After witnessing the near extinction of bison, scientist William Hornaday works with the Smithsonian to create a natonal zoo.
President Grover Cleveland signs a bill to establish the National Zoo for the purpose of saving animals from extinction.
The National Zoo officially opens to the public.
The Zoo's first permanent building is completed, housing almost all the animals. It later becomes the Lion House.
The Zoo unveils a new Elephant House. Fully updated in 2013, it becomes the Elephant Community Center.
The Zoo turns 50 as World War II breaks out in Europe. The Zoo does its part as keepers and other employees go to war.
Rescued from a blaze, Smokey Bear becomes a living symbol of the United State's campaign to prevent forest fires and comes to live at the Zoo.
Concerned Washingtonians form Friends of the National Zoo to raise funds for much-needed repairs.
The Zoo pioneers a program to breed golden lion tamarins and reintroduced them to the rainforests in Brazil.
First Lady Pat Nixon formally welcomes giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, gifts from the People's Republic of China. Panda mania ensues!
The Zoo acquires 3,200 acres in Virginia to save rare species, known today as the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
The Zoo helps black-footed ferrets rebound from near extinction. Today more than 1,000 live in the wild.
The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center opens and soars to international prominence for its research and conservation work.
Komodo dragons hatch at the Zoo, for the first time ever outside Indonesia.
Zoo researchers spearhead efforts to combat chytrid, a deadly fungus that threatens one-third of amphibian species.
Kandula, a male Asian elephant, is born. His birth reflects Zoo scientists growing understanding of elephant reproduction.
Tai Shan is born. He becomes the first giant panda cub in Zoo history to live into adulthood.
The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, a partnership between the Zoo and George Mason University, opens to the first class of students.
Bao Bao is born. She is the Zoo's second healthy giant panda cub, and growing strong!
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