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Slytherin House Forever: Our magical corn snakes would love to meet you!

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications

We’d like you to get to know two snakes that are very special to us: Salem and Knox. These 5-year-old corn snake brothers joined our zoo family as youngsters and they’re still as close as can be!

Corn snakes are a North American species of rat snake that subdues its prey by constriction or squeezing. They are not venomous. They can come in many different colors and patterns which allows for occasional misidentification as a more dangerous species, but are generally harmless to humans. In nature, corn snakes are very important for pest control. It is thought they got their name because they can often be found near corn and grain storage areas, where they help control rodent populations.

Salem and Knox live together and like to share a hide box, so sometimes there are two little heads sticking out from the house. They usually prefer to dine alone but otherwise get along really well. Their favorite snacks are mice and they enjoy exploring new sm…
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2-year-old lionesses, Kamaria and Ilanga, join Xerxes on the African Savanna

Posted by Meghan Sawyer, Communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo

Two African lions recently arrived at Woodland Park Zoo to form a new pride with 11-year-old Xerxes. Two-year-old sisters Kamaria and Ilanga arrived from The Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park located in eastern Idaho. 

“We’re so excited for the girls to be here because lions are social animals, and Xerxes has been living solo since his former mate Adia passed away earlier this year,” said Christine Anne, a lead animal keeper at Woodland Park Zoo. “Kamaria and Ilanga have a ton of energy, so it will be fun to watch Xerxes try to keep up.” 

The lionesses were brought to Woodland Park Zoo under a breeding recommendation by the African Lion Species Survival Plan, a conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of lions. It’s one of 111 Species Survival Plans that Woodland Park Zoo participates in, led by experts in husbandry, nutrition, veter…

Where Hope Takes Root

In the forest, you’re likely to hear an orangutan long before you see one. A rustling in the leaves. A tree limb snap. A crisp lip smack to warn you if you’re getting too close.

Tracking these sounds, Mislin and her team of wildlife researchers know they are in the right place when they spot mounds of broken branches and piled leaves in the canopy—fresh orangutan nests.

There’s a stirring in one of them. A treetop toddler pokes a red head through the leaves. The team’s data logger records the behavior. “We take note, every three minutes,” Mislin explains.

Peeling away from mom, the four-year-old orangutan climbs out on a limb for a closer view of us. It would seem she’s conducting her own primate study.

Mislin recognizes the young one, whom they’ve named Mamai and keep regular track of in their study. Composed entirely of local community members hired and trained by HUTAN, one of Woodland Park Zoo’s conservation partners, Mislin’s team is here to investigate: how are endangered orang…

Baby on the way for gorilla Uzumma

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

We've got some very lovely news to share, Uzumma, a western lowland gorilla is pregnant for the first time! The expectant father is 18-year-old Kwame.

Uzumma, who turns 12 in October, has just ended the first trimester of her pregnancy and is due to give birth in March 2020. The gestation period for gorillas is eight to nine months, similar to humans.

The last birth of a gorilla at Woodland Park Zoo was Yola, a female gorilla born in November 2015.

Woodland Park Zoo is renowned for its successful gorilla breeding program and its excellent birth management plans, including pre- and post-natal care. To help ensure a successful pregnancy and birth, the pre-natal care includes regular veterinary check-ups leading up to the birth, a diet created by a nutritionist, supplemental vitamins to help Uzumma maintain a healthy weight for a normal delivery and ultrasound exams.


The gorilla keepers have worked hard to understand their animals. As part of…

Lions, tigers, and beers: How a king of the savanna inspired the name of one of Seattle’s most beloved brews

Posted by Meghan Sawyer, Communications


This October 3, nearly 60 breweries from around the Pacific Northwest are setting up shop at Woodland Park Zoo. But this isn’t just any beer-fest—it’s Brew at the Zoo—and each ticket sold raises money to save wildlife and their wild places locally and around the world.

Beer is awesome, obviously. But it’s even more awesome when it supports a good cause. The breweries that are coming to Brew at the Zoo know that, which is why they show their support by donating their brews year after year.

One of those brews, an iconic Seattle ale, was born not far from Woodland Park Zoo’s 92-acre oasis. Perhaps you’ve heard of Mac & Jack’s African Amber—it’s one of the best-selling craft beers in the entire state of Washington. But in the early 1990s, it was just an unnamed brew created by Mac Rankin and Jack Schropp specifically for Park Pub, a Phinney Ridge hangout just down the street from the zoo.

Bruce Springer, then-owner of Park Pub, absolutely loved …

We Are All Tiger Keepers

Posted by Carolyn Sellar, Animal Keeper
Photos by Carolyn Sellar, Woodland Park Zoo


“So today was a glorious day, again it was HOT and my legs were tired, and I can’t wait to get a full 8 hours of sleep, but being in the forest is so... incredible. It breathes, it’s so alive, and there is just such an amount of peacefulness while I am in here.” With beads of sweat dripping down her face, animal keeper Carolyn Sellar records into her video diary after a day of trekking in tiger forest. She never wants to forget how it feels to be seeing firsthand the habitat and wildlife she works so hard to protect.
“The heat the humidity, the fatigue, the trekking… doesn’t matter. There is something about being in the forest. All the life—being where tigers and elephants are just roaming in their own habitat—it’s so inspiring and it makes you want to help.”
Carolyn works with Malayan tigers and orangutans here in Seattle at Woodland Park Zoo, and is a passionate advocate for endangered species. With su…

Our Exhibits Crew: Making Our Green Wishes Come True!

Posted by Barbara Segal, Intern
Don’t you wish you had a fairy godmother who could transform your old stuff into something new and beautiful? Or maybe little elves that came out at night and made useful things for you from the odds and ends in your home? Someone at your zoo must have made a wish like that, because we have a whole guild of magicians who transform fallen trees, disassembled fences, and general almost-rubbish into things that our animals, keepers and guests use every day. Our exhibits team knows how to reuse, not only saving natural resources, but saving money so we can put more toward our animals and conservation.  Last winter, downed trees and branches were everywhere after the 2018 Snowpocalypse. Lots of us put them in our yard waste. But did our team? No way. All those great trunks and branches were put in storage yards, along with the remains of trees removed because they were sick or hazardous. There they wait eagerly for the myriad of new lives they can have at th…