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Showing posts from October, 2010

Pumpkin Bash sneak peek

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

In anticipation of Pumpkin Bash, we gave meerkats and grizzlies a preview of the tasty snacks awaiting them this weekend.First up, the meerkats filled their bellies with pumpkin when we set out two jack o’ lanterns in their exhibit. They are always quick to investigate anything new, so they scrambled immediately to check out the large pumpkins. Some climbed right through the holes to get to the tasty inside, while others clawed and gnawed at the outer portion.

After the meerkats stuffed themselves, the grizzlies got their turn. The pumpkins were tossed into the exhibit making an impressive splash.

Our two grizzly bears, 16-year-old brothers Keema and Denali each grabbed a pumpkin and took them to their own spot. It didn’t take long for them to smash open their pumpkins and enjoy the innards, the evidence all over their faces.

You can see elephants, gorillas, hippos and more enjoying pumpkin treats at this weekend’s Pumpkin Bash on Saturday and Su…

Building a backyard habitat exhibit

Posted by: R. Scott Vance, Exhibit Interpreter

When the Chilean flamingo exhibit was constructed in 2007, one of our older non-animal exhibits had to go: the Our Backyard exhibit that focused on planting and caring for native, wildlife-friendly shrubs, trees and flowers. But we knew this wouldn’t be forever.

We have just begun the new iteration of Our Backyard, re-purposing the small orchard in our Family Farm. Despite the new location, the focus remains to demonstrate ways to bring wildlife closer to home. We’ll share seasonal programs that show people how to offer food, water, shelter and a place to raise young for our native wildlife. We’ll also show visitors ways to help mitigate the detrimental effects of modern lifestyles ― from toxic chemicals and pesticides (Just say no!), to keeping our pets from preying on wildlife.

A new path will wander through a special corner of the zoo toxic free and will include drought-resistant native plants, drinking water sources, food and shelter to …

It’s tea time in the garden

Posted by: Kiley Jacques, Senior Rose Gardener

Do you take cream and sugar or pulverized fish and elephant poop with your tea? This isn’t Tetley’s folks! We are talking about compost tea—that mysterious concoction that has many environmentally-concerned folks thinking of alternatives to pesticides. From the inception of our Natural Care horticulture program at Woodland Park Zoo, we have approached the application of this mighty brew as one component of a system intended to support sustainable landscape management. It works in conjunction with other biology-based techniques; it is important to understand that we don’t look to its use as a cure-all for disease problems.
Every Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m., I can be found unrolling a bright yellow 200 foot hose while our 250 gallon tank makes its scheduled appearance via forklift. While we prepare for our four hour spray session, the questions start coming. So many visitors find this all very intriguing. Most start with: What is compost …

Flamingo chick learning flamingo ways

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

What sound does a flamingo chick make? How well can it stand on one leg? See for yourself in our latest video:



The chick’s vocalizations are actually quite important for survival. Just 5-12 days after hatching, flamingo chicks within a colony leave their nests and form a crèche of similar-aged chicks watched over by a few adults. For subsequent feedings, parents locate their offspring in the crèche through voice recognition.

How do the parents recognize their chick’s voice? Hours before hatching, flamingo chicks begin vocalizing within the egg. This establishes a bond with their parents so they can locate each other even within a flock of thousands!

Video produced by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Flamingo chicks hatch on exhibit

Posted by: Mark Myers, Curator

Stop by the flamingo exhibit and you’ll notice two small, white puffs emerging among all those pink feathers. That’s because two Chilean flamingo chicks hatched at the start of October, and are being cared for now by their parents out in the flamingo exhibit.

This is the first time that our colony of flamingos is raising chicks on exhibit. Last year, the flock produced three chicks which were hand-raised by the zoo’s team of expert staff before being introduced to the colony. The flock decided to breed a bit late in the year, but the chicks are well insulated and should have no problems with acclimating to colder temperatures. Chilean flamingos typically breed at very high altitudes in the Andes.

So far, the parents are doing a great job of caring for their young. With flamingos, both parents care for their chick, feeding them “crop milk,” a dark red secretion produced in the upper digestive tract. The substance is nutritionally similar to milk that is prod…

“Hike & Seek” with us on Saturday

Posted by: Katie Remine, Education

Connecting children to nature is essential to our mission and we do it every day on zoo grounds. But nature is all around us and we’re always excited about the opportunity to take nature lessons outside of the zoo gates and head into the community. We’ll be doing just that on Sat., Oct. 16 at Seward Park where we’ll be taking part in the National Wildlife Federation’s Hike & Seek family event—and we’d love to see you there!

A cross between a nature hike and a scavenger hunt, Hike & Seek is a great way to get your family and friends out into nature and experience a local park in a whole new way. Step off from base camp after loads of activities for all ages, and use your map and mission guidebook to create your own interactive nature experience. Along the way, you’ll learn about trees, water, plants, animals and birds.

Woodland Park Zoo staff will be there to guide the Stop & Study station on animals. Families will have the opportunity to sol…

Oregon spotted frogs make a splash in the wild

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

With native Oregon spotted frog populations decimated by 80%-90% in our own backyard, we’re committed to recovering their numbers and working towards a self-sustaining wild population. To help with that recovery, Woodland Park Zoo recently released 643 endangered Oregon spotted frogs into the wild. Reared at the zoo for the first months of their lives, these frogs took quickly to the protected lake where we released them, jumping right into their new environment.

The work starts when Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife collects batches of Oregon spotted frog tadpoles and eggs from the wild and we rear them at the zoo for several months giving them a safe, predator-free home as they go through metamorphosis. This year’s frogs arrived to us as tadpoles in April and May.

Before release, the frogs are screened for health, measured and weighed, and some of them are tagged so that scientists can identify and track them over time once released i…

Behind-the-scenes lion training

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

To get a powerful, independent-minded African lion to cooperate with its own daily care and veterinary check ups, keepers use ongoing training with positive reinforcement to make the animal a comfortable participant.

In this video, lead keeper Anne Nichols takes 12-year-old African lion Kalisa through some standard training exercises behind-the-scenes at the zoo.



Video produced by Ryan Hawk, voiced by Anne Nichols/Woodland Park Zoo.