PHOTOS: Two New Giant Pandas Coming to the National Zoo

Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C. will welcome two giant pandas from China at the end of the year! The pandas, Bao Li [BOW-lee] and Qing Bao [ching-BOW], are both two years old.

Bao Li: Giant panda coming to National Zoo

Two-year-old male giant panda Bao Li in his habitat at Shenshuping Base in Wolong, China, May 16. Photo credit: Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

Qing Bao: Giant panda arriving at National Zoo

Two-year-old female giant panda Qing Bao in her habitat at Dujiangyan Base in Sichuan, China May 17. Photo credit: Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

The pandas will be transported from China on a special flight provided by FedEx. Once they arrive, they will be quarantined (housed behind-the-scenes) for at least 30 days to prevent the spread of disease and to allow the pandas to get used to their new environment.

For more information about Bao Li and Qing Bao, visit the National Zoo website. For more information about giant pandas, see our article, Giant Panda.

Bao Li: Giant panda coming to National Zoo from China.

Bao Li in his habitat at Shenshuping Base in Wolong, China, May 16. Photo credit: Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

Qing Bao: Giant panda coming to National Zoo

Qing Bao at Dujiangyan Base in Sichuan, China May 17. Photo credit: Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

PHOTOS: New Giraffe Addition to Oakland Zoo

New giraffe at Oakland Zoo. Credit: Oakland Zoo.

A new 13-month giraffe arrived at the Oakland Zoo. Photo credit: Oakland Zoo.

The Oakland Zoo welcomed a new addition to their reticulated giraffe herd. A 13-month old male giraffe, from Audobon Nature Institute in Louisiana, traveled to California in a specially-designed carrier to accommodate his 10-foot height.

Giraffe in specially-designed carrier. Photo by Oakland Zoo.

The giraffe traveled from Louisiana to California in a specially-designed carrier to accommodate his 10-foot height. Photo by Oakland Zoo.

The new giraffe is getting comfortable in his new home, and the zoo has provided different forms of enrichment, bedding, and plants to eat to see what he prefers. He is getting used to the sights, sounds, and smells of the other giraffes in the herd through a fence for now. When the animal care team thinks he’s ready, he will join his herdmates in the African Savanna giraffe habitat.

Giraffe at Oakland Zoo. Photo by Oakland Zoo.

The giraffe is getting comfortable in his new home. When the animal care team thinks he’s ready, he will join his herdmates in the African Savanna giraffe habitat. Photo by Oakland Zoo.

The Oakland Zoo supports the Reticulated Giraffe Project, which aims to learn more about and conserve reticulated giraffe populations in the wild. The reticulated giraffe population has declined by 50% in the past 35 years, and they are considered endangered by the IUCN Redlist. To learn more about Oakland Zoo’s conservation efforts, visit their website.

To learn more about giraffes, see our Giraffe page.

AWW! Lion Cubs at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Lion cubs at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Lion cubs Bahati, Jabari and Zawadi were born on October 4. Photo credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Visitors to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia can now view three baby lions as they romp and play with their older siblings and learn to roar with their mama. The cubs, Bahati, Jabari and Zawadi, were born on October 4, 2023 to mother Marion and father Lwazi.

Learn more about the cubs at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo website.

Lion cubs at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Photo credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Lion cub at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Photo credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Lion cub at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Photo credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

New Platypus Rescue Facility at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Mackenzie the platypus at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Mackenzie the platypus swims at the new platypus facility at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia. Photo credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia celebrated the opening of the largest purpose-built platypus rescue facility in the world. The new facility will be able to house up to 65 platypuses rescued from natural disasters like bushfires or drought.

Visitors to the zoo will also be able to see a 23 year-old male platypus, named Mackenzie, who was brought in from Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

For more information, see the Taronga Western Plains Zoo website. To learn more about platypuses, see our article, Platypus.

Mackenzie is a 23 year-old male platypus.

Mackenzie is a 23 year-old male platypus. Photo credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Oakland Zoo Cares for Rescued Tiger Cub

Rescued female tiger receiving extended care at the Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital; Photo Credit Oakland Zoo

A rescued female tiger cub is receiving extended care at the Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital. Photo credit: Oakland Zoo.

The Oakland Zoo is caring for and treating a female tiger cub rescued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The cub was rescued from a private facility where she had sustained multiple bone fractures due to malnutrition. Because the bone fractures hadn’t been treated properly at the facility, some had healed at abnormal angles.

Now in the zoo’s care, the cub was examined and given nutritional supplements and pain medication. Once her bones build up enough calcium, zoo veterinarians and surgeons will determine the next stage of treatment in her healing journey.

“Seeing this young tiger enduring such obvious suffering is extremely difficult…no animal should experience life in this way. We are grateful to serve in a role that gives her hope for brighter days ahead”, says Nik Dehejia, CEO of Oakland Zoo.

For more information, visit the Oakland Zoo website.

Dr. Alex Herman, VP of Veterinary Services, and Dr. Ryan Sadler, Senior Veterinarian at Oakland Zoo, examining a CT scan of the rescued tiger; Photo Credit Oakland Zoo

Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital staff performing a thorough examination of the rescued tiger. Photo credit: Oakland Zoo.

Dr. Alex Herman, VP of Veterinary Services, and Dr. Ryan Sadler, Senior Veterinarian at Oakland Zoo, examining a CT scan of the rescued tiger. Photo Credit Oakland Zoo.

Dr. Alex Herman, VP of Veterinary Services, and Dr. Ryan Sadler, Senior Veterinarian at Oakland Zoo, examining a CT scan of the rescued tiger. Photo credit: Oakland Zoo.

Rescued Manatees Returned to Wild

Manatee Release (Squirrel)

Squirrel, the manatee, on his way back to Florida waters. Photo by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

The Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership released five orphaned manatees to Blue Spring State Park in Florida. Blue Spring State Park is home to a spring that stays a constant 22°C (72°F). These warm waters provide a refuge to hundreds of manatees during the winter months.

The five manatees had originally been rescued as calves in 2020 or 2021. Over the past few years, they were treated and rehabilitated by a partnership of organizations, including SeaWorld Orlando, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Brevard Zoo, Georgia Aquarium, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Save the Manatee Club.

The manatees were fitted with GPS tracking devices so their progress can be monitored.

For more information, see the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership website.

Manatee Release (Squirrel)

Squirrel, the manatee, being examined and measured before being released into the waters at Blue Spring State Park in Florida. Photo by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

Clank the manatee

Clank, the manatee, being carried on a tarp toward the water at Blue Spring State Park in Florida. When he was rescued as a calf, he weighed 58 kg (128 lb.) He now weighs 329 kg (725 lb.). Photo by Save the Manatee Club.

Clank the manatee getting released

Clank, the manatee, getting released at Blue Spring State Park in Florida. Photo by Save the Manatee Club.

Manatees

The five orphaned manatees were released into the water at Blue Spring State Park in Florida. This spring is home to hundreds of manatees because it stays a constant 22°C (72°F). Photo by Amanda Carberry, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

PHOTOS: Baby Monkeys at San Diego Zoo

Baby squirrel monkeys at San Diego Zoo

Baby squirrel monkeys at the San Diego Zoo. Photo credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Lots of monkeying around happening at the San Diego Zoo these days! The zoo is celebrating the birth of four baby monkeys: two squirrel monkeys – one born Nov. 27 and one born Nov. 28, a Schmidt’ red-tailed monkey born Nov. 11, and a DeBrazza’s monkey born Oct. 28.

The babies and mamas are doing well, and guests to the zoo can now view them in their habitats.

For more information, visit the San Diego Zoo website.

Baby red-tailed monkey and mama at the San Diego Zoo.

Baby Schmidt’s red-tailed monkey and mama at the San Diego Zoo. Photo credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Baby red-tailed monkey at the San Diego Zoo.

Baby Schmidt’s red-tailed monkey at the San Diego Zoo. Photo credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Baby DeBrazza’s monkey and mama at the San Diego Zoo

Baby DeBrazza’s monkey and mama at the San Diego Zoo. Photo credit: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

VIDEO: Rare White Rhino Calf Born at the Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo was thrilled to welcome a new baby white rhino on December 28. Mother Sabi is doing well as a first-time mom, keeping close watch of her calf and keeping him clean.

Sabi and her newborn calf at the Toronto Zoo

Sabi and her newborn calf at the Toronto Zoo. Photo credit: Toronto Zoo.

Sabi and her newborn calf at the Toronto Zoo.

Photo credit: Toronto Zoo.

White rhinoceroses are considered Near Threatened by the IUCN, with their numbers decreasing in the wild. Toronto Zoo participates in a conservation breeding program to maintain genetically diverse populations of white rhinos.

For more information, see the Toronto Zoo website.

Scientific Breakthrough for Critically Endangered Starfish Recovery

Sunflower starfish

The sunflower sea star is now critically endangered due to a mysterious illness called sea star wasting syndrome. But researchers have made a breakthrough for their recovery. Photo credit: Marco Mazza/Courtesy of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

A mysterious disease called sea star wasting syndrome decimated 95% of the sunflower sea star population in 2013. Since then scientists have been working to learn more about the disease and figure out ways to save the sunflower sea star from extinction.

For the first time, researchers with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s reproductive sciences team, in collaboration with Sunflower Star Laboratory and Dr. Jason Hodin, senior scientist at Friday Harbor Laboratories were able to hatch dozens of baby sunflower sea stars using cryopreservation technology.

Cryopreservation is the process by which live tissues and cells are frozen in order to keep them for an extended amount of time. In this case, the researchers successfully froze sunflower sea star sperm, thawed it and fertilized eggs that developed into larvae.

According to Nicole Ravida, laboratory manager for San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance,  “Cryopreservation is one method reproductive scientists can contribute to the preservation of gene diversity in sunflower sea star populations.”

The researchers believe maintaining gene diversity is the best way for sea stars to adapt to future stressors.

To learn more about this scientific sea star breakthrough, visit the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance website.

To learn more about starfish, read our Starfish article.