Rusty the red panda escaped his National Zoo enclosure and was briefly free in Washington, D.C., in 2013. He has died at age 10 of unknown causes.
Zookeepers noticed something was amiss when the animals began eating less and were seen coughing and sneezing. Visitors are not at risk because the public doesn't have access to the enclosures.
Veterinarians have found what appear to be fetal tissue during an ultrasound. The zoo says she could give birth in the next couple of days.
A team of scientists and veterinarians at the National Zoo artificially inseminated Mei Xiang on Thursday evening. Giant Pandas are only able to get pregnant for 24 to 72 hours each year.
In the second week of the federal shutdown, consumers might notice fallout in unexpected places, from poop in national parks to closed museums.
"There's no getting around it," Linda St. Thomas, chief spokeswoman for the Smithsonian. About two-thirds of the institution's staff are federal employees and will be furloughed effective Jan. 2.
The giant panda named Bei Bei at Smithsonian's National Zoo somersaults down a snow-covered hill. He climbs trees and dangles from branches. He luxuriates on a snow-dusted bed of bamboo.
He's named "Moke," which is a Lingala word meaning "little one." He's the first of his kind to be born at the National Zoo in nine years, perfect and wrinkly and clinging to his mother.
The Northeast, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic were blanketed in the season's first snowfall this weekend — prompting some panic, and lots of Instagrammed awe.