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Showing posts from July, 2011

Endangered turtle found in Edmonds will get second chance in wild

Posted by: Mark Myers, Curator When a recovered turtle found in Edmonds, Washington turned out to be a representative of an endangered native turtle species, Woodland Park Zoo got the call to assist. Partnering with the Washington Deparment of Fish and Wildlife, Woodland Park Zoo has been involved with the Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project for 20 years, but in that time only rarely have we seen cases of western pond turtles being found in this state outside of protected habitats. The turtle was found on a road in Edmonds and picked up by a family that brought it to the Just Frogs and Friends Amphibian Center. From there the amphibian center contacted Woodland Park Zoo. We don’t know how the turtle got to Edmonds or out on that road, though judging from its comfort around people, it may have been a pet at one point. Woodland Park Zoo was brought into the mix to perform a health assessment of the turtle to determine its potential to be released into protected wild habitat

Five ways to save native turtles

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project, which is working to bring native turtles back from the brink of extinction in Washington state. Woodland Park Zoo plays a major role in the recovery effort, a collaborative project that also includes partners at Oregon Zoo , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service , and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife . At WPZ, we headstart endangered western pond turtle hatchlings at the zoo, giving them a chance to grow in safety until they are large enough to avoid being eaten by predators. Then each year we release these headstarted turtles back into protected habitat in Washington state to help re-establish a self-sustaining wild population. When this program started 20 years ago, there were only 150 wild western pond turtles left in Washington state. Now, thanks to these conservation efforts, those numbers are up to 1,500. We’re honored to play this unique role

Porcupine pair gets vet check-up

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications Molly and Oliver, our newly arrived 3-month-old porcupines , had a check-up with our vet team this week. The exam, part of their standard 30-day-quarantine, included taking radiographs, blood samples, and weights. The animal health team deemed the two healthy and fit. Vets also inspected the bodies of the porcupines, which are covered with long hairs and quills. An adult porcupine is covered with 30,000 or more quills, with only its snout, throat, belly and feet pads exposed. The young pair is getting ready to move to their Northern Trail exhibit where they will be making a public debut in just a few weeks. This health exam helps to give us some baseline data so we can track how well they are doing once they get out there and as they grow and mature. Regular examinations are a part of the excellent animal care and preventive health program for the more than one thousand animals under the zoo’s care. We’ll update again when Molly a

Join a wildlife tour of the Duwamish River

Posted by: Jenny Mears, Education One overcast day in November 2007, I embarked on a boat tour of the Duwamish River to learn more about the natural, cultural and political history of this local Superfund site . While cruising from Harbor Island to Turning Basin—the northern to the southern limits of the Superfund designation—I learned how this river transformed from an estuary with thousands of acres of tidal flats and riparian habitat to an industrial site in which less than two percent of natural habitat remains. From my guide, a representative of Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, I also learned about the amazing alliance of communities, tribes, environmental organizations and businesses involved in cleanup and outreach efforts, including habitat restoration events, festivals, and youth programs. I also got to hear the incredibly inspiring story of John Beal, a Vietnam veteran who, after being told he had four months to live due to heart problems, decided to use that time to c

Growing up snowy

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications The snowy owlet that hatched in June is doing well and growing fast. It has begun to venture away from the nest and is quite active, moving around its exhibit and taking food from keepers now. The chick had its first vet exam this week and weighed in at 3.3 pounds. Because of the decline in snowy owl populations due to West Nile virus, it was very important for this young bird to receive the first in a series of West Nile vaccinations during the exam. The vets also drew blood for DNA testing which will determine its sex—we’ll let you know when we get the results! The chick is still largely covered with downy feathers but is beginning to grow in its adult plumage that gives the snowy owl its well-known white coloration. Look for the fast-growing chick on exhibit now in the Northern Trail biome of Woodland Park Zoo. Photos by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

A prickly, porky new pair

Posted by Ric Brewer, Communications The world's third largest species of rodent will soon be making its appearance at Woodland Park Zoo. Can you guess what it is? Well, if you've looked below at the photos, you already know: the porcupine! Two young porcupines will soon join the other animals in our award-winning Northern Trail exhibit. The pair, Molly and Oliver, is approximately 3 months old and came from Weickert's Wildlife in Bent, Minnesota. Molly is the larger and darker of the two, and even though Oliver likes to try and push her around, Molly steadfastly stands her ground. They also have decidedly gourmet tastes, preferring willow branches over apple and delectable treats such as peanut butter. Porcupines (the term is derived from the Middle French porc espin meaning "quilled pig") are in the order Rodentia which also contains mice, rats, the South American capybara -- the largest rodent species -- mole-rats, and chinchillas, among others. Beaver, by the

Art, nature and the zoo

Posted by Ric Brewer, Communications Art and installations at Woodland Park Zoo help us celebrate animals in nature. Animals, of course, are the subject of an overwhelming majority of the sculptures and interpretive elements around the zoo's grounds. We use art to augment our messages of respect, and to convey the awe and wonder we feel in the presence of other species. Tony Angell's "Ravens" in the Northern Trail The art and installations chosen for inclusion here, many of which were part of the city's 1 Percent for Art program, others as pieces donated specifically for exhibits, or part of the interpretive portions of the exhibit, must meet standards of excellence and experiential learning in order to justify their inclusion, further our mission, and call our visitors to action to help preserve the Earth's wildlife and wild places. Rob Evans's tundra mural in the Tundra Center, Northern Trail Interpretive art also serves an important role in sup