Panda Paws, Simian Art Up for Bid

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Smithsonian’s National Zoo

    No, you can't win a helper monkey, but there is an ark-load of unique and interesting items up for bid in the 2010 Zoofari online auction.

    You've probably heard about Zoofari, the National Zoo's annual celebration of all things food that helps raise money to care for the animals.  But the online auction is its lesser-known counterpart that is already under way before the May 20 event in Northwest.

    Want to name one of the zoo's cute new clouded leopard cubs "Ol' Blue Eyes" after Frank Sinatra? Now's your chance, although it's going to cost you at least $717 through the auction as of Sunday morning.

    The items up for bid range from an actual paw print from Tai Shan, who is now spending his days eating panda bread in China, to the commissioning of a full-color comic book about your pet by cartoonist Ryan Estrada. You give him photos and info about your pet, and a printed comic book will be mailed back to you. Let's just hope your pet can read.

    Other cool items: a painting by Kojo the gorilla, a behind-the-scenes VIP tour of the giant pandas exhibit and 90 bars of TCHO dark chocolate. We haven't actually heard of TCHO before, but it must be good. The estimated value is $50 and the top bid is already at $80.

    The auction ends at 9 p.m. on May 16. Click here to view all the items and to make your bids.

    For more information on Zoofari, click here.