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Showing posts from April, 2011

Meet the dinosaurs

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications



Our limited-engagement “Dinosaurs. Real Close.” exhibit opens this weekend! We’d like to introduce you to the cast of characters you will encounter when you step back through time for a Mesozoic meetup with friends and family in the new exhibit.

Brachiosaurus was one of the tallest and largest dinosaurs at about 42-feet tall and 100-feet long. This late Jurassic vegetarian weighed in at 50 tons, which is equivalent to around 20 African elephants! If the Brachiosaurus sounds a bit gassy when you encounter it in the exhibit, consider how much food it must have had to eat every day to keep up its size—which also explains why fossil evidence suggests its poop could weigh more than a small car!

The crested Dilophosaurus looked fierce, but scientists tell us they likely appeared scarier than their bite. Dilophosaurus teeth and jaws were too weak to bring down or hold large prey. More likely their sharp claws and opposable thumbs would have been thei…

News from the field: A magnificent bird

Posted by: Jim Watson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Woodland Park Zoo Partner for Wildlife


Raptor Ecology of the Shrub-Steppe, a Woodland Park Zoo Partner for Wildlife, is a project of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to identify, track and study native raptors and their conservation threats. This is an update from the field...

The 2011 field season for Raptor Ecology of the Shrub-Steppe is just beginning, but it is a good time to reflect on the past season and the fresh outlook a new spring will bring. Many raptors will be returning to their nests after a long-winter, rejuvenated and prepared to start the nesting cycle again. Sadly, some raptors won’t return to their nests this spring as they may have in previous years, not having survived the challenges created by humans and natural hazards in their environments.

I’d like to relate a short story that honors the contribution of a particular ferruginous hawk to our research and illustrates how difficult surv…

Ocelot kitten takes first steps on exhibit

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


Three-month-old ocelot kitten Evita took her first steps out into her Tropical Rain Forest exhibit yesterday morning.

Evita has been bonding with mother Bella in a behind-the-scenes area since her birth in January. Yesterday marked the first time the kitten was given access to her full exhibit.

Her entry into the exhibit was tentative. She would climb the ramp that connects her behind-the-scenes space with the enclosure, poke her head into the exhibit and look around, but then retreat to her den behind-the-scenes.

After a few of those false starts, curiosity took hold and Evita eventually followed the calls of her mom and she entered the exhibit space. Evita stayed close to her mom the whole time as she explored this new place filled with plants and dirt and mist from above.

Evita spent most of her first hour looking around, taking in her new surroundings.

This first day of introductions to the exhibit went well, but Evita is not yet full-time in…

Drink coffee, save wildlife

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


Take a sip for a cause. Pick up a bag of the all new Zoo Special Reserve coffee at any Seattle Caffé Vita store and your daily cup of home-brewed joe will support Woodland Park Zoo and our work in animal care, conservation and education. That’s because for every bag of Zoo Special Reserve purchased at Caffé Vita, $1 will be donated to Woodland Park Zoo!

The Zoo Special Reserve coffee is well-balanced with aromas of cocoa and hazelnuts. It has a smooth, clean and sweet flavor. But more than being good to drink, it’s also good to the planet.

The eco-friendly coffee originates from a farm in the Santa Rosa district of Guatemala and is shade-grown, organic and Rainforest Alliance-certified. The farmers who grow this coffee promote biodiversity by setting aside over forty percent of their land as a nature reserve, which protects the habitats of native tropical animals and birds such as gray foxes, armadillos, anteaters, parrots and butterflies. T…

Sea eagle gets surgery for fractured bone

Posted by: Jane David, LVT, Hospital Manager, Animal Surgical Clinic of Seattle


Maybe it is just coincidence that “aguila” means “eagle” in Spanish, but when a Steller’s sea eagle from Woodland Park Zoo needed specialized surgery for a fractured bone, Dr. Alexander Aguila of the Animal Surgical Clinic of Seattle was ready!

On March 23rd, Dr. Darin Collins, Woodland Park Zoo Director of Animal Health, contacted the surgeons at Animal Surgical Clinic of Seattle regarding a potential fracture repair on the right wing of a Steller’s sea eagle named Natasha. Exhibited in the award-winning Northern Trail exhibit at the zoo, Natasha is the female of a breeding pair acquired in 2010. Steller’s sea eagles are among the largest and heaviest of the raptor family, and Natasha weighs in at 13 pounds with a wing-span of over 6 feet!

On the morning of March 22, Natasha (pictured in the background above) was found on the ground of her zoo enclosure. She appeared to be having difficulty maintaining he…

Young wolves join Northern Trail

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications


The sound of howls and yips may be heard through the zoo as a pack of 1-year-old gray wolves explore their new home in our award-winning Northern Trail exhibit. The four canids, all female, were born at New York State Zoo and arrived at Woodland Park last September. After a 30-day standard quarantine, the wolves have spent the last several months in an off-view enclosure getting acclimated to their new surroundings and routine. Last week they took their first steps out into their exhibit at Northern Trail and have adjusted well.
The wolves are conservation ambassadors representing the complex and volatile story of the return of the wolf to Washington state and the challenges their endangered cousins in the wild face.

Although the wolves are nearly full grown, ranging from 75-85 pounds, they are young and still very curious and active. The best way to observe them is to stand quietly and watch the natural behaviors of a wolf pack. They are hiera…

Li’l T on the town

Yesterday we found a baby Tyrannosaurus rex stowed away with some other dinosaurs that arrived to be installed in our new “Dinosaurs. Real Close.” exhibit. With its mother following behind in the next truck not expected to arrive for another full day, we thought we’d take Li’l T out on the town for some sightseeing and adventure.
My Travels Posted by: Li’l T, appearing in “Dinosaurs. Real Close.” opening April 30
The folks at Woodland Park Zoo were kind enough to take me on a tour of their town yesterday. I got the full Seattle experience with gray skies and rain, but that didn’t get in the way of my travels. Trust me, the Late Cretaceous was a much harsher climate.
I took a ton of photos on my adventure and want to share some favorites with you. My trip started downtown…

Oh, cool! Seattle has its own herd of brachiosaurs on the waterfront. Who'd have guessed?
Nom nom nom. Your architecture is delicious, Seattle. Nice and crunchy.

Oh hey, it’s the Mariners. I know those guys: Mosa…

First of the dinos arrive

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications



Edmontosaurus, Brachiosaurus and Styracosaurus took a long road trip from Texas this weekend and arrived at the zoo this morning to check out their new summer digs. They’ll be joined by Tyrannosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Parasaurolophus and Euoplocephalus arriving tomorrow. Then we’ll spiff up the place, do some planting over the next few weeks and have the exhibit ready to welcome guests come April 30 when our Dinosaurs exhibit opens to you all!

As we unloaded today the animatronic dinos that move, snarl and hiss, zoo visitors couldn’t help but crowd around to see the new arrivals.

While our keepers spend a lot of time using operant conditioning to train our animals to respond to cues and shift between areas—allowing the animals to be active participants in their own care—we found the easiest way to coax a hefty Edmontosaurus into a spot where you want her is just to use a forklift.

Styracosaurus and Edmontosaurus took the road trip up to Seattle w…