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Woodland Park Zoo honored with awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, communications
Woodland Park Zoo was honored with awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) at its annual conference which was held virtually in 2020. The areas of achievement include Volunteer Engagement, Diversity, Species Survival Plan Sustainability and Research. We're very proud of each of these honors and are excited to tell you a little more about the work behind them!

Our Volunteer Inclusion Programreceived two awards this year: Top Honors in the Volunteer Engagement Award category, which recognizes achievement by an AZA member institution in volunteer program development, and a Significant Achievement Award in the Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award category, which recognizes significant achievement in the workforce and audience diversity by an AZA member institution.

The Woodland Park Zoo Volunteer Inclusion Program supports individuals with disabilities who are interested in volunteering at the zoo and was created in t…
Recent posts

Signs of Wildlife — Signs of Hope

Posted by Rebecca Whitham, Vice President of Engagement with Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, WPZ 

The boat driver cuts the engine. We slowly bob and drift along the river toward the direction of what has caught the observation team’s eyes—a sight found nowhere else in the world: the improbably proportioned proboscis monkey.

Researchers with HUTAN’s primate observation unit have spotted a small family group. With the aid of binoculars and a clipboard, they take note of juveniles playing, female adults nearby at rest. A dominant male on a branch all his own watches over us, potbelly flopped over almost as characteristically as his nose. 

That signature nose is meant to signal his attractiveness, and possibly act as a sound enhancer for better group management. It also has given the proboscis monkey its name and its prominence in the eco-story of Borneo. Here, charismatic endangered species found nowhere else in the world make a compelling case for urgent conservation of the island’s ra…

Meet the Raptors: Superheroes of the Skies!

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications and Susan Burchardt, Animal Keeper
We'd like to introduce you to a few of Woodland Park Zoo’s own Superheroes. No capes needed here because these particular heroes are already expert fliers. We’ll take a closer look and examine some of their unique superpowers, investigate what threats they face in nature—their “Kryptonite” so to speak—and fill you in on how you can visit with them at Woodland Park Zoo or in some cases, see their cousins around the wild spaces of our Pacific Northwest! Read all about them, then take our raptor quiz and find out which Superhero you are most like! 

Superhero: Modoc the Turkey vulture

Superpower: Iron stomach! Vultures have strong stomachs that can neutralize all kinds of dangerous germs and bacteria—which helps minimize the spread of disease to other animals and to people.

Kryptonite/Threats: Toxins in their (and our) environment. Everything from chemicals, pesticides, veterinary drugs and lead shot that …

Tiny Egyptian tortoises teach us a big lesson in hope

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications
Every now and then, the world’s tiniest creatures show they have something big to teach us, if we’re willing to listen. Such is the case for the Egyptian tortoise. This critically endangered species, one of the world’s smallest tortoises, faces intense pressure in the wild. They’re native to the desert bordering the Mediterranean Sea and were once found in Libya, Egypt and Israel. Now, they’re isolated to small patches of territory in Libya and are considered extinct in the rest of their territory. Habitat destruction and human encroachment, including the illegal pet trade, are to blame. But there is hope, in the form of tiny hatchlings that weigh about as much as a couple nickels. 
Woodland Park Zoo is proud to be a leader in the successful breeding and rearing of Egyptian tortoises. We work under the direction of the Species Survival Plan (known as the SSP)—a cooperative conservation breeding program overseen by the Association of Zoos & …

Shower Hasani with love: famed giraffe heading to new home

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

In May 2019, we proudly announced the birth of a little giraffe. This month, the giraffe darling of the community, Hasani, will reach another milestone: he’ll be leaving Seattle for a new home. 
The last day to visit Hasani and show some love will be Sunday, October 18. Giraffe fans can also see the other members of the herd: Olivia and Dave, the parents of Hasani; and Tufani, the younger sister of Olivia. 
Hasani will move to a new home in Merkel, Texas. It is a facility and breeding center that has been vetted by Woodland Park Zoo animal care experts, is affiliated with Hemker Park & Zoo in Freeport, Minn. and is well-regarded by the AZA community. The center does not have a name because it is not open to the public, but the organization that owns it is licensed for animal welfare by the USDA. To learn more, see our editor’s note below.

The 155-pound newborn was diagnosed just hours after his…

A baby gorilla is on the way: Nadiri is expecting!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

Oh baby... we have some exciting news to share! Nadiri, the mom of little Yola, is eating for two once again! We are announcing today that Nadiri has safely completed the first trimester of pregnancy and is expecting her second baby in late January or February 2021. The gestation period for gorillas is eight to nine months, similar to humans. The new baby sister or brother for Yola, who turns 5 in November, will be the first offspring between 24-year-old Nadiri and 20-year-old Kwame. Kwame is also the father of Kitoko, a boy born earlier this year to female Uzumma, so Nadiri's new baby will be a younger sibling for him too!

At birth in 2015, Yola endeared herself to animal fans around the globe because her mom didn’t immediately bond with her. Nadiri herself was partially hand-raised as an infant and didn’t have experience being a mom—therefore she never learned any maternal skills. That meant that Yola spent the first several months of her li…

Awesome amphibians: These PNW gems are all around if you know where to look!

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications and Katie Remine, Field Conservation
Can you spot the amphibian in the photo below? We'll give you some clues: it's native to the Pacific Northwest, grows to be about two inches long, is mostly nocturnal, loves the dampness of our area and is the official Washington State amphibian!

Did you find the northern Pacific tree frog? They are hard to spot when they aren't on the move, since they're perfectly adapted to blend into their (and our) PNW environment. This frog species can even morph to change color to match their environment depending on the season.

The presence of amphibians—such as frogs, toads, salamanders and newts—is an indication of a healthy ecosystem. They are even more sensitive than many birds and mammals are to environmental disturbances related to things like pollution, invasive species and climate change. Amphibian monitoring programs are one way to take stock of the health of these species and of our ecosys…