Today in Smithsonian History: June 22, 1975
Aerial view shows buildings of the National Zoological Park’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. (Photo by Mehgan Murphy)
June 22, 1975 The National Zoological Park’s Conservation and Research Center, now the Conservation Biology Institute, is established on 3,100 acres at Front Royal, Va., to encourage development of all aspects of animal sciences.
SCBI started primarily as a breeding center for endangered birds and mammals. Today, the black-footed ferret, Eld’s deer, clouded leopards and Przewalski’s horses are being bred to maintain genetic diversity and provide reserves for highly endangered species.
The current priority for SCBI’s animal collection is veterinary and reproductive research. By living in controlled environments, the birds and mammals—most of them little-known and endangered—provide ideal subjects for intensive study and the rapid acquisition of urgently needed information. Findings from these studies provide critical information for the management of captive populations and valuable insights for the conservation and management of wild populations.
Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives
Clouded leopard cubs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in 2013. (Photo by Connor Mallon)
These clouded leopard cubs are only the second litter born as the result of an artificial insemination. Pierre Comizzoli, reproductive physiologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, performed the artificial insemination in Thailand in March 2015 alongside Paweena Thuwanut, a former JoGayle Howard Postdoctoral Fellow at SCBI, and Wanlaya Tipkantha, a doctoral candidate at Chulalongkorn University, who also studied at SCBI. The two cubs were born at the Khao Khew Open Zoo in Chonburi, Thailand, June 9. The artificial insemination was the first successful procedure performed on a clouded leopard outside of the United States. The first and only other successful artificial insemination in clouded leopard was performed by the late SCBI scientist JoGayle Howard in 1992. (Photo courtesy Khao Khew Open Zoo)
Posted: 22 June 2017