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Showing posts from November, 2008

Habitat begins at home

Posted by: Jenny Mears, Education Programs Coordinator Have you always wanted to attract more wildlife to your yard, but need a little help? Looking for local resources on backyard habitats including events, workshops and websites? Then check out Woodland Park Zoo's Backyard Habitat blog ! This blog is updated weekly with local resources on everything from native plant sales and backyard habitat festivals to updates on bird feeders from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. You'll also receive seasonal updates on such topics as when to clean out nestboxes, when to look for mason bees, and when to prune trees and shrubs! Photo by Dennis Connor.

Part One: Did you know?

We get dozens of emails a day, and often the same questions come up again and again. It seems there are some common misconceptions about how the zoo works, so we thought we’d post responses to some of those most frequently asked questions in a new “Did you know?” blog feature. Look for “Did you know?” posts over the next few weeks. ________________________________________ Did you know? The majority of the animals at the zoo are not “tame." Many people contact us asking to go in and pet the tigers or play with the monkeys, thinking that because the animals are in a zoo, they must be tame. In fact, we make every effort to ensure that the animals retain their wild behaviors and so even zookeepers do not go directly into exhibits with the animals (except the domestic cows, sheep, goats and chickens, of course!). So how do we care for them? Each day, our animals are visually monitored for their health and well being and we use what is called operant conditioning training for managing t

Ocelot conservation

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications We've been updating you frequently with behind-the-scenes photos of the two ocelot kittens. And while it's easy (and fun) to get caught up in how cute they are, it's important to remember that these kittens are also ambassadors for their endangered wild counterparts. Ocelots are still in high demand for the fur industries in Europe and Asia, which leads to abuse of the already existing laws protecting ocelots and other small cats. Ocelot numbers are also decreasing rapidly as a result of habitat destruction and the black market pet trade. Threatened throughout their entire range, ocelots are also becoming exceedingly rare in several areas. In the U.S., ocelots once ranged throughout the southwest from Arizona to Louisiana, yet now less than 100 ocelots are estimated to be left in the U.S. For simple ways to help save endangered species, visit our How You Can Help webpage. Photos: Ocelots at 8 weeks, by Ryan Hawk.

The eagle has landed

Posted by Ric Brewer For several years back, we've had wild eagles take up residence on zoo grounds in trees in the elk yard in Northern Trail. This year appears to be no exception as intrepid volunteer photographer Dennis Dow snapped this great shot of one of these magnificent birds gathering twigs for a nest. Last year's nest failed, but we're hoping whatever pair appears has better luck this time around.

Snow leopard champion Helen Freeman honored

Posted by: Ric Brewer, Communications The champion of snow leopards, Helen Freeman, was remembered over the weekend at a private ceremony held at Woodland Park Zoo that paid tribute to her tireless efforts toward protecting snow leopards and establishing the Snow Leopard Trust. Family, friends, the Snow Leopard Trust, and the zoo unveiled an ensemble of bronze sculptures that illustrates the lifetime passion of Freeman who passed away in 2007. The commemoration to Freeman is located near the zoo’s snow leopard exhibit. Members of the Snow Leopard Trust (SLT), Freeman’s family, and local artist Gretchen Daiber collaborated with the zoo to create the sculptural vignette: a clipboard detailing Freeman’s observations of snow leopards, a leaping snow leopard and a small plaque. Freeman’s interest in snow leopards began in the early 1970s as a volunteer docent at the zoo where she began studying the zoo’s pair of snow leopards from Russia. She discovered a new passion for the endangered cats

A new giraffe is here!

Posted by: Walter Dupree, Animal Collections Manager A new female giraffe arrived at Woodland Park Zoo last Friday. Born February 27, 2007, she’s not quite two yet, coming to us from Dickerson Park Zoo in Missouri. (Photo: The giraffe arrives in the trailer.) The giraffe arrived early Friday morning after a three day trip and was quite feisty when we were unloading her from the trailer, letting us know she wanted out. And we all felt that was a good sign! (Photo: The trailer is backed up to the loading chute) For those that know the giraffe barn—the indoor space where the giraffes are kept when not out on the African Savanna—there is a load/unload chute at the back end of the barn. The animal transporter positioned the trailer in which the giraffe arrived against the transfer chute, opened the door, and after just a few hesitant seconds, she walked out of the trailer and right into the barn…just as if she had been here all her life! (Photo: The giraffes show interest in each other.)

Growing up galago

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications The 5-week-old galago babies received another vet check-up this morning, which gave us a chance to snap some photos of the tiny primates who are quickly growing. (Remember these photos from when they were just one week old?) The two galago babies are out on view now in the Night Exhibit, which is kept in darkness during the day so visitors can watch nocturnal animals in their element. Look for them in the nesting box inside the Night Exhibit.

Pudu power

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications What happens when the Ballard Pudus—a local youth soccer team—meet the Woodland Park Zoo pudus? Pure, pudu magic. The Ballard Pudus, an official Ballard Youth Soccer team made up of 7-8 year olds, got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet their namesake behind the scenes at Woodland Park Zoo last month. The pudu, a South American deer, and, in fact, the world’s smallest species of deer, may not always get the spotlight. But 7-year-old Anna has had a lifelong love of pudus, making them her number one animal to look for whenever she visits the zoo. So when her Ballard Youth Soccer Team had a chance to come up with a team name, Anna used her pudu-passion to convince her teammates to take on the unique moniker. The oddly named soccer team may draw some puzzled looks on the field, but their team name actually helps to promote knowledge about this little known endangered species. After meeting the zoo’s pudus and talking to their keepers, the soc

Plans for 2009

Posted by: David Schaefer, Director of Public Affairs Want to know what we’ll be up to next year? The zoo’s draft plan for 2009 operations is now posted on the zoo’s website and is available at the zoo’s administrative offices and with the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation. The annual plan is made public as part of the Woodland Park Zoo Society’s operations agreement with the city of Seattle. Among the highlights planned for 2009 are the new Humboldt penguin exhibit—the most significant new animal exhibit in a decade at the zoo—and a new food concession contract. Other changes include expansion of the education programs offered to the public, changes to accommodate additional guest parking and further incentives to reduce auto use by our staff. New animals expected to join the collection in 2009 include a silverback lowland gorilla, a giraffe and zebra. We will exhibit a tree kangaroo, representing one of the zoo’s ambitious field conservation efforts. We also will participate in

Video: Bushbaby babies

Watch the bushbabies (also known as galagos) get their vet exam under the care of our animal health team and zookeepers. Turn up the sound to learn more about what you're seeing: The galago babies are on view now in the Night Exhibit. You'll most likely spot them in a nesting box in their exhibit space.