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Malayan tapir Ulan is expecting her first baby this summer!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

It's going to be a watermelon-themed summer!
We have some extremely exciting news. We are proud to announce that Ulan, our 8-year-old Malayan tapir, is expecting her first baby between May and June this summer. The last tapir born at the zoo was in 2007. 
The expectant father is of course 19-year-old Bintang, who was also born at Woodland Park Zoo. Bintang has sired two offspring when he lived at other zoos before he returned to Seattle in 2014. 
Tapirs are among the most primitive large mammals in the world, changing little in appearance for millions of years. This prehistoric-looking animal looks like a massive pig with a long snout. However, because they have an odd number of toes (four toes on each front foot, three on each back foot), their closest relatives are horses and rhinos.

A newborn tapir looks like a watermelon on legs due to its reddish-brown coat dappled with white and cream-colored spots and stripes. This color pattern work…
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Meet Eduardo, the three-banded armadillo who loves sleeping, digging and 'making confetti'!

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications

It’s time to meet our next featured Ambassador Animal. This handsome gent is Eduardo—a 16-year-old Southern three-banded armadillo. This species is native to South America, but Eduardo was born right here at Woodland Park Zoo, which makes him a bonafide Seattleite!

Armadillos are mammals and their name comes from the armour-like leathery exterior plates that protect them. Those bony plates are covered by a thick layer of tough skin and they grow as the animal grows, very similar to our finger nails! Three-banded armadillos are on the smaller side as armadillos go, being only about 9 or 10 inches long—and they are the only ones that can curl up completely into a ball to protect their belly, limbs, eyes, nose and ears from predators. While not endangered, this species is threatened, mostly due to loss of habitat, but also from being hunted both for food and for the pet trade.

Eduardo weighs in at an impressive 2 pounds and his favorite hobbies…

When the commitment to conservation is more than skin deep

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications
It is said that those who wear their hearts on their sleeves are open and willing to share their feelings for something they feel strongly about. For some members of our Woodland Park Zoo community, that means wearing their passions in other places, like on their shoulders, legs and backs.

Many staff at the zoo are here because of the mission—they care deeply about animals, the environment and conservation. And for quite a few, that passion runs so deep that they’ve decided to make it permanent by getting tattoos to represent the animals they care deeply for and the commitment to protect and save species in the wild.

Jill has cared for many different species in her career as an animal keeper and care manager—and her love for a few individuals is etched into her skin. On each shoulder there is an Asian elephant. Suki and Hanako are older females living at Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, where Jill worked with them for several ye…

Green up your holiday with eco-friendly wrapping ideas

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications

Did you know there’s more waste generated during the holiday season than at almost any other time of year? Tens of thousands of pounds of boxes, wrappings, cards, ribbons and bows all end up in the landfill … but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are some tips for a greener holiday season!

A lot of wrapping paper can’t be recycled. Look for recycling and sourcing information on labels and steer clear of wrapping papers (and cards) that are metallic, have layers of cellophane, glitter or velvety flocking. None of those is recyclable. FSC labels (certification from the Forest Stewardship Council) are the best indicators that the paper came from a forest that is managed and harvested in an environmentally-friendly, socially-responsible, and economically viable manner.

Don’t forget good ol’ newspaper. In this fast-paced cyber world, a sheet from your daily paper can look downright vintage cool—and sometimes a colorful gift box doesn't nee…

Clare Meeker's 'Growing Up Gorilla' shines a light on Yola's heartwarming story

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications

Recently we shared the exciting news about Western lowland gorilla Uzumma’s pregnancy and the buzz about her first offspring with Kwame. While we wait for this new precious member of our gorilla family to be born we’re happy to share news related to the last baby born into that family—the now 4-year-old Yola.

Seattle author Clare Meeker spent more than two years documenting Yola’s story and has recently published a book about it. Yola was born in 2015 to Nadiri and Vip. Because Nadiri was partially human-raised as an infant and had no experience as a mom, we were prepared for the possibility that she might not know what to do when she gave birth and that she might not immediately bond with her baby. Indeed, Yola’s first few months were spent in the care of her dedicated keepers who constantly stayed in close proximity to Nadiri. The goal was to help Nadiri bond with her baby while her maternal instincts slowly kicked in—ultimately allowing th…

Preparing for a Gorilla Birth: What to Expect When You're Expecting, Part 2

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher with Stephanie Jacobs

In part one of this blog, gorilla keeper Stephanie Jacobs told us how first-time expectant-mother Uzumma is doing and filled us in on all the work that happens behind the scenes to prepare for a gorilla pregnancy. So let’s pick up the conversation with questions about getting ready for a birth and everything that comes next.

WPZ: Thanks again, Stephanie for giving us a behind-the-scenes peek into the gorilla unit. So what happens while we all wait for this baby to be born? Obviously you and the other keepers are watching and waiting, but what else needs to happen before a baby arrives?

Stephanie: So much happens! Really, we’re all over-the-moon excited [about Uzumma’s pregnancy by Kwame], but there is a lot to do. To begin with, keepers and the Animal Health Department make sure Uzumma’s BMP (birth management plan) is all ready to go. This is a document identifying what needs to be done prior to the birth, any anticipated complications …