Don’t be put off by Fofo’s prickly appearance! As his name implies, Smithsonian National Zoo's 8-week-old prehensile-tailed porcupette is as “cute” as can be! Get to know Fofo in this Q+A with Small Mammal House keepers Maria Montgomery and Mimi Nowlin.
If you tune into the National Zoo's Cheetah Cub Cam, you might see one or two cubs playing in the den. The cubs are starting to play independently. When cheetah biologist, Adrienne Crosier, tuned into the cam in mid-January, she witnessed this female cub rolling around and having a ball in the den all on her own.
Prehensile-tailed porcupines, like Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s 2-week-old porcupette, are born with the ability to climb! At birth, their quills are soft, but they harden within minutes. The name prehensile means “capable of grasping”; the underside of its tail lacks quills, allowing the porcupine to grip branches with this appendage and navigate the forest canopy with ease.
New year, new Xiao Qi Ji! In January 2021, Smithsonian National Zoo's giant panda cub was a little wary during his first encounter with snow. This morning, the 16-month-old plowed face-first into the fresh powder, rolled around and relished the year's first SnowDay. His belly-sliding skills are 10/10!
Sherman, The Smithsonian National Zoo’s screaming hairy armadillo, goes *wild* for enrichment toys! Magical moments like these happen here every day, inspiring awe and “aww.” Donate today, and your gift will be matched up to $20,000—that’s twice the support to care for National Zoo’s amazing animal ambassadors, like Sherman. ❤️🎁 GIVE A GIFT TO THE ANIMALS: https://s.si.edu/3kVqKSJ. . . . #GivingTuesday #WeSaveSpecies #GivingZooDay
For The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji, it's been a wild year filled with sweet snuggles, playful pounces and adorable adventures. Shop Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s "Best of Xiao Qi Ji" collection and share the gift of pure panda joy. SHOP + SAVE ANIMALS: https://s.si.edu/30eOz00.
Video Courtesy of Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
Carnivore keepers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, welcomed a litter of five cheetah cubs today. Five-year-old female Rosalie birthed the cubs at 5:20 a.m., 8:24 a.m., 9:42 a.m., 10:33 a.m and 11:17 a.m. ET. The family can be viewed via the Cheetah Cub Cam https://nationalzoo.si.edu/webcams/cheetah-cub-cam. Ten-year-old Nick, who was the first cheetah born at SCBI, sired this litter. Animal care staff will leave Rosalie to bond with and care for her cubs without interference, so it may be some time before they can determine the cubs' sexes. The cubs appear to be strong, active, vocal and eating well. Keepers will perform a health check on the cubs when Rosalie is comfortable leaving them for an extended period of time.
Staff are closely monitoring Rosalie and her cubs’ behaviors via webcam. Virtual visitors can observe Rosalie and her cubs on this temporary platform until the cubs leave the den. Keepers provided Rosalie with access to multiple dens, so it is possible she may move the cubs to an off-camera location.
"Seeing Rosalie successfully care for this litter—her first—with confidence is very rewarding," said Adrienne Crosier, cheetah reproductive biologist at SCBI and head of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Cheetah Species Survival Plan. "Being able to witness the first moments of a cheetah’s life is incredibly special. As webcam viewers watch our cheetah family grow, play and explore their surroundings, we hope the experience brings them joy and helps them feel a deeper connection to this vulnerable species."
SCBI is part of the Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition—a group of 10 cheetah breeding centers across the United States that aim to create and maintain a sustainable North American cheetah population under human care. These cubs are a significant addition to the Cheetah SSP, as each individual contributes to this program.
The SSP scientists determine which animals to breed by considering their genetic makeup, health and temperament, among other factors. Rosalie and Nick were paired and bred July 9 and 10. Keepers trained Rosalie to voluntarily participate in ultrasounds, and SCBI veterinarians confirmed her pregnancy Aug. 16. Since 2007, 16 litters of cheetah cubs have been born at SCBI.
Cheetahs live in small, isolated populations mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of their strongholds are in eastern and southern African parks. Due to human conflict, poaching and habitat and prey-base loss, there are only an estimated 7,000 to 7,500 cheetahs left in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers cheetahs vulnerable to extinction.
The Zoo’s legacy of conservation work extends beyond the public Zoo in Washington, D.C., to SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia. Scientists at SCBI study and breed more than 20 species, including some that were once extinct in the wild, such as black-footed ferrets and scimitar-horned oryx. Animals thrive in specialized barns and building complexes spread over more than 3,200 acres. The sprawling environment allows for unique studies that contribute to the survival of threatened, difficult-to-breed species with distinct needs, especially those requiring large areas, natural group sizes and minimal public disturbance.
SCBI spearheads research programs at its headquarters in Virginia, the Zoo in Washington, D.C., and at field research stations and training sites worldwide. SCBI scientists tackle some of today’s most complex conservation challenges by applying and sharing what they learn about animal behavior and reproduction, ecology, genetics, migration and conservation sustainability.
Yesterday, Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Biology Institute celebrated their cheetah cubs’ first birthdays!
On April 8, 2020, female cheetah Echo gave birth to four healthy cubs.
The birth was livestreamed on the Zoo’s website.
Cheetah Biologist Adrienne Croiser said of the past year, “I hope you learned a lot about cheetahs along the way.
Cheetahs face a lot of challenges in the wild, but I think that the more people can connect with and come to understand animals in a personal way, the more they feel inspired to take action and be part of the solution.”