Baby Panda at National Zoo Growing Steadily

Baby giant panda

Zookeepers at Smithsonian’s National Zoo weigh the baby giant panda on September 14.  (Erika Bauer/Smithsonian’s National Zoo via AP)

The tiny baby panda born at the National Zoo on August 22 is starting to look like his dad Tian Tian. At four weeks old, the baby now weighs two pounds and has developed markings in a similar pattern to those of his father.

The little tyke still sleeps most of the day, which is normal for a panda of this age. In the next few weeks, he will start to open his eyes.

Watch a video of the baby’s veterinary exam here:

You can follow the progress of the baby giant panda at the National Zoo’s website or with the hashtag #PandaStory on social media.

Learn more about pandas at our giant panda facts page.

Featured Animal: California Condor

Meet our featured animal: the California condor!


Here are five fun facts about California condors:

  • With a wingspan reaching 3 meters (10 ft.) long, the California condor is the largest flying bird in North America.
  • California condors can soar as fast as 88 km/h (55mph) and as high as 4,600 m (15,000 ft.).
  • They eat dead animals like cattle, deer, and sheep as well as smaller mammals like rodents and rabbits.
  • They can eat over 1 kg (2-3 lbs.) of food at a time, and then go for days without eating anything.
  • Because they have a robust immune system, condors do not get sick when feasting on carrion (dead animal flesh) despite consuming various strains of bacteria.

Learn more about condors at our California condor facts page.

VIDEO: Pink Dolphin in Louisiana

A rare pink bottlenose dolphin was recently captured on video by charter boat captain Erik Rue. Pinky was first spotted by Rue in 2007. To everyone’s delight, Pinky made another appearance eight years later, and she might be pregnant!

Pinky the dolphin

Image by Erik Rue.

According to scientist Greg Barsh, Pinky is most likely an albino. The pink hue comes from the blood vessels showing through her pale skin, which has no color. Albinism happens when there is a genetic mutation. The cells that make melanin, which produces the color in hair and skin, fail to make enough pigment, if any at all. People who have albinism have very pale skin, eyes, and hair.

Albinos can suffer from skin and vision issues as a result of their lack of melanin. Animals with albinism may be easily spotted by predators because they lack the appropriate camouflage. Therefore, albino animals, such as Pinky, are very rare in the wild.

Learn more about Pinky at National Geographic.

Discover more interesting facts about dolphins at our bottlenose dolphin facts page.

Casting Call: Unlikely Animal Friends Wanted

Cheetah and monkey

Do you have an unlikely animal friend? Or two animals of different species that are best friends? Or did you go to extremes to rescue a helpless animal?

National Geographic WILD is looking for your stories!

For submissions, please email photos, a short description of your “Unlikely Animal Friends” story and your contact details to:

Watch a clip of a past episode below:


“Oh Hello There!” Koala Joey Emerges from Pouch at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Koala joey

Meet Storm, a seven month old joey. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Visitors to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia delight in the new koala joey on view. Named Storm, the seven-month-old joey is the first koala joey of the season to emerge from his pouch.

This is the second joey for mother Wild Girl. Wild Girl came to the zoo’s wildlife hospital after she suffered a hip wound after being struck by a car and was unable to be returned to the wild.

Koala joey and mother

Storm with his mother Wild Girl. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

“Thunder is approximately seven-months-old, born in January 2015. Wild Girl is quiet protective of Thunder. He can be seen on the front of her chest for now but in the coming months will start to move on to her back,” said keeper Karen James.

For more information about the koala joeys at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, visit

Learn more about koalas at our koala facts article.

Hand Raising a Cheetah Cub

Cheetah cub

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

The zoo keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo have had their hands full raising a little cheetah cub named Siri.

Siri was born on May 21 this year to experienced mother Halla. But usually, cheetahs are born in litters of three to five cubs. When a single cub is born, mother cheetahs generally reject the cub since survival rates for a single cub are low in the wild.

Zoo keeper Linda Matthews said: “We were on alert when we knew there was only one cub, and after 24hrs based on what we were seeing, we intervened to give Siri the best chance of survival.”

Bottle feeding a cheetah cub.

A keeper bottle feeds Siri. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

For the first six weeks, keepers provided 24/7 care for the cub.

Cheetah cub and puppy

Siri and Iris the puppy interact. Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

At eight weeks, they introduced a 7-week-old retriever cross mastiff puppy named Iris as a companion. This will help Siri develop her animal instincts and social interaction.

Cheetah cub

Photo by Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Learn more about cheetahs in our cheetah facts article.

Adorable Baby Sloth at Lincoln Park Zoo

Baby sloth and mama

Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed a baby Hoffman’s two-toed sloth on July 25. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo.

Visitors to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago now have the opportunity to see an adorable baby Hoffman’s two-toed sloth on exhibit. The adorable baby was born on July 25 to 21-year-old mother Hersey and 32-year-old father Carlos.

“The sloth infant appears healthy and is passing critical milestones such as nursing regularly and clinging well to mother,” said Curator Diane Mulkerin. “Hersey is a first-time mother and is being very attentive to her new young.”

Hoffman’s two-toed sloths inhabit the rainforests of Central and South America. Their large hooked claws help them hang upside down from treetops, which is how they spend most of their time.