July 7, 2007 |
The National Zoo won't be hearing oohs and aahs over a new panda cub this year. Zoo officials said that the giant panda Mei Xiang was not pregnant after all. Her hormone levels had soared after she was artificially inseminated, then dropped, signaling a cub could be born. But an ultrasound showed no fetus, and zoo officials determined she wasn't pregnant. False pregnancies are common in pandas, and Mei Xiang has had four. Her only cub, Tai Shan, turns 2 on Monday.
November 23, 2006 |
Citing safety concerns, officials with the National Zoo have decided to ban smoking at the facility beginning Dec. 1. Smoking was already prohibited in zoo buildings, and keepers were not allowed to smoke in animal areas. The new policy bans smoking outdoors as well, including on public walkways.
July 10, 2006 |
The National Zoo celebrated the first birthday of giant panda Tai Shan by making him a giant "fruitsicle," a frozen melange of apples, yams, carrots and fruit juices, a favorite of his mother's but a first for the cub. "He's like a rambunctious little toddler that loves to get into everything," said Dr. Suzan Murray, the zoo's chief veterinarian. The 56-pound cub still nurses, but has started eating bamboo, the staple for adults.
January 26, 2006 |
The National Zoo euthanized a 40-year-old Asian elephant following what officials called a dramatic decline in her physical condition and quality of life. The elephant, named Toni, had a long history of arthritis resulting from a 1989 leg injury. John Berry, the zoo's director, and his staff decided the time was right to euthanize her. "Her discomfort outweighed her happy moments, and there was nothing more we could do for Toni," he said.
December 9, 2005 |
The National Zoo's 5-month-old panda cub, Tai Shan, has already become a big draw for the park, even though Thursday was the first time ticket-holders were able to see him in person. The public has logged more than 7 million hits on the zoo's "panda cam" website, and sales of panda-related merchandise at the zoo have soared. "We've added about 30 new panda items since Tai Shan was born in July," said Matt Olear, a spokesman for Friends of the National Zoo, which operates concessions.
November 30, 2005 |
The hottest celebrity in the nation's capital made his first appearance before the world media Tuesday, engaging in a charm offensive that would put vote-seeking politicians to shame. As cameras flashed and hearts melted, Tai Shan, the National Zoo's 4 1/2 -month-old giant panda cub, strutted and wobbled around his glass enclosure.
October 18, 2005 |
He's only 100 days old, and already panda Tai Shan has his face on T-shirts at the National Zoo, after a naming ceremony punctuated by drumbeats, a clanging gong and Chinese lion dancers. Tai Shan, which means "peaceful mountain," got his name according to Chinese custom and as the result of an online contest in which more than 202,000 people voted.
October 17, 2005 |
The National Zoo's giraffe Jafari, who was operated on this month because of skin cancer, took a turn for the worse and was put to death, the zoo said. Veterinarians had not been optimistic after the operation. They were not able to remove the entire tumor. The zoo grounds were closed two hours early so the animal could be given a lethal injection in an outdoor yard where he lived.
August 25, 2005 |
The National Zoo on Wednesday announced a nationwide contest to choose the name of its giant panda cub. The China Wildlife Conservation Assn. and zoo officials selected five names to choose from, said Matt O'Lear, a spokesman for Friends of the National Zoo. One voter will be chosen at random to receive a trip for two to Washington and what zoo officials call a "private visit" with the giant panda family, among other prizes.
August 19, 2005 |
The National Zoo's giant panda cub had his third veterinary checkup, which found him in good health, weighing 4.2 pounds and measuring 17 inches. "A solid little Tonka truck," pronounced chief veterinarian Suzan Murray after the 14-minute exam. The cub had gained 1.6 pounds since his last physical on Aug. 8, and had grown nearly three inches. At birth, on July 9, the cub probably weighed a quarter of a pound and was only a few inches long. The cub's heart and lungs sounded healthy, Murray said.