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Showing posts from 2011

Holiday wishes

Posted by: Staff of Woodland Park Zoo


Happy holidays from the Woodland Park Zoo family to your family!



We hope you’ll spread the holiday cheer and pass this video or a zoo holiday eCard along to your loved ones.

Stay warm, safe and jolly!

Video produced by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Flood happy

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications


Unless you’ve been on a tropical getaway for the past month, you probably noticed that the Pacific Northwest welcomed in the coming winter season with regular drenchings of heavy rain. This is the time of year when leaves clog drainpipes, and puddles emerge on the streets, sometimes as big as ponds. Well, if you were a West African dwarf crocodile you would be very pleased!

Dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus tetraspis) are a special type of small crocodile species found in the tropical rivers and swamps of sub-Saharan West Africa and West Central Africa. They thrive in swamps and rainforest rivers, but have also been found in Savannah flood zones where they soak up the extra moisture during the wet season, and dig burrows in heavy mud to aestivate during the subsequent dry season.

The dwarf crocodile is itself divided into two subspecies: The Congo dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis osborni) and the West African dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetr…

The panda of the lizard world

Posted by: Diane Yoshimi, Zookeeper, with Linda Uyeda, Zookeeper

Woodland Park Zoo recently had two female Chinese crocodile lizards (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) give birth to two litters of 11 babies in total. The crocodile lizard is an unusual reptile that gives birth to young after 9 to12 months of gestation. The newborn babies, weighing approximately 4 to 6 grams, are independent at birth and litter size ranges from 1 to 9. Since WPZ acquired a pair in 1993, there have been 70 crocodile lizard offspring born at the zoo. In December 2010 there were 115 individuals living in 22 North American institutions held in a managed program, meaning a studbook keeper recommends which individuals should be bred in order to maintain genetic diversity in the captive population.

The Chinese crocodile lizard is an endangered lizard found in the Guanxi province in Southern China and in 2002 previously unknown populations were discovered in northern Vietnam. This species is semi-aquatic and lives in c…

Holidoo: the gift they won’t forget

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications


The zoo’s very own Dr. Doo has been hard at work specially crafting a limited edition blend of Holidoo for the holiday season. Unlike the typical Zoo Doo compost featuring manures of nearly two dozen zoo herbivore species, the All Elephant Poo Holidoo is made up exclusively of the “end products” of the zoo’s elephants’ manure and bedding—the biggest and richest composting materials at the zoo.

Got a gardening enthusiast in your life? Holidoo makes the ideal present. Or that person who seems to have everything? Bet they don’t have Holidoo!

The festively packaged Holidoo product is available exclusively during the holiday season only at the ZooStore in jumbo-sized, 4-gallon containers ($20). Traditional Zoo Doo compost is also available in 2-gallon buckets ($12.95) or pints ($4.95) for stocking stuffers. Holidoo and Zoo Doo purchases help support the zoo’s animal care, education programs and conservation efforts all over the world. Hurry, suppli…

New sloth bear undergoes quarantine exam

Posted by: Martin Ramirez, Mammal Curator


A month after arriving to Woodland Park Zoo via FedEx from Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas, 7-year-old, female sloth bear, Tasha, underwent her quarantine exam on Tuesday. At Woodland Park Zoo, the quarantine exam is the last major step in the process to clear a newly arrived animal out of standard 30-day quarantine and prepare them to move into their exhibit.

Tasha received a full physical examination by our expert Animal Health staff that included blood work, radiographs and weight—essential baseline data that we keep on file to reference as we track an animal’s health over their lifetime.

Weighing in at 215 pounds, Tasha received a clean bill of health and has been approved to begin introductions to her exhibit and her new mate, Randy, the zoo’s 14-year-old male sloth bear.

Tasha was relocated here under a breeding recommendation by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for sloth bears. SSPs, administered by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (A…

Snow Leopard Trust wins BBC World Challenge

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


Big news: Your votes have made a difference for wildlife!

We are proud to announce our conservation partner, Snow Leopard Trust, has won 1st place in the BBC World Challenge! Thanks to your votes, they will receive $20,000 to help protect wild snow leopards and will have their story told on the BBC's international news outlets to spread the word about big cat conservation.

Congrats to the Snow Leopard Trust and our many, many thanks to you all for voting throughout October and November and helping them win this incredible global honor.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

New feathers on the block

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

Meet the new feathers on the block: the newest group of birds that now call Woodland Park Zoo home.
Lola is a 3-year-old, female Aplomado falcon. She is currently at the Raptor Center being trained by her keepers to become part of the free-flight raptor program and will make her debut in the show this December.
Olga, a female Steller’s sea eagle, is now on view at Northern Trail where she lives with the zoo’s male Steller’s sea eagle.

This male falcated duck can be found in the Temperate Forest marsh.

A male and two female fulvous whistling ducks can be found in the Temperate Forest marsh.

A female brown booby has joined the Humboldt penguin colony. For now, she is outdoors when weather is permitting but she will become more visible as the weather warms.

Photos by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

From the Tour Guide’s Side of the Zoo

Posted by: Jennifer Larsen, Real Close Tour Guide and Tourism Marketing Coordinator


I joined Woodland Park Zoo’s marketing team in late March, and 8+ months later it still is such a thrill to call this my place of employment! Having grown up in the Seattle area, I’ve been coming to Woodland Park Zoo since I was a toddler, and it has been an amazing experience to develop a tour program to share that sense of wonder with both visitors to Seattle, as well as zoo members and more frequent guests.

Putting together the itinerary and content for our Real Close tour program which launched this year, I had the chance to meet people from all across the zoo’s departments including Animal Management, Education, Admissions, Horticulture, Animal Health, and Guest Services. Thanks to all of them, I am able to weave together stories, facts and anecdotes that entertain and inform our guests as I lead them around our award-winning exhibits.

This past summer marked our first season of Real Close tours…

Chai picks Cougs to win Apple Cup

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


For the second year in a row, Asian elephant Chai made her prediction for who will win the Apple Cup. Last year her pick of University of Washington proved accurate when the Huskies won. This year she picked the Washington State University Cougars to win. Do you think her prediction will prove true or will Chai have broken her perfect record of one?



The wind and rain this morning didn’t stop a food-seeking Chai from bounding onto the field toward the identical Husky and Cougar treat piles made up of hay, apples, bamboo, football-shaped icepops, papier-mache team helmets and oversized papier-mache apples stuffed with biscuits and more apples. Ignoring the boos from the Husky fans in the crowd, Chai went straight to the Cougar pile first—the action that made her pick of the Cougs official. She munched through much of the Cougar goodies before turning to the Husky pile and snacking on those treats too.


Those of us watching tried to find meanin…

Saving Washington Wolves

Posted by: Fred Koontz, Field Conservation; Sue Andersen, Zookeeper



Since their arrival last April, Woodland Park Zoo's new gray wolves have been delighting visitors with their majestic appearance and playful behavior. The four canids, all female, are an important way for the zoo to help tell the story about this important and endangered species from the Northwest. It also very timely, as the state Fish and Wildlife Commission is considering a state-wide wolf conservation and management plan—a proposal that Woodland Park Zoo supports.

Why Conserve Wolves?
Gray wolves, also called timber wolves, historically were found throughout North America, but they were relentlessly pursued and killed so that by the mid-1930s wolves were on the verge of extinction in the lower 48 states. Following their 1973 listing as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act, wildlife management efforts have enabled wolves to make a comeback in the Great Lakes and northern Rockies. Biologists esti…

Bid on zoo experiences at holiday auction

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


Despite the fact that I’m still munching on leftover Halloween candy, I know the holiday season has arrived now that our Enrichment Giving Trees for the animals are going up and our zookeepers’ annual holiday gift auction is coming this Fri., Nov. 18.

Holiday Auction
If you are looking for an extraordinary gift that you can’t buy online or from a mall, check out Woodland Park Zoo’s Holiday Silent Auction this Friday to bid on a host of cool gifts including behind-the-scenes animal tours. You’ll get to pick from unforgettable experiences like going behind the scenes to watch an elephant bath, taking a photo with a raptor, or meeting an orangutan up close.

The silent auction is put on by the Puget Sound Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (PS-AAZK) and will take place inside the zoo’s Education Center (near the South Entrance) on Fri., Nov. 18. Guaranteed bidding will be from noon to 2:00 p.m., and the silent auction continues f…

Black and white and fishy all over

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications



Have you ever wanted to feed a penguin just like our keepers get to do every day?

Here’s your chance to feed our tuxedo-clad birds!

Our Humboldt penguin feeding opportunity kicked off this month and is now available daily through April 1.

Each day from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (or until daily fish supply is depleted), visitors will have the opportunity to add a penguin feeding experience to their zoo visit. For $5, you’ll get to feed the zoo’s charismatic Humboldt penguins a handful of tasty fish and experience these endangered birds hand to beak.

You can pre-purchase your feeding opportunity at the West Entrance when you arrive (located at Phinney Ave. N. between N. 55th and N. 56th streets) or head over to the penguin exhibit and purchase the upgraded experience while you are there (cash only when purchasing at the exhibit).

We have received wonderful feedback from our visitors who have had the unforgettable experience of feeding giraffe…