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Showing posts from November, 2011

New feathers on the block

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

Meet the new feathers on the block: the newest group of birds that now call Woodland Park Zoo home.
Lola is a 3-year-old, female Aplomado falcon. She is currently at the Raptor Center being trained by her keepers to become part of the free-flight raptor program and will make her debut in the show this December.
Olga, a female Steller’s sea eagle, is now on view at Northern Trail where she lives with the zoo’s male Steller’s sea eagle.

This male falcated duck can be found in the Temperate Forest marsh.

A male and two female fulvous whistling ducks can be found in the Temperate Forest marsh.

A female brown booby has joined the Humboldt penguin colony. For now, she is outdoors when weather is permitting but she will become more visible as the weather warms.

Photos by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

From the Tour Guide’s Side of the Zoo

Posted by: Jennifer Larsen, Real Close Tour Guide and Tourism Marketing Coordinator


I joined Woodland Park Zoo’s marketing team in late March, and 8+ months later it still is such a thrill to call this my place of employment! Having grown up in the Seattle area, I’ve been coming to Woodland Park Zoo since I was a toddler, and it has been an amazing experience to develop a tour program to share that sense of wonder with both visitors to Seattle, as well as zoo members and more frequent guests.

Putting together the itinerary and content for our Real Close tour program which launched this year, I had the chance to meet people from all across the zoo’s departments including Animal Management, Education, Admissions, Horticulture, Animal Health, and Guest Services. Thanks to all of them, I am able to weave together stories, facts and anecdotes that entertain and inform our guests as I lead them around our award-winning exhibits.

This past summer marked our first season of Real Close tours…

Chai picks Cougs to win Apple Cup

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


For the second year in a row, Asian elephant Chai made her prediction for who will win the Apple Cup. Last year her pick of University of Washington proved accurate when the Huskies won. This year she picked the Washington State University Cougars to win. Do you think her prediction will prove true or will Chai have broken her perfect record of one?



The wind and rain this morning didn’t stop a food-seeking Chai from bounding onto the field toward the identical Husky and Cougar treat piles made up of hay, apples, bamboo, football-shaped icepops, papier-mache team helmets and oversized papier-mache apples stuffed with biscuits and more apples. Ignoring the boos from the Husky fans in the crowd, Chai went straight to the Cougar pile first—the action that made her pick of the Cougs official. She munched through much of the Cougar goodies before turning to the Husky pile and snacking on those treats too.


Those of us watching tried to find meanin…

Saving Washington Wolves

Posted by: Fred Koontz, Field Conservation; Sue Andersen, Zookeeper



Since their arrival last April, Woodland Park Zoo's new gray wolves have been delighting visitors with their majestic appearance and playful behavior. The four canids, all female, are an important way for the zoo to help tell the story about this important and endangered species from the Northwest. It also very timely, as the state Fish and Wildlife Commission is considering a state-wide wolf conservation and management plan—a proposal that Woodland Park Zoo supports.

Why Conserve Wolves?
Gray wolves, also called timber wolves, historically were found throughout North America, but they were relentlessly pursued and killed so that by the mid-1930s wolves were on the verge of extinction in the lower 48 states. Following their 1973 listing as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act, wildlife management efforts have enabled wolves to make a comeback in the Great Lakes and northern Rockies. Biologists esti…

Bid on zoo experiences at holiday auction

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


Despite the fact that I’m still munching on leftover Halloween candy, I know the holiday season has arrived now that our Enrichment Giving Trees for the animals are going up and our zookeepers’ annual holiday gift auction is coming this Fri., Nov. 18.

Holiday Auction
If you are looking for an extraordinary gift that you can’t buy online or from a mall, check out Woodland Park Zoo’s Holiday Silent Auction this Friday to bid on a host of cool gifts including behind-the-scenes animal tours. You’ll get to pick from unforgettable experiences like going behind the scenes to watch an elephant bath, taking a photo with a raptor, or meeting an orangutan up close.

The silent auction is put on by the Puget Sound Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (PS-AAZK) and will take place inside the zoo’s Education Center (near the South Entrance) on Fri., Nov. 18. Guaranteed bidding will be from noon to 2:00 p.m., and the silent auction continues f…

Black and white and fishy all over

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications



Have you ever wanted to feed a penguin just like our keepers get to do every day?

Here’s your chance to feed our tuxedo-clad birds!

Our Humboldt penguin feeding opportunity kicked off this month and is now available daily through April 1.

Each day from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (or until daily fish supply is depleted), visitors will have the opportunity to add a penguin feeding experience to their zoo visit. For $5, you’ll get to feed the zoo’s charismatic Humboldt penguins a handful of tasty fish and experience these endangered birds hand to beak.

You can pre-purchase your feeding opportunity at the West Entrance when you arrive (located at Phinney Ave. N. between N. 55th and N. 56th streets) or head over to the penguin exhibit and purchase the upgraded experience while you are there (cash only when purchasing at the exhibit).

We have received wonderful feedback from our visitors who have had the unforgettable experience of feeding giraffe…

Being 5: Snow leopard edition

Posted by: Nora Venne, Education


Our look at the life of 5-year-olds continues in honor of Zoomazium’s big 5th birthday. In this post, zookeepers shed some light on what life is like for a 5-year-old snow leopard.

Q: Human children at age 5 are still very young and completely dependent on their families for care. Give us a brief description of what life looks like for a snow leopard. Is age 5 young or older for this animal?

A: At 3 years of age, our male snow leopard Tom had all ready consummated a relationship and at 4 years of age he was a father of two! Next year at age 5 he will once again hopefully father more children. Cats mature very quickly. In captivity snow leopards can live to be 18, although some live longer and a very few live to 21. Scientists are still researching how long snow leopards live in the wild but a domestic housecat would be considered in its upper 30s in human years when it was 5.

Q: For humans, kindergarten is just starting at age 5. Sometimes we go to sch…

Being 5: Penguin Edition

Posted by: Nora Venne, Education



Happy 5th birthday, Zoomazium! We’re celebrating 5 years of child’s play in Zoomazium with a look this week at what it means to be 5 for humans and different animals. Then the party continues this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5 and 6, with cupcakes, live entertainment and birthday-themed activities at Zoomazium including enrichment treats for some of the zoo’s notable 5-year-old residents.

In this blog post, we spoke with penguin keepers at Woodland Park Zoo to learn more about what it is like to be 5 years old for a Humboldt penguin.

Q: Human children at age 5 are still very young and completely dependent on their families for care. Give us a brief description of what life looks like for a penguin. Is age 5 young or older for this animal?

A: Humboldt penguins are much further along in their maturity by age 5 than humans are. That’s because the average life span of a Humboldt penguin is around 20 – 25 years in the wild; 25 – 30 years in captivity. Penguin…

Seattle Sounders FC recruits zoo animal kickers

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications



Scarves up! Woodland Park Zoo’s animals put their soccer skills to work today as we rallied for the Seattle Sounders FC’s run for the MLS Cup playoffs.

The soccer ball kicking exhibition started with Rico, a 4-year-old Sicilian miniature donkey who recently joined the zoo’s Family Farm. Donning a Sounders scarf, Rico skillfully pushed his Sounders soccer ball all around his exhibit using his nose.

He used his mouth to get the ball out of the gutter and back onto the playing field. The ref is still out on whether that’s a legal move.

Next up was our frisky 2-year-old lion Adia who chased her ball all around the exhibit and even went after it when it splashed into the moat filled with water.

It didn’t take long for Adia to crush the ball with her bite and drag it back with her to her rock for safe keeping.

Five-year-old snow leopard Tom spent a good 5 minutes first rubbing his fur all over his soccer ball, enticed by the new scent it prese…