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Showing posts from March, 2011

Goodbye Gobi

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham and Gigi Allianic, Communications Over the past two years, we have all watched snow leopard cubs Gobi and Batu grow and explore—from their precious first weeks , to their big debut , their first birthday and their participation in a smelly study to help track wild snow leopards. But now we’re preparing to say goodbye to Gobi, our male juvenile who is 2 years old and ready to move on to a new home at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure in Salina, Kansas. Gobi—who got his name from more than 35,000 votes cast by zoo fans —has been recommended to move as part of a cooperative breeding management program known as the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP). SSPs work to ensure genetic diversity and healthy populations. The SSP does not have immediate plans to breed Gobi, but this is an appropriate age for him to make his departure following the natural course of how snow leopards live in the wild. Snow leopards are essentially solitary animals and it is

Ocelot kitten acing exams

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications Ocelot kitten Evita is acing her exams. At her 9-week exam last Monday, animal health staff gave Evita another clean bill of health. These regular exams, part of the zoo's preventive health program, allow us to monitor Evita's progress and make sure she's achieving critical benchmarks. Evita is indeed hitting all of her developmental stages on target, and she's growing and gaining weight as expected. Animal health staff keeps the exams quick and efficient to minimize the amount of time Evita is away from her mother, Bella. After the exam, she's quickly returned to Bella in a behind the scenes area at the Tropical Rain Forest exhibit. Mom and kitty share a strong bond and Evita's progress is evidence of the great maternal care that Bella is providing. We expect to introduce Evita on exhibit with her mother in another few weeks—aiming for mid- to late-April. We'll let you know when she is ready to make he

Dinos roar back to life

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications This summer, dinosaurs are making a comeback! We’ll be opening a limited-engagement exhibit on April 30 that takes you on a journey back in time to discover life-size, animatronic dinosaurs that roar, snarl, hiss, spit and move. There will be 10 dinosaurs representing seven species that once roamed our continent throughout the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods—from a 19-foot-tall herbivore Brachiosaurus to a full-size, fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex . The latest scientific research reveals that these beasts may have been adorned with brilliant colors, scales and fins. We’re having a lot of fun working with the dino creators, Billings Productions, Inc., to reflect that in the look we’re giving our dinos. Here’s a sneak peek at the creative coloration we’re giving the juvenile Styracosaurus —does it remind you of the colors of a certain zoo animal when it is young? Dinos ruled for millions of years and this exhibit will explore the fascinating adapt

Joey journeys out of pouch

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications The last time we showed you wallaroo Fergie’s joey, it was just barely peeking out of its mother’s pouch. But now we have video of the first sighting of Fergie’s joey fully outside of the pouch! You can find Fergie and her joey, which was born last September, on public view in the zoo’s Australasia exhibit . Fergie can be identified by the green tag in her right ear, and though there's no guarantee, with some luck and patience, you might just get a glimpse of the joey too. Photos and video by Wendy Gardner/Woodland Park Zoo.

An ode to the grizzly

Posted by: Roxanne Murphy, Community Relations Currently, I'm having a great time going through the Woodland Park Zoo's docent training program. Since I've only been with the zoo for nine months, words can't express how much there is to learn to even try to catch up with my co-workers. This training has afforded me the opportunity to develop a more intimate understanding of our animals , exhibits , horticulture , education and conservation efforts . Best of all, it's fun, and it has introduced me to such dedicated, smart and passionate volunteers and animal and conservation advocates. One of our core assigments was to develop a brief presentation about one of the Woodland Park Zoo's Partners for Wildlife . Lucky for me, our team got the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project . Personally and professionally, I love grizzlies so much that part of my contribution to the presentation included writing a poem about them. We delivered the poem last Saturday and it received l

Ocelot kitten gets check-up…and a name

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications Time for an ocelot kitten update! The kitten recently got a clean bill of health during an examination by our animal health staff. She weighs in at just over 3.4 pounds, is healthy, active and now has a name! Meet the feisty Evita… Regular examinations like the one seen in the above new video are part of our preventive health program for the thousand-plus animals under the zoo’s care. Evita will continue to undergo a series of exams for the next couple of months to ensure she’s achieving acceptable weight gains and other important benchmarks. Evita is now 8 weeks old and is still living with mom Bella in a quiet and safe behind-the-scenes area. We know you are itching to see her in person and the latest update is that we can expect to see her out on exhibit in the Tropical Rain Forest building some time in mid- to late-April. To minimize disturbance for Bella and Evita while they remain behind the scenes, zookeepers are using a closed-circuit

West Entrance goes green, gets Gold

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications It’s fitting on this St. Patrick’s Day that our news is about green and gold. We’re proud to announce that our new West Entrance has just achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green building certification system! Our West Entrance opened last summer to make the visitor experience more efficient and convenient, with lots of helpful amenities including bathrooms, rentals, member services and even a shade-grown coffee cart. But the green features of the entrance are perhaps a bit harder to see on the surface. The entrance was actually designed with sustainability in mind—from energy-efficient buildings, to low-flow toilets, and Forest Steward Council-certified wood used on exterior siding. The rainwater infiltration system in the entrance was built to prevent the runoff of approximately 975,000 gallons of stormwater a year, reducing the chance of overflow from the c

Faces of wonder

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications Betty White helped us kick off our campaign for More Wonder More Wild with a video last week. But the campaign continues with some other special faces--the children of our community who delight in and are inspired by the nature experiences they get through Woodland Park Zoo. In their own words, kids reflect on what the zoo and wildlife mean to them in our latest video : Sign up for our e-news to follow the progress of More Wonder More Wild and get zoo updates on animals, events and special discounts. Thanks for your support!

Tigers and bears, oh my!

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications I’m so excited about this one that I have typed and retyped a dozen starts to this blog post and think the best approach is just to shout it out: NEW TIGER AND ASIAN BEAR EXHIBITS…COMING SOON! This morning at our annual Thrive fundraiser a tremendous gift came to the zoo from an anonymous donor—a $4 million challenge gift toward building a new tiger and Asian bear exhibit complex and completing the zoo’s More Wonder More Wild comprehensive fundraising campaign! This is the largest challenge gift in zoo history and we’re so excited for the momentum it gives us as we launch the news to you all about this new exhibit complex we plan to build. And check out who else is on board... We’re still in the earliest stage of conceptual design for the exhibits (the drawing up above is one artist’s concept rendering). We’re putting together plans to replace the 60-year-old infrastructure that tigers and Asian bears inhabit now. We’ll be transforming this

Animal spotlight: Pete, the gentleman of gorillas

Posted by: Carolyn Austin Sellar, Zookeeper This is the third entry in our new Animal Spotlight series... For as long as many of you may remember, Pete the male silverback gorilla, has headed up our Gorilla Group 1 . This year Pete turned 43 and is the oldest male gorilla at Woodland Park Zoo. Despite having some of the typical complaints of old age, including arthritis and yes, even developing a bald spot (I know hair loss for a male can be embarrassing), Pete is in relatively good health considering his age. The average life span for gorillas in captivity is late 30s to early 40s with females living longer than males. In the wild, it is roughly 30-35 years. The longest living captive gorilla on record was 55 (a female). Although Pete is well into his golden years, he is still going strong. He has always been, and continues to be, the gentleman gorilla and always says “Thank you, tastes good!” by way of his grunts of contentment while he eats. When Pete first came to Woodland Park Zo

Reasons for hope

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications Mayor McGinn proclaimed March 7-11 “Woodland Park Zoo Field Conservation Week.” The proclamation ushers in a huge week for Woodland Park Zoo’s growing role in conservation as we host an international conservation conference and summit this week. Nearly 250 zoo and aquarium conservationists, field biologists, wildlife agencies, and conservation organizations from 23 different countries and disciplines will come together for the biennial Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation (ZACC) conference. The conference brings together some of the most successful field conservationists to share knowledge and findings, build stronger conservation bridges between wildlife and local communities, and establish direct links to zoos, aquariums and their stakeholders. The need for conservation solutions is more urgent than ever. On a global scale, the planet’s precious wildlife is facing the worst extinction crisis since the dinosaurs vanished 65 million y