The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is a leader in animal care & conservation biology. #WeSaveSpecies
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is a leader in animal care & conservation biology. #WeSaveSpecies
We are sad to share that Clint, our elderly Mariana crow at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute has died. He was 25 years old and he was the only Mariana crow living outside of Rota Island, the only place the birds are found in the wild. The Mariana crow is a critically endangered species endemic to Guam and Rota and is the only member of the corvid family in Micronesia. Invasive brown tree snakes, accidentally introduced to Guam during the 1950s, have hunted Mariana crows and many other birds, bats and reptiles on Guam to extinction. The last remaining 150 Mariana crows now live only on Rota, which is free of brown tree snakes. The Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources (DAWR ) works with partners around the world, including SCBI, to repopulate Mariana crows. Clint moved to SCBI, in 1995 as part of a recovery effort to save the species from extinction. In 1997 all Mariana crows living on the mainland U.S. were moved to Guam due to the threat from West Nile Virus. Corvids, which are birds that include crows and ravens, are extremely susceptible to West Nile Virus. Due to strict biosecurity precautions and requirements, Clint could not return to the Mariana Islands. After Clint’s companion, Russell, died in 2010, Clint began seeking out more interaction with his keepers and other staff. As a result, he imprinted on humans. Clint enjoyed multiple visits every day from staff, interns, volunteers and students who stopped by his outdoor enclosure. He was well known at SCBI for his playfulness, and would often bring sticks, leaves, or his favorite enrichment toys to the mesh of his enclosure for visitors to see. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute specializes in species management, propagation, research and reintroduction of birds native to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. #WeSaveSpecies #MarianaCrow #Guam #Ornithology
👋🐵 Hey hey, meet the titi monkeys! When Henderson and Kingston are trying to locate one another in our Amazonia rainforest, they make several unique sounds.👂 Henderson’s call often begins as a high-pitched “squeak” and transitions into a deeper “wok-wok” vocalization. Kingston also squeaks, but her tone is a bit softer than Henderson’s is. 🕐 KEEPER TALKS: http://s.si.edu/2h3CN1W.
❤️🐆 Show your love and help save species this #ValentinesDay : adopt a clouded leopard cub for your sweetie! Get the purrrfect gift: https://s.si.edu/3aCysuh. (Link in bio. )
🤔 What’s (sometimes ) striped and prowls forest floors? The barred tiger salamander! 🦎 This species can live in all sorts of North American biomes, from forests to grasslands and deserts. Depending on where they're from, they can have black, brown, grey or yellow skin. Like their namesake feline, they can sport some striking stripes...and spots! 👋 Meet them at Amazonia! 🕐 KEEPER TALKS: http://s.si.edu/2h3CN1W.
Who runs the world? Squirrels! 🐿️ It’s #SquirrelAppreciationDay , so go nuts over these fun facts about the Prevost’s squirrel: https://s.si.edu/2NHsX3x (link in bio )
🦙 Alpacas have no upper front teeth! Instead, they use their lower teeth and upper jaw to munch their diet of grass and hay. 🌾However, adult male alpacas develop fighting teeth or fangs that can be more than an inch long. 👋 Visit our friendly alpacas Orion and Cirrus at the Kids’ Farm!
🔬Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI ) have preserved complex ovarian tissues in domestic cats above freezing temperatures by dehydrating them with the help of microwaves. Over the past five years, scientists have been able to successfully dehydrate single cells, but this is the first time it has been done in ovarian tissues, which contain thousands of different cells with various functions, including eggs at the early developmental stage. Researchers adapted the concept from invertebrate species that survive dry conditions or drought by producing trehalose in their cells. Trehalose is a natural sugar that forms a stable and protective glass within and around the cells when water content gets very low. Mammalian tissues do not have the same capacity, therefore researchers ‘infused’ the tissues with a solution of trehalose. Once they made sure that trehalose had permeated the cells, scientists then progressively removed water from the tissue samples by microwaving without damaging them. The tissues could then be stored above freezing temperatures at 4 degrees Celsius. Scientists were able to rehydrate the samples by simply adding water back to them. Ongoing studies are focusing on the tissue resilience and refinement of the technique. Scientists have been preserving gonadal tissues, sperm, eggs and embryos for decades by freezing them in liquid nitrogen tanks or specialized freezers, then thawing the samples when they want to use them. However, liquid nitrogen is expensive and needs to be replenished regularly. If samples were dried and stored at room temperatures, many more scientists around the world could easily preserve reproductive tissues of endangered species. Those tissues could be used to produce gametes and create embryos, which would increase genetic diversity in very small populations. The findings also could also one day help human cancer patients. Female cancer patients could store their own dehydrated ovarian tissues while they are receiving treatment (much more convenient and less expensive than frozen storage ) and use those tissues for procedures like IVF after cancer treatment. #WeSaveSpecies
🦌 As they approach their first birthday, male lesser kudu calves begin to sprout their horn buds—the beginnings of those awesome, 3.5 ft.-long spiral horns. 👀 Check out 1 y.o. Kushukuru's horns as he spars with his 3 m.o. brother! ✏️ KUDU Q+A: s.si.edu/38pfWUP. (Link in bio. )!
🎉🐲 Happy Appreciate a Dragon Day! Komodo dragons' large, curved and serrated teeth are their deadliest weapon, tearing flesh with efficiency. The tooth serrations hold bits of meat from its most recent meal, and this protein-rich residue supports large numbers of bacteria. 🦠🦷 Some 60 different bacterial strains have been found in the saliva. 👋 Meet Komodo dragon Murphy at the Reptile Discovery Center!
🦁 What's the trick to telling African lions Amahle, Naba and Shera apart? Take a close look at their noses! 👀👃 As lions get older, black dots begin to appear. Five-year-old Amahle's nose is still all pink, whereas Naba (15 y.o. ) and Shera’s (14 y.o. ) noses are almost all black. See them at the Great Cats habitat! 🕐 KEEPER TALKS: 11:30 a.m. + 1:30 p.m. http://s.si.edu/2h3CN1W
#MeiXiang and #TianTian have been having some adventures around the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat! Keepers have been utilizing the extra space in the giant panda habitats to switch outdoor yards and indoor enclosures on a regular basis. This allows Mei and Tian a change of scenery by spending the day in a different area, but more importantly, it creates an extremely important enrichment opportunity, mirroring what wild giant pandas are doing this time of year. From November through May, males are in rut and explore every inch of their territories, searching for a fertile female. During rut, males can become quite restless because of their endless searching and surging hormones. Tian Tian is no different and he has days when he can’t seem to settle, despite multiple feedings and enrichment opportunities. Although they are mostly solitary animals, giant pandas do communicate with other pandas through scent. Scent marks convey a lot of valuable information to and from panda neighbors. It communicates the sex, age and reproductive status of the panda who left it. As Mei Xiang and Tian Tian explore different yards, they spend much of their time smelling each other’s scent marks and leaving some of their own. Indoors, they have been exploring Bei Bei’s former enclosure, and Tian has even decided to nap in the elevated hammock. We were looking forward to the first measurable snowfall of the season and it finally arrived Jan. 7! Although Washington, D.C., got just under an inch of snow, it brought out the playful sides of both Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. The morning after the snowfall, they rolled down hills, climbed trees and dangled upside down out of the tree branches — just like they did in their younger years! #Pandas #PandaStory #WeSaveSpecies
The Guam rail, referred to locally as the ko'ko', was once a common bird with an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 birds in Guam during the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, the species was almost lost entirely due to predation by the invasive brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis ). After being extinct in the wild for more than 30 years, the birds are living on snake free islands and their status has been upgraded to critically endangered! There are no large snakes native to Guam, so the birds, or avifauna, that lived there did not stand a chance against the arboreal predators. In a relatively short time period, the snake spread across the island and wiped out 10 of the 12 species of forest birds, several of which were endemic. The brown tree snake also caused the disappearance of six of 11 native lizards and two of three native bat species. Guam’s birds are like gardeners. As they move through the forest, they disperse the seeds of the fruit and plants they consume. When the birds began disappearing, so did the forest. There is now less diversity in the species of trees that grow and the forests are thinning. Although trees have suffered, spider populations have exploded because there are no birds to prey upon the insects. The effort to save the Guam rail began in the early 1980s when biologists from Guam’s Department of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources captured the last 17 birds to start a breeding and recovery program. One of the first transfers of birds from Guam to the mainland United States occurred in 1985, when 12 birds were brought to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. The first bird releases on Rota, which does not have brown tree snakes, were in 1989 to 1990. Now there are around 200 birds living on the island, and more importantly, they are producing their own offspring. Though it may seem like 200 Guam rails in the wild is not very many, they symbolize hope for the species. Guam DAWR and their partners will continue to work with the 170 birds still in human care to hatch more chicks that will be candidates for release on Rota and Cocos Islands. #Guam #GuamRail #Koko #Birds #WeSaveSpecies #EarthOptimism
🚫👂 🐍 Hissing isn't just for snakes. It's also for sunbitterns! When threatened, this bird lets out a low hiss and stretches out its wings and tail to intimidate its foe. 👋 Meet our sunbittern pair in Amazonia's rainforest habitat! 🕐 KEEPER TALKS: s.si.edu/2h3CN1W.
🐍 What is the scaly horn at the tip of the rhinoceros snake's snout for? Nobody "nose!" 👃 Like other snakes, it breathes through two nostrils and uses its tongue to carry scent particles to the Jacobson’s organ (a patch of sensory cells ) to “taste” the air. 👅 👋 See this snake at the Reptile Discovery Center! KEEPER TALKS: 11 a.m. + 3 p.m. s.si.edu/2h3CN1W
🐼❤️🐼 Woo. Date. Mate. Come to Woo at the Zoo on #ValentinesDay , Feb. 14, from 7 to 10 p.m. to learn all about dating, mating and procreating in the animal kingdom! Mark your calendar: tickets go on sale Thursday, Jan. 16 for non-members. 😏👋 (Psst, Friends of the National Zoo Members: get your tix today! 🎟️ https://s.si.edu/2QQ2KAC ) Link in bio.
🦅❤️ Happy #SaveTheEaglesDay ! While bald eagles Tioga and Annie look on from their perching, American Trail keepers collect their molted feathers. The United States has very specific regulations concerning our national symbol, and molted feathers must be collected and sent to the National Eagle Repository at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado. The repository distributes feathers from bald and golden eagles to Native American nations for religious and cultural purposes.
🥛🍪 Milk and cookies are a classic combo. For researchers at the Zoo’s nutrition laboratory, so are milk and science! Find out what scientists can learn by studying animal milks. ✏️ BLOG: s.si.edu/35JJAT8. (Link in bio. ) 📧 Get #science in your inbox: s.si.edu/2uJxYh1.
🐵 👋 Meet Coco! He is our new golden-headed lion tamarin. He arrived from the Fort Worth Zoo and is a companion for Bahia. Although golden-headed lion tamarins live in family groups and form life-long pair bonds, Coco and Bahia are not a breeding pair. But you can still see them jumping from branch to branch, sharing food and vocalizing to each other, which helps them maintain their pair bond. Golden-headed lion tamarins are native to Brazil. These tiny monkeys, weighing a little more than 1 pound, live in the forest canopy of the Atlantic Coastal Forest where they can cover a lot of territory despite their small statures. As they traverse branches, they disperse seeds throughout the forest. #GoldenHeadedLionTamarin #Tamarin #Monkey #WeSaveSpecies
🐻❤️🐻 Our Andean bear duo, Billie Jean + Quito, had quite an eventful 2019! In her latest update, keeper Sara Colandrea shares why she has reason to be hopeful for what 2020 holds for these charismatic bears. ✏️KEEPER UPDATE: https://s.si.edu/2N0EKJQ. (Link in bio. ) 📧 Get animals in your inbox! Sign up for Zoo news: https://s.si.edu/2uJxYh1.
🌳🐵 Swing into the new year with an animal that knows a thing or two about swinging: gibbons! Get to know Sydney, Ronnie and Bradley in primate keeper Carly Hornberger's update. 👋 MEET OUR GIBBONS: https://s.si.edu/2SUpSR7. (Link in bio. ) ❤️ Love animals? 📧 Get them in your inbox! Sign up for Zoo News: https://s.si.edu/2uJxYh1.
🌳👀 What’s that rustle in the trees behind the Reptile Discovery Center? Look up, or you may miss the Zoo’s stealthy male crocodile monitor hiding among the branches! 🦎 Get the scoop on this cool cold-blooded giant from assistant curator Matt Evans. ✏️Q+A: https://s.si.edu/36u4gPp. (Link in bio. )
💦 Harbor seals can dive 500 ft.+ deep and hold their breath for over half an hour. For long and deep dives, they can slow their heart rates from upwards of 80 beats per minute to as few as three or four! 💓 👋 Visit Luke and Rabbit on American Trail! s.si.edu/2h3CN1W