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What to expect when expecting a baby gorilla: Akenji edition!

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications Akenji is expecting her first baby soon! Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo Recently, we shared with you that Akenji, one of our female western lowland gorillas who will be 23 years old in July, is pregnant with her first baby With a birth just weeks away now—expected by the end of June or early July—we are thrilled to share for the first time, stunning ultrasound video images and stills of the little gorilla baby that will soon be joining Akenji’s extended gorilla family.  Watch video: The ultrasound procedure was overseen by Woodland Park Zoo associate veterinarian Dr. Yousuf Jafarey, and the images from it are just amazing! We can see a little hand (in a sort of “fist-bump” pose), ribs, a beating heart and some general wiggling around. Dr. Yousuf Jafarey, our associate veterinarian who oversaw the successful ultrasound procedure, tells us it's OK to interpret the above image as Akenji's bab
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In time for Mother’s Day: otter pups open their eyes!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo A roll poly otter pup during its health check with the care team Woodland Park Zoo’s new otter mom, Valkyrie, has an early Mother’s Day present: her twin pups have opened their eyes!  The North American river otters, a female and male, were born March 29 to mom Valkyrie and dad Ziggy. The new pups currently weigh between 3 and 3½ pounds each. Otters are born blind and completely helpless, relying solely on mom for care during the first year. “We’re so happy the pups are growing and developing as they should. They’re healthy, wiggly and active pups,” said Pat Owen, an animal care manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “The pups are also beginning to take their first steps, another developmental milestone. It won’t be long before they start venturing out of the nest box.” Stay tuned for fun updates on the otter pups at .  Valkyrie and her pups remain in an off-view, climate-controlled

Woodland Park Zoo to say goodbye to beloved hippo, Water Lily

Posted by Farrah Paul, Communications Lily in 2015. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo. We have some very sad and difficult news to share. We will soon say goodbye to our beloved hippopotamus Water Lily, who has experienced declining health and quality of life following a cancer diagnosis last month . Veterinarians and caretakers have made a difficult end-of-life decision for the 45-year-old hippo, affectionately known as Lily, who will be humanely euthanized early next week. She will be surrounded by her loving animal keepers and an empathetic, expert team of veterinary animal health professionals. The zoo recognizes that our staff, volunteers, members and community feel deeply connected to Lily and may wish to use the next few days to visit her or celebrate her life. Lily will continue to enjoy her pool and outdoor habitat over the coming days and should be visible to those who come to say farewell.  Community members may continue to see Lily through Sunday, April 28, after which

Introducing Dawa! This little gazelle calf provides a big dose of joy!

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications Photos: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo Hello, Dawa! We’d like to introduce you to Dawa! She is a bouncing baby (calf) Grant’s gazelle—and we mean that quite literally! Pronking—sometimes called stotting—is a kind of four-legged bounce or jump. Gazelles are known for this special kind of gait and, as you can see in the video (watch ‘til the end so you don’t miss a moment!) little Dawa has been eager to show that she mastered her pronking technique even when she was only a couple weeks old! Watch video: Dawa was born on March 5, to mom Blossom and dad Kamali—and is the first Grant’s gazelle born at Woodland Park Zoo since 2005. That morning, animal keeper Russ was busy with his regular routine of feeding, shifting, and cleaning parts of the barn where the gazelles rest and eat. As is often the case, there was music in the background since it provides wonderful enrichment for animals and people alike! Russ’

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

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 . 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