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Showing posts from October, 2011

Earn your Master's the wild way

Posted by: Jenny Mears, Education


Are you an educator interested in earning your Master’s degree with Woodland Park Zoo as your campus? Would you like to join formal and informal educators from around Puget Sound and the world in building a strong foundation in ecological literacy, inquiry-based learning and field investigation?
Instructors learn through observation at Woodland Park Zoo's award-winning Humboldt penguin exhibit. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.
If so, Woodland Park Zoo and Project Dragonfly from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio are thrilled to introduce you to the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP), an exciting new Master’s program for educators. Co-delivered by Woodland Park Zoo professional education staff and faculty at Miami University, the AIP combines graduate courses at the zoo with web-based learning communities that connect you to a broad network of educators and community leaders.
Foundations of Inquiry students test whether the water strider they create…

Endangered snakes hatch, set out for release

Posted by: Peter S. Miller, Zookeeper



“Is it safe to come out yet? Not yet, maybe tomorrow.” These are the thoughts that might arise in the brain of a Louisiana pine snake hatchling. It is a chance decision that could mean your life or death in the wild.

Such is the beginning of life for an endangered Louisiana pine snake. Next thoughts: hide or eat. When your serpentine undulations would signal a nearby predator that a tasty meal has just emerged from a clutch of eggs under the soil, stealth is critical…but so is breakfast! As the old adage goes, “eat or be eaten.”

The Louisiana pine snake, Pituophis ruthveni, is a species under threat from habitat alteration of its native longleaf pine forest in the southeastern United States. This species has just increased its numbers on planet Earth by two, thanks to hatchlings that emerged late this summer at Woodland Park Zoo’s Day Exhibit. This accomplishment might not sound like much, but when your species is rare in the wild and is represe…

Meet the zoo’s wolf pack

Posted by: Fred Koontz, Field Conservation; Sue Andersen and Amy Brandt, Zookeepers


For Wolf Awareness Week, we’re giving you a glimpse into the fascinating dynamics within the zoo’s pack of wolves living in our award-winning Northern Trail exhibit.

Did you know Woodland Park Zoo has had wolves in its collection for more than 60 years? The zoo’s wolves serve a critical role as ambassadors for their wild counterparts.

The current pack consists of four female litter mates born at New York State Zoo in April 2010. They have four distinct personalities. When you next visit the zoo, see if you can identify them from their pack behavior:

Doba is the pack's "alpha" or most dominant wolf. She is often visible in the front and center of the exhibit, where she can keep track of the other wolves. If you see a wolf gathering bones or toys that is likely to be Doba!

Shila is the pack's most submissive member. She spends most of her time lying a bit distant from the pack or in…

Vote online to help protect snow leopards

Posted by: Brad Rutherford, Snow Leopard Trust – a Woodland Park Zoo conservation partner


Dear friends of Woodland Park Zoo and wildlife—

One of our conservation partners, Seattle-based Snow Leopard Trust, has an opportunity to win $20,000 for conservation as a finalist in the BBC World Challenge. Your vote can help them win this incredible prize that will protect endangered snow leopards and improve the lives of the people who share snow leopard habitat throughout Central Asia.

Here’s Snow Leopard Trust’s executive director, Brad Rutherford, with the story behind the Trust and this exciting opportunity for zoo fans to vote and make a difference…

- Woodland Park Zoo

Across the vast mountains of Mongolia, snow leopards have been seen as an enemy by herders for generations. However, this all started to change in 1998 when two researchers sat down with herders and really tried to understand their challenges. While drinking tea and listening, it became clear that as long as herders were on…

Animal Spotlight: Update on Naku

Posted by: Carolyn Sellar, Zookeeper



In February we blogged about the departure of gorilla Naku from Woodland Park Zoo to start a new family in Milwaukee. Here’s an update on how she’s transitioning!

The entertaining and rambunctious Naku, a 10-year-old female western lowland gorilla, went to Milwaukee County Zoo at the end of June to begin a new family with Cassius, Milwaukee’s 25-year-old resident male. She had a very smooth flight there and after her standard quarantine at the zoo, she was transferred to their gorilla unit where introductions are now in progress.

The introductions have been going very well and Naku is now part of a group with both Cassius (shown above) and another female named Femelle. She spends all day with both the other gorillas, and for now spends the night just with Femelle, but soon they will all be spending the night together. In fact, it is often difficult to separate Naku from Cassius! She must be smitten!

If things progress the way they have, Naku sho…

Frogs leap to recovery in Washington state

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications


More than 1,000 endangered frogs started their journey back into the Washington wild yesterday.

Populations of the native Oregon spotted frog have been decimated by 80 to 90 percent in our own backyard. But thanks to a multi-institutional recovery project, nearly 1,200 frogs were released yesterday into the wild at a protected site to help restore their populations in Washington state.

These frogs start their lives as eggs collected from wetlands by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists. The biologists send the eggs to us and other rearing facilities including Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Oregon Zoo, and Cedar Creek Corrections Center. Our role is to hatch and rear these frogs to give them a safe, predator-free home during those crucial first months when they transform from tadpole to full fledged frog.

We’re essentially giving these frogs a head start on survival, allowing them to grow in safety until they are large enough …