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Showing posts from May, 2011

Patas monkey doing well after surgery

Posted by: Martin Ramirez, Animal Curator





Kyle in his exhibit after surgery. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.
If you have been out to the African Savanna exhibit recently, you may have noticed a change—one of our patas monkeys now has only one arm. We thought you might have some questions about what happened to him, so we’d like to share with you his story.

Kyle, a 6-year-old, male patas monkey, was recently being treated for a severe infection in the bones around his right shoulder. After the usual antibiotic treatments failed to stop the spread of the infection—jeopardizing his overall health—our keeper staff, animal health team and consulting veterinarians from the Animal Surgical Clinic determined the best course of action would be to amputate Kyle’s right limb.



Kyle (left) with partner Alexa. Photo by Anne Nichols/Woodland Park Zoo.
Why amputation? Not only would it rid Kyle’s body of the infection quickly, but it would also prevent the return of the life-threatening blood inf…

Metal detector saves a penguin's life

Posted by: Mark Myers, Animal Curator


Metal detectors and body scans—not just for airports any more! This is the story of how a penguin’s life was saved by these technologies right here at Woodland Park Zoo.
TSA gone too far? Nope, just a zookeeper demonstrating how we use a metal detector on penguins. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.
Last week, zookeepers observed that one of our penguin juveniles was not feeling well. Diablo, hatched last year, had not been eating regularly and was losing weight.

Diablo’s keepers suspected he may have ingested a foreign body that was causing blockage for him. So they brought him behind the scenes and used a metal detector wand to determine if he had ingested any coins or other metal objects. Trust me, it’s not easy metal detecting on a penguin! You have to be careful to hold the penguin away from anything that might give a false positive, and penguins, well, they can fidget. But sure enough, once the keepers got Diablo into place and waved the …

Zoo helps “Make A Wish” come true

Posted by: Lorna Chin, External Relations


Over a year ago, 6-year-old Olivia was diagnosed with Astrocytoma, a type of brain tumor. It's been a year of tests, surgeries and procedures and Olivia has survived the odds—the fact that she can walk and talk after her surgery last year shocked even the doctors. When the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central and Northern Florida, the nonprofit that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions, told Olivia she could wish for anything, she wished to come to Seattle so she could spend time with her family, some of whom she hadn’t seen since she was born. One of the places she wanted to visit with them while in Seattle was Woodland Park Zoo, so Olivia's aunt, uncle, two cousins and grandmother came down from Vancouver, Canada to meet her here.

What we didn't know was that while in the hospital, Olivia told her mom that she just wanted to visit penguins. As good fortune would have it, that's exactly the experie…

Learn how to live with wildlife

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


With recent bear sightings in Bothell and Renton, and the start of camping and cook-out season, we want to make sure you are prepared with essential tips for living with wildlife here in the Pacific Northwest. We’re dedicating June 4 to a day of programming that will show you how to avoid attracting bears to your home and campsite, while also showing you how to attract wildlife you do want to your backyard, including birds and butterflies.

Join us June 4 for our annual Bear Affair and Big Howl for Wolves presented by Brown Bear Car Wash. You’ll meet bear ecologist and adventurer Chris Morgan who’ll make a guest appearance for bear demonstrations and a book signing. Watch grizzlies rip through a mock campsite and a yard setting in the naturalistic grizzly bear exhibit. Learn safety camping tips by Boy Scouts. Talk to representatives from Wolf Haven International and Conservation Northwest. Get up close to a Karelian bear dog and find out how t…

Zoo takes in smuggled tarantulas

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


You may have seen in the news this week that a convicted German man was sentenced to prison in a case of illegal live tarantula smuggling. What you may not realize is that the tarantulas that survived the smuggling are now being cared for at Woodland Park Zoo.

Here’s what happened: In March 2010, federal agents intercepted an international attempt to smuggle nearly 300 live tarantulas in a sting operation called (no joke) “Operation Spiderman.” Agents found several different kinds of tarantulas, including species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), in the intercepted package.

The confiscated tarantulas were sent to Woodland Park Zoo last year where we have given them a temporary home in a behind-the-scenes area of our Bug World exhibit. Since the tarantulas had been considered evidence in the case, we have not been able to tell you about them until now. In effect, these tarantulas were in witn…

Then and Now: Monkey Island

Posted by: Ric Brewer, Communications


For long-time Seattle residents, you have probably experienced first hand the difference between Woodland Park Zoo seen on the left approximately 50 years ago and today’s zoo seen on the right.

The side-by-side comparison above shows how profoundly different a type of exhibit the old Monkey Island (seen here circa the mid 1960s) on the left is from the same space after major modifications that now makes up the lemur exhibit—part of our Tropical Rain Forest—seen on the right.

Monkey Island was a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project completed in the early 1940s. It housed several different species of monkeys over the years and old-timers might recall the bright yellow schoolhouse that perched at the summit of the faux rock, complete with a bell that the monkeys would ring. As zoos evolved into organizations that actively championed environmental causes, exhibits such as this began to be replaced with exhibits much more evocative of the habita…

Name our new squeeze

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


UPDATE (5/23) - Nearly 400 people submitted name ideas and after narrowing it down to our top 5 choices, "Kaa" came out the winner with 44% of the vote! You can come meet "Kaa" (named for the Jungle Book character) in the Day Exhibit.

We’ve got a big, new squeeze at the zoo—a 100-pound, 8-year-old male reticulated python now on view in the Day Exhibit. We need your help to name him!

We’re collecting your name suggestions via our Facebook page through May 13, noon PST (complete instructions on our Facebook page). Zookeepers will select their five favorite names from the submissions and fans will then vote on May 17 on the zoo’s Facebook page for their top pick.

The reticulated python is the longest snake in the world, with some rare specimens exceeding 30 feet in length and weighing 300 pounds, though its average size is 10 to 20 feet in length. As a constrictor, the python is not venomous but kills its prey by wrapping arou…

Ocelot kitten learns to fish

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


Last week, 16-week-old ocelot kitten Evita learned about water. First we added still water to her exhibit and she did not hesitate to splash around in it. Then we turned on the exhibit's stream to get her used to running water. And last Friday we put live trout in the stream to give Evita her very first fishing experience.



Evita stayed close to her mother, Bella, watching Bella's moves before trying some out on her own. In the above video you'll also see her exploring all around her exhibit as she becomes more adventurous and curious each day.

Have you seen Evita out on exhibit yet? Her most active times seem to be between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Look for her in the award-winning Tropical Rain Forest exhibit.

Penguin chicks make debut

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


Five Humboldt penguin chicks hatched this past February and took their first steps out into their exhibit on Monday morning.

The chicks, who practiced swimming behind the scenes in a secure pool room before their debut, took to the water quickly and have been exploring all around their exhibit.



The colony is adjusting well to the new additions, which are significant hatchings for the penguin Species Survival Plan. Humboldt penguins are an endangered species and here at the zoo these birds are important conservation ambassadors to teach visitors about the impacts humans have on penguins in their range countries.

You can tell the chicks apart from the adults by looking for their lighter, more grayish plumage. Look for them during your next visit!

Photos by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. Video by Erika Schultz, courtesy Seattle Times.

Bears of the last frontier

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications



Join one of Woodland Park Zoo’s Partners for Wildlife, Chris Morgan of the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project-GBOP, as he takes us on a motorcycle odyssey and gets up close and personal with the bears of Alaska in the PBS Nature special Bears of the Last Frontier. The special three-part series premieres on three consecutive Sundays, beginning May 8, 2011 at 8 p.m. on KCTS 9 (check PBS Nature for other local listings).


Watch the full episode. See more Nature.
The program spotlights adventurer and bear ecologist Chris Morgan on a year-long, 3,000-mile exploration into bear country across the length of five dramatically diverse Alaskan ecosystems: coastal, urban, mountain, tundra and pack ice.

You’ll have a chance to meet Chris when he joins us for the zoo’s annual Bear Affair & Big Howl for Wolves on Saturday, June 4. The awareness event will highlight a couple of presentations by Chris as our grizzly bears tear through a mock-up campsite and back…

Animal spotlight: Kelang

Posted by: Helen Shewman, Collection Manager



Kelang the Malayan tapir has plenty of likes:
- She likes to wander around in her exhibit eating leaves from the plants and trees
- She likes to eat watermelon, apples, yams, carrots, and especially bananas and blueberries
- She likes to nap in the afternoon after she has had her snack
- She likes to swim in her pool

But now one of her likes is helping to protect her wild counterparts. That’s because Kelang also likes to paint, and her painting is being used to raise funds for the Tapirs Supporting Tapirs project, part of the Tapir Specialist Group’s efforts to study, protect and raise awareness for tapir conservation. Tapir Specialist Group is one of more than 35 conservation programs in 50 countries worldwide that Woodland Park Zoo supports.

Painting is a favorite enrichment activity for Kelang. She naturally tends to manipulate objects with her nose, so when she was given paint, she right away started playing with it, dipping in with her…