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New baby thriving under care of expert staff, while focus turns to finding the perfect surrogate gorilla mom

Posted  by Gigi Allianic, Communications Photos: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren Baby blep! This 2-week old boy is thriving under the care of our expert gorilla staff Woodland Park Zoo’s newest baby, a gorilla born on June 28, is healthy, growing and thriving thanks to round-the-clock care by his human caregivers. Gorilla Akenji, the newborn’s 22-year-old first-time mother, has not shown any signs of interest in the baby who remains under 24/7 hands-on care by our expert gorilla staff; the baby, a boy, has not yet been named. For months leading up to his birth, the gorilla staff provided maternal behavioral training to prepare Akenji for motherhood. However, within an hour after Akenji gave birth, the animal care team had to intervene for the baby’s safety and well-being. “Despite our attempts over the past couple weeks to unite Akenji and her baby and encourage bonding, she has repeatedly turned away from him. Because of the trust and bonding we have with each of the gorillas, we can read her c
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Snow Leopard Cubs Open Their Eyes for the First Time 

Posted by Craig Newberry, Communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo Three snow leopard cubs born at Woodland Park Zoo on Memorial Day continue to grow and have now opened their eyes. The cubs recently underwent their neonate exam where it was learned there is one male cub and two females. All three cubs are healthy, active and becoming cuter each day. The cubs were born to mom Marai, 7, and dad Aibek, 6. This is their first litter of cubs after they were paired under the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan , a cooperative breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of the species. The mom and cubs remain in an off-view maternity den to allow bonding and proper nursing in a quieter setting. Zoo staff closely watch the mother and cubs on a den camera to watch for normal behaviors. It will be several more weeks before the cubs are introduced to the outdoor, on-view exhibit. Since snow leopards are solitary animals in t

It's a boy! Gorilla Akenji gives birth—newborn is currently being hand-reared by gorilla staff

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications That face! Welcome to the world, little one! Photo by Rachel Vass/Woodland Park Zoo Following a nine-month gestation period, the release of ultrasound images, a birth watch that began two weeks ago, and a flurry of excitement around its pregnant gorilla, Woodland Park Zoo is proud to announce that Akenji gave birth on June 28, 2024 at 10:30 a.m. (PT) to her first baby…and it’s a boy! The zoo’s gorilla and animal health staff closely observed the birth and post-birth behaviors in the off-view bedrooms. Unfortunately, Akenji did not show appropriate maternal behaviors despite the months-long maternal skills training the gorilla care team provided. Within an hour after delivery, the animal care team intervened for the baby’s safety and well-being. A neonatal exam was performed to ensure the yet-to-be-named infant was healthy. “The average weight for a gorilla at birth is 4 pounds and we’re pleased to report our new boy weighs 4.4 pounds. His vital s

Zoo mourns loss of otter pup

Posted by Farrah Paul, Communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren Woodland Park Zoo is mourning the loss of one of its river otter pups, who passed this morning in a tragic accident. Two otter pups, a male and a female, were born in late March to mom Valkyrie and dad Ziggy. The young male otter had recently been named Trout and his sister was named Dory and received their names from longtime friends and supporters of the zoo. As the pups recently learned to swim, they have access to both their publicly-visible habitat and pool, and an indoor holding area that is equipped with ramps and enrichment. This morning, June 22, the male otter pup was climbing a ramp and became wedged between the ramp and a platform. Animal keepers responded in under five minutes and attempted to resuscitate the otter, with the help of Animal Health, but he could not be revived. “Our animal keeper team and staff are absolutely devastated. The passing of a beloved animal is never easy, but a loss like thi

Birth watch begins for pregnant gorilla—Akenji's baby could come at any time now!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications Photos: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo Akenji's pregnancy is at full term and she could give birth at any time now! Last month, we shared with you Akenji's ultrasound images and a Q & A with fascinating details about her pregnancy and expected delivery. This week, the birth watch has officially started for her! A birth watch for great apes typically begins a week before the birth window opens and can span two to three weeks. The gestation period for gorillas is about nine months. The birth watch means Akenji is now under 24-hour monitoring. Overnight, zoo volunteers observe Akenji remotely on cams installed in her bedroom, collect data such as behavioral changes and sleeping pattern and look for any telltale signs that might indicate the onset of labor. A gorilla keeper is on call to respond in case Akenji goes into labor in the middle of the night; during the day, routine care for all the zoo’s gorillas continues with an ex

Batu is expecting! For the first time in 35 years, a baby orangutan is on the way at Woodland Park Zoo!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo Beautiful Batu is expecting a baby —the first orangutan pregnancy at Woodland Park Zoo in 35 years! For the first time in 35 years at Woodland Park Zoo, an orangutan is pregnant. The expectant mom is 14-year-old Batu and the father is 15-year-old Godek; both are Sumatran orangutans. Batu is due to give birth this summer in late August/early September and this will be the first offspring for both orangutans. The gestation period for orangutans is about nine months. Batu, which means “rock” in Malay, arrived in 2021 from Philadelphia Zoo; Godek, whose name means “sideburns” in Indonesian, arrived in 2017 from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs, CO). The Sumatran orangutans were paired under a breeding recommendation by the Orangutan Species Survival Plan and have been companions in the zoo’s Trail of Vines. Species Survival Plans are cooperative breeding programs across accredited zoos to help

Woodland Park Zoo wolf, Shila, gets pacemaker in groundbreaking and life-saving surgery

Posted by Farrah Paul, Communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo 14-year-old Shila was diagnosed with a  life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia. Woodland Park Zoo’s 14-year-old female gray wolf, Shila, has received a pacemaker in an innovative and groundbreaking medical procedure to treat a life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia. The successful procedure took place June 12, and Shila is recovering well behind the scenes. While pacemakers are common treatments for humans and domestic dogs, a wolf receiving a pacemaker is extraordinarily rare. Woodland Park Zoo’s team is not aware of any previous cases and believes Shila’s pacemaker may be among the first for her species. Shila's procedure to insert this pacemaker may be among the first for her species. Background In early June, animal keepers observed concerning behavior from Shila including decreased activity and appetite, weight loss, and concerning instances of stumbling, weakness, incoordination and falling. Th