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Gorilla wishbook for Kitoko

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

This spring, we asked you all to show your love for Uzumma's baby gorilla by sending a wish as part of our gorilla baby wish book project. We received more than 100 digital entries, which we'll share with gorilla keepers, Kitoko's animal health care team and zoo staff. There were so many wonderful entries, and heartfelt wishes for little Kitoko and all endangered gorillas. 

Kitoko update: The little gorilla is back with his troop and spending some time outdoors. Depending on your luck, you may see him during your next zoo visit and you can share your wishes for endangered gorillas with Kitoko himself.
Winners of the gorilla wish book coloring contest are... 
Please show these artists some love!
Adult (13 years or older)

Grand Prize Winner is Camryn, age 14, with an incredible painting of Kitoko and Uzumma. Camryn, you absolutely outdid yourself! 
Runner up is Dallas with a delightfully colorful and detailed gorilla and fruit landscape we&…
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Zoomazium to You: Welcome Back!

Posted by Janel Kempf, Learning and Innovation

By now, you and your early learners have heard the exciting news—Woodland Park Zoo reopened on July 1! We’ve missed all of you, and can hardly wait to welcome you back. Now that we’re all busy with the newly reopened zoo, we’ll be hitting the pause button on the Zoomazium to You blog, most likely for the summer. For this last entry (for now) let’s talk about the changes you and your youngsters will notice when you first visit us.

The ongoing health precautions means the zoo will be different than you and your little ones remember. All the differences you’ll find are important ones, carefully planned to keep you, our staff and volunteers, and all our beloved animals safe. But, as we all know, the young children in our lives are not necessarily big fans of change!

And that’s okay! In fact, it’s important for young children to be exposed to things that aren’t dangerous or out-of-control, but also aren’t completely easy for them. Reasonable …

Zoomazium to You: Including Young Learners with Disabilities

Posted by Janel Kempf, Learning and Innovation

Close your eyes, and ask your early learner to do the same. Now, imagine together a few of your favorite animals in their habitats.

What are you both seeing in your mind’s eye? There are so many options! An emerald tree boa draped over a branch in the steamy Amazon rainforest, an impala grazing on the vast plains of the African savanna, or a gray wolf and her family trotting through the cold forests of northern Canada—each one perfectly a part of their own environment.

But what if they were in an environment that didn’t meet their needs? A bright green boa unable to hide in the dry grass of the savanna, or an impala freezing cold without a wolf’s thick coat in below-zero temperatures? It just wouldn’t work.

At the zoo, we have lots of animals who wouldn’t naturally call the Pacific Northwest home. To keep them healthy and thriving, we make accommodations for them in their zoo habitats. Some of the things we do for animals are easy to s…

Zoomazium to You: So Many Ways to Say It!

Posted by Janel Kempf and Sofia Garcia, Learning and Innovation


Hello again, friends! And may we add, ¡Hola de nuevo, amigos!

People here in the Pacific Northwest and all around the world speak many different languages—and very few things build the brain power of early learners more than learning more than one language from the very beginning. This week’s activity helps your early learners discover fun facts about their favorite animals, and learn a few words in a different language of your choice!

Animals communicate with their voices, too. Even some you wouldn’t expect! Owls are very stealthy hunters, who rely on silence to catch their prey. But they can make sounds, and among owl species, the champions of using their voices are burrowing owls, like the zoo’s own PapĂș. They have more distinctly different calls than any other owl species!


Burrowing owls are different from other owls in a lot of ways. They have extra-long legs, and do a lot of their hunting by running instead of…

Ulan gave birth June 10! Tapir calf is healthy, strong and totally adorable.

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo
The #SeattleWatermelon has arrived. On June 10 at approximately 9:30 p.m., our Malayan tapir Ulan, gave birth to her first baby, a girl. We are in love.

The gestation period for tapirs is approximately 13 months, and for Ulan, her birth window was between April and June, since we weren't exactly sure when she conceived. The average weight for calves at birth is 22 pounds, and Ulan's baby is 18 pounds. Calves are born with their eyes open and can stand within one or two hours after birth—and as you can see from these photos—baby tapirs hit their adorable watermelon benchmark right away!
“These ‘watermelons on four legs’ are irresistible,” says Kevin Murphy, animal curator. “It will be curiously fun to watch her explore the public habitat, which we did our best to tapir baby-proof to minimize any risks. We can’t wait to share our baby tapir with our community when we reopen.”

Our veterinary…

Baby Kitoko doing well and healing

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo is pleased to announce that its 3-month-old male gorilla, Kitoko, is recovering and doing well. The baby western lowland gorilla sustained head injuries over Memorial Day weekend during a skirmish among his six-member family group.


The infant sustained serious injuries to the head including a laceration from a bite wound, resulting in a bone fracture to the skull. Zoo animal health staff had to immobilize Uzumma, the mother of Kitoko, in order to separate the baby and take him to the zoo’s veterinary hospital.

A team of pediatric neurosurgery consultants from Seattle Children’s Hospital joined the zoo’s animal health team for evaluation, to conduct the surgical exploration and to close the wound.

To minimize the risk of infection, the baby had to spend a night at the zoo’s hospital for intravenous antibiotics and pain medications. He was reunited with his mom the next day and ha…

Zoomazium to You: Mapping with nature

Posted by Janel Kempf, Early Childhood

When you’ve been in one place for a while, like we all have been as we stay home and stay healthy, it’s fun to start looking closely at things you may never have noticed. And now that you’ve found some new treasures in your neighborhood, why not make a nature map?

Animals all over the world need to know where things are. Sometimes they need to know where to go to get a basic need met, like food, water, or shelter. Other times, they need to know where another animal’s territory begins, so they know where not to go! Different animals have different ways of marking the places and things they need to remember. And, yes, some of those ways involve pee and poop—but not all of them!




Ring-tailed lemur males, like the zoo’s five boys, have a spur on each wrist next to a scent gland. To mark the edges of a troop’s territory, males scrape marks into the bark of trees, which they fill with scent. (Incidentally, they also use those spurs to comb scent into t…