The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is a leader in animal care & conservation biology. #WeSaveSpecies
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❤️🌊 Look who's making a splash behind the scenes at American Trail...our sea lion #pup! Check out the latest 'pupdate' from animal keeper Sam Milne. 📰 KEEPER UPDATE: https://s.si.edu/2z3WOLH. (Link in bio.)
💤 🐵 As the Zoo’s great apes prepare to go to sleep, they make their beds, then settle in. Just like their wild counterparts, orangutans in zoos build cozy nests! Where an orangutan chooses to snooze at night can give keepers insight into their social preferences. CURATOR Q&A: https://s.si.edu/2NUTdFA. (Link in bio.) #InternationalOrangutanDay
🦖NOW EXTENDED through Labor Day weekend! Come see Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live and get your photo taken with a baby dino. Buy your 🎟️at the Zoo or online! . . . . .
Happy #InternationalOrangutanDay! 🐵💻 Let’s play a game…for science! With a tap of the touch-screen computer, our orangutans try their memories at matching pictures. These games are more than just enrichment. They also help scientists study the apes’ metacognition! 🧠 RESEARCH Q&A: https://s.si.edu/2SN1xJb. (Link in bio.)
❤️🐵 Tomorrow, Aug. 19, our orangutans will receive some special enrichment toys + treats in honor of #InternationalOrangutanDay! 🕰 Don't miss a fun keeper chat at Think Tank at 10:15 a.m. and exciting enrichment at the Great Ape House at 11 a.m. 👋 MEET OUR ANIMALS: https://s.si.edu/2h3CN1W.
If female oangers were to have a catch phrase, it would be “there’s safety in numbers.” Onagers form herds just like all equine species, which in the open arid grasslands of central Asia gives them and their foals protection against predators. Their herds are made up of loose hierarchical systems. They form tight bonds and will stay close to their buddies—it’s almost like the sisterhood of the traveling onagers.
Even though Persian onagers are a herd species and prefer to live in groups, they don’t have a “hive” mind, they each have distinct personalities! Keepers get to know their personalities and preferences very well.
Yasmin is the fearless leader of our herd at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. She is a stubborn, protective, easily excitable and vocal 14-year-old mare (a female). She is always the first one to greet the keepers in the morning.
Farah is our “Miss Independent.” Even though she is the youngest in the herd, we often find Farah out on her own—or at least she tries to be, but her sidekick Dorri doesn’t let her go far.
Dorri is Farah’s shadow and likes to be at her best friend’s side at all times. Seven-year-old Dorri lets Farah take the lead when it comes to new things, even though Farah is younger than her.
Zaria is our oldest mare. She is 16 years old and her life experience shows in her laid back attitude.
Finally, there is Sayeh! She is always last to come up for biscuits, but we make sure she gets her fair share when we are training. Sayeh is 11 years old and she recently gave birth to her first foal August 1.
#PersianOnager #NotaHorse #NotaDonkey
🐂❤️ Welcome, Willow! This "udderly" adorable 10-month-old Hereford calf arrived at the Kids' Farm this week. She's been getting up to some "amoosing" antics with our 16-year-old Hereford heifer Rose 🐂 and 1-year-old female Holstein calf, Magnolia, at the barnyard habitat. 🐄 Come meet them all!
LEARN MORE: https://s.si.edu/2TAZz0H. (Link in bio.)
🦙🥕 “We examine our animals’ health on a regular basis and look for certain characteristics that help us determine how they are feeling. Are their eyes bright and clear? Do they have any nasal discharge? Is their personality consistent with how they normally act, or is it “off” a bit? I do positive reinforcement training sessions with our alpacas, Orion and Cirrus. I will give them a cue to put their nose up to my nose and ask them to 'target.' If they do this behavior, I reward them with a treat. In this photo, their treats are carrot slices. If they choose not to participate in the training, they are free to walk away. Because of the nature of this training, I have to be on my toes and aware of their movements at all times. To build a trusting relationship with them, we practice the “target” behavior on a daily basis.” – John “JT” Taylor, animal keeper, Kids’ Farm
🐼🎉 By the end of August #BeiBei will be another year older! He will receive a panda-friendly frozen 🍰cake specially made by the Zoo’s Department of Nutrition Science the morning of Aug. 22. Visit the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat to celebrate with us.
Now that Bei Bei is turning four years old, he will move to China as stipulated in our breeding agreement. Transporting an animal thousands of miles takes a considerable amount of time and effort to plan. The process is well underway which includes working with other federal agencies, researching travel logistics, coordinating with colleagues in China, and preparing Bei Bei for the move. We don’t have an exact date for Bei Bei’s move, but it will occur in the coming months. We will share more details as soon as they are finalized, and everyone will have time to visit and celebrate Bei Bei before his departure.
How do you study something as vast and diverse as the #AmericanPrairie? With📷 camera traps!
We know that animals select where to live based on their needs — such as food, shelter or safe passage — and their preferences change throughout the year.
Understanding how human activity affects wildlife is important for land managers, because once we understand the problems we can think of ways to mitigate and manage them. Learning how animals interact — whether as predator and prey, or as species competing for the same resources — is also key.
Animals have routines. Some species are diurnal (active during the day), others are nocturnal (active during dark hours) and some are crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn). What we need is a method that can capture mammal activity at all hours of the day and for a few weeks at a time. That’s where camera traps come in.
A camera trap is a small device triggered by a motion detector. Every time something that omits a heat signature (like a mule deer or an elk) moves in front of the camera, it snaps a picture. And a picture can tell us a lot about an animal — like its age and sex, what time of day it visits a specific place and whether it travels alone or with a group.
Camera traps help us study mammals continuously for long periods of time. They have the added benefit of working while we’re not in the field, with minimum disturbance to wildlife.
They also help answer the questions. Does human activity impact how a mammal spends its time? Does an animal’s circadian rhythm (the internal clock that regulates when it sleeps and wakes) change in response to changes in land use?
In the forest we can easily mount cameras on trees, but in the grasslands it’s a bit trickier. Some animals are attracted to foreign objects that stick out, so we try to keep the cameras low to the ground. We even camouflage them so wildlife doesn’t get too curious.
The data we collect will tell us how habitat selection, seasonality and grazing management affects wildlife, as well as how different animals impact each other.
#Montana #Pronghorn #CameraTrap #Ecology #Prairie #Grasslands
👀 With a sleek, eel-like body and beady eyes, the aquatic caecilian is quite an unusual amphibian!
Many amphibians can exchange oxygen through their skin via a specialized membrane, but caecilians do not. Their skin is quite thick, and they must come to the surface to take breaths of air. Adults can hold their breath 20 to 30 minutes at a time. 👋 Visit these wiggly wonders in Amazonia!
We welcomed an endangered Persian onager #foal Aug. 1 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virignia! He/she is doing well and nursing from mom, 11-year-old Sayeh. Sayeh is very protective of him/her and keeps him close. Keepers suspect the foal is a male, but Sayeh has been reluctant to let them get close enough to confirm.
Persian onagers are Asiatic wild asses native to central Asia. There are only 400 left in the wild. A the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute we study their reproduction and are building a self-sustaining population in human care.
#PersianOnager #WeSaveSpecies #NotaHorse #NotaDonkey
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