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Meet Skookum: A bright, curious rescued opossum with a taste for apples—but only without the peel!

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications Photos: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo Hello Skookum! This young opossum has the cutest "blep" ever!  We’d like you to meet the newest member of our Ambassador Animal family—a young Virginia opossum named Skookum! Opossums are the only marsupials (mammals that carry their offspring in a pouch) native to North America. They are very misunderstood animals that are generally shy—avoiding confrontation with people—and they help keep the environment healthy and clean by eating bugs like ticks, rotting fruit and carcasses. Skookum, shortly after coming into Puget Sound WildCare where he received veterinary and nutritional care in a wildlife rehabilitation setting. THAT NOSE! Photo Klara Messersmith of Puget Sound WildCare Skookum is a rescue animal who came to us through Puget Sound WildCare in Kent, WA. He was found after his mother was hit by a car and he spent some time in a private home setting with well-meaning people who cle
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Valkyrie gives birth to pair of river otter pups

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren  Pups should make for an ottersome summer! Valkyrie and Ziggy on Living Northwest Trail It’s otter happiness at Woodland Park Zoo for the birth of two North American river otters! The pups were born March 29 and are the second litter for mom Valkyrie and dad Ziggy, both 9 years old. The last birth of the species at the zoo was in 2019.  During a neonatal check-up, the zoo’s animal health team have confirmed the pups to be a female and a male. The teeny pups currently weigh 10 ounces each—about the weight of five fun-size Snickers bars! The gestation period for river otters is 68 to 72 days. Pups are born blind and are completely helpless, relying solely on mom for care during the first year. They open their eyes at about a month old. Stay tuned for fun updates at www.zoo.org/zoobabies . One of the pups during a neonate health check. Photo by Pat Owen, Woodland Park Zoo. Valkyrie and the newborn otters are currentl

Refreshed structures in the gorilla yard make for lots of shenanigans! Big thanks to our Exhibits crew!

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo "Hello down there!" The view from the top of the trees in the east gorilla yard includes the Olympic range and the top of Space Needle. On behalf of our gorilla keepers and the gorillas themselves, we’d like to send a heartfelt thank you and shout-out of gratitude to our AMAZING Exhibits team! This talented crew has spent nearly a month refreshing the structures in the east yard where western lowland gorilla Kwame and his family spend much of their time. (The gorillas spent time in their indoor and outdoor behind the scenes areas while the Exhibits team worked their magic.) The exhibit refresh included repairing and repainting two huge trees (25 and 30 feet tall), restringing hundreds of feet of vines and installing new hammocks for the gorillas to lounge on. On the left, a member of our Exhibits crew works on a platform supported by special scaffolding to put the finishing touches on

Juniper and Fern—Catch Up With These Beary Best Buds

Posted by Hattie Potter, Development Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo Juniper and Fern are beary best buddies! It's been a while since we last gave an update on our brown bear besties, Juniper and Fern, and we didn't want to let another month go by without catching up with these fluffy girls! It seems like just yesterday that the zoo first welcomed these rescued cubs , but these two are growing fast. Thanks to your support, we're able to continuously apply new strategies for leading edge animal care and wellness, ensuring that our urban forest provides animals like Fern and Juniper the best environment to learn and grow. Their animal care team took a little time to answer our questions and fill us in on what these two have been up to! The 2-year-old cubs spend lots of time swimming, chasing each other and napping together. What are the names and ages of our brown bears? It's estimated that Fern and Juniper were born in January of 2022. The zoo celebrate

Hippo procedure reveals cancer diagnosis: palliative care plans being developed to ensure ongoing quality of life

Posted by Craig Newberry, Communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo A biopsy of tissue samples collected during a recent medical procedure on Water Lily the hippo has revealed a diagnosis of fibrosarcoma, a type of cancer of connective tissue. The 45-year-old hippo, affectionately known as Lily, is receiving top-notch medical and comfort care from her health team. An expert team of animal health professionals recently performed a dental exam on Lily and evaluated a wound and swelling on her cheek that had become abscessed. The procedure was necessary to define the cause of the wound and prevent it from worsening and causing other potential serious complications. The successful procedure involved nearly 30 zoo staff and a veterinary dentist who specializes in megavertebrate patients. Lily and Lupe in 2021 The procedure was the first time that Lily had been placed under anesthesia, and her care team made the most of the opportunity by conducting additional health

A baby gorilla is on the way! Pregnant gorilla will be a first-time mom this summer

 Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications Akenji in 2020, photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo Woodland Park Zoo recently tested one of its western lowland gorillas for pregnancy. Using the same type of an early-detection kit used for humans, the zoo is proud to announce the test results: two pink lines, which means a pregnant gorilla!  The expectant gorilla is 22-year-old Akenji, and this will be her first baby. Akenji is due to give birth the end of June or early July; the gestation period for gorillas is eight to nine months. It's two solid lines for Akenji! Photo by Woodland Park Zoo Is the pregnant gorilla showing a baby bump? “It’s hard to notice a belly bump because gorillas characteristically have big bellies due to the high volume of fibrous vegetation they digest,” said Rachel Vass, an interim animal care manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “However, our gorilla care staff notice she’s a little wider across her upper midsection and chest. Her belly is bigger, but the

Zoo’s Geriatric Hippo Healing Well After First Dentist Visit

Posted by Craig Newberry, Communications You’re never too old to have your first dentist visit! The zoo’s oldest hippo is now healing after undergoing a complex anesthetic procedure. Water Lily, affectionately called Lily, is 45 years old, and this was the first time she’d been to a dentist. While the tooth fairy won't be visiting her, she is receiving loads of care and treats to help her recover.  Yesterday, an expert team of animal health professionals performed a dental evaluation of Lily and treated a wound and swelling on her cheek that had become abscessed. The procedure was necessary to prevent the wound from worsening and causing other potential serious complications. The procedure involved nearly 30 zoo staff and Dr. Michael Lowder, a veterinary dentist who specializes in megavertebrate patients and traveled to Seattle to work alongside the zoo’s animal health team. In order to perform the dental procedure, talented Exhibits and Facilities team members used a rigging syste