pregnancy/baby panda would bring – I’m gonna treat this like buying a Powerball lottery ticket – until those numbers are drawn – I’m a multi-multi-millionaire in my mind. Hello baby panda!!!
More from the National Zoo:
“Although we are not able to confirm if she is pregnant, Mei Xiang is exhibiting expected and normal behaviors after the secondary hormone rise that are in line with both a pregnancy and pseudo or false pregnancy. She is building a nest in her den, has a decreased appetite, is sleeping more and reacting to loud noises. Paws-crossed! (more…)
“Red panda cubs stay in their nests for about 4 months, but our keepers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute take them out occasionally for a few minutes at a time to weigh them and make sure they are healthy. Moonlight’s cub weighed in at 434 grams. Nutmeg’s two cubs weighed in at 413 grams and 316 grams.”
Thanks to a reader for sending on Sunday – I love these shots:
“Bornean orangutan Batang (19 years) crosses the O Line at the Smithsonian National Zoo with baby Redd (9 months).”