Endangered species are being nurtured at the National Zoo and many new babies have been reported as being born in the past several weeks. The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and the Conservation Biology Institute are part of the Smithsonian Institution. They have taken up the call to help keep some endangered species from becoming extinct.
The Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846 by the United States government. The Smithsonian Institution consists of 19 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and there are satellite facilities in other areas of the nation. The museum houses many historical objects and artifacts that are important in the history of the United States. It has sometimes been called “the nation’s attic.” In line with preserving the nation’s history, the Smithsonian Institution has decided to also assist in preserving the nation’s endangered species, as well as helping to preserve endangered species throughout the world.
The National Zoo and the Conservation Biology Institute maintain a collection of 1,800 living animals in 300 species. They also engage in reproductive research on many species that are in danger of becoming extinct. As a result of their efforts, many new babies (31 babies in fact) were born that are members of endangered species in the past month at the National Zoo.
The newly born babies include a short-eared elephant shrew, which is a small, insect-eating mammal. The short-eared elephant shrew gets it name because it has a long snout that is thought to resemble the long trunk of an elephant. A fishing cat was also born recently at the zoo. Fishing cats normally live in Southeast Asia and India but are in danger of becoming extinct because of loss of their normal habitat.The latest fishing cat born was called Hunter. A leaf-tailed gecko was born recently at the zoo and these are nocturnal animals that normally live in Madagascar. Loggerhead shrike chicks hatched successfully at the Conservation Biology Institute facility in Virginia. These small birds kill their prey, which are small animals, by impaling them on sharp objects like thorns. Two red panda cubs were recently born at the zoo. The red panda is a species that normally lives in China, Nepal and northern Myanmar.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a website that allows viewers to learn more about endangered species in the U.S. On the home page, viewers can click on a button to find the endangered species in a particular state or county. It also has a featured species section and a section for news on endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the government agency that is responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act was put into law to recover and conserve the nation’s endangered species. The law is enacted by creating partnerships with other organizations, maintaining scientific excellence, and developing a workforce of leaders in conservation.
The many new babies that were born in endangered species at the National Zoo are considered to be a sign of success in the effort to preserve these species. The Smithson Institution reproductive science program for animals has successfully combated the extinction of at least some endangered species.
By Margaret Lutze