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Showing posts from 2012

Top 12 of 2012

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

We’re counting down the zoo stories that made us smile, made us care, and made us take action this year. From fuzzy new faces at the zoo, to scaly new additions to the wild, all of these stories have been made possible because of your support. Thanks for an amazing 2012, and here’s to going wild in 2013!

12. Snowpocalypse

Remember Snowpocalypse 2012? The year got off to a snowy start, and—despite having to close the zoo for safety—we caught a number of zoo animals having fun romping around in the snow.
11. Turtles take a wild journey

When we released 90 native western pond turtles to a South Puget Sound protected habitat, it was the story of turtle "2" that brought home the big hope riding on these tiny turtles. Hope for an endangered species, hope for a recovering habitat, and hope for people finding a way to live sustainably with local wildlife.
10. The search for a mystery zoo hero

Abandoned by its parents, a penguin egg sat unprote…

A holiday gift: sloth bear birth

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

We’re capping off the year with yet another significant birth: an endangered sloth bear. Born Dec. 18, the tiny cub is off view with its mom, 7-year-old Tasha, in a behind-the-scenes maternity den. Dad, 16-year-old Randy, is staying in his own den right now, giving mom and cub their space to bond, which is a typical family structure for sloth bears.

To minimize any disturbance to the family, zookeepers are keeping their distance, monitoring the new family via an internal web cam to keep their eye on things and make sure the cub continues to nurse and bond with mom.

This is Tasha’s first cub, but her motherly instincts kicked in immediately. Right after the birth, she built two large mounds of hay in the maternity den to support the new cub. With the web cam set up, we are able to see the two bonding and can hear the cub vocalizing and nursing normally.

Sloth bears are born extremely small and blind at birth. They open their eyes at about …

Wonderfully Wild Wednesday: Snow leopards leaping

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

Snow leopards can leap up to 30 feet. That’s great for pouncing on prey but it is also useful when making your way around the rocky terrain these Central Asian animals call home.

You need serious jumping skills to navigate your way across ravines and between cliffs.

Wonderfully Wild Wednesday: Mountain goat

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

During digestion, microorganisms in the stomach of a ruminant (cud chewer) produce heat.

This helps keep mountain goats warm during the winter, and is probably the reason they rest on snow in their alpine habitat during the summer.

ZooCrew Part Two | Wolves: Fact vs. Fiction

Created by: ZooCrew High Point students Mishki, Julia, Giovani, Amman, Abiso and Jazmeiha

Note from the blog editor:

Our ZooCrew middle school program aims to give students a first-hand look at how fun and rewarding a career in science can be. This semester’s students got hands-on experience exploring several different science careers, from zookeeping to conservation education to science writing. 

A small group of students from our ZooCrew High Point program chose to spend their semester working on a video that educates viewers on facts and fictions about misunderstood wolves. The students researched the animals, came up with the video concept and script, and put their own voices into the story. Great work, ZooCrew!

ZooCrew: A day in the life of a wolf pup

Written by: ZooCrew Denny students—Cassie, Caitlin, Matea and Trevor

Note from the blog editor:
Our ZooCrew middle school program aims to give students a first-hand look at how fun and rewarding a career in science can be. This semester’s students got hands-on experience exploring several different science careers, from zookeeping to conservation education to science writing. 

A small group of students from our ZooCrew Denny program chose to spend their semester working on their science writing skills, and this blog post comes from an exercise they did in imagining themselves as wolf pups growing up in a pack. Congratulations to the ZooCrew students on a job well done! Here is their story:

Dear blog readers,

We are going to talk about a wolf pup’s life and what they have to go through in their life. So here we go.

Part one
We are the life structure of the pack. Our parents bring new life into the pack. The pack has to respect the rules of helping the rest of us grow up and become leaders…

Sunbittern chick: elegance in the making

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

With its long neck, trilling whistle, and stunning feather display that looks like eyes peering through the night, the sunbittern is one of the most elegant birds to call Woodland Park Zoo home. So picture that elegance-to-be when you see how it all starts:

This little sunbittern hatched on November 20, the first sunbittern hatchling at Woodland Park Zoo in close to 15 years.

Sunbittern babies at zoos are fairly rare, with probably only around 10 new hatchings a year at best. The hatchings are carefully planned as part of the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program across accredited zoos nationwide to ensure genetic diversity and population health.

This chick is being hand reared by our dedicated keepers in a behind the scenes area at our Tropical Rain Forest exhibit to ensure its best chance for survival. The egg was artificially incubated to prevent any chance of it rolling out of the elevated nest the sunbitterns maintain. Wh…

Lion cubs get first health check-up

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications

It’s a boy! And a girl! And a boy! And a girl!

Last week, our four lion cubs received their first health check-up and the exam revealed the quadruplets are healthy and that we have two males and two females on our hands.

Our team of veterinarians performed the exam, which included a weigh-in, fecal sampling and an overall assessment of their health. They’ll get the first of a series of vaccinations at the next exam coming up in a few weeks. The cubs turn four weeks old this Saturday.

Each cub weighs between 8 and 9 pounds, which is in the normal weight range for their age. Vets noted that the cubs had full, round bellies, meaning they’re nursing regularly. Adia continues to show excellent maternal skills, and she has herself some robust, healthy cubs.

Mom and cubs remain in an off-view maternity den that allows the family to bond in a quieter environment. The cubs will go out in the public exhibit when they are older and outdoor temperatures r…

New endangered turtle hatchlings

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

As a kid, the only turtles that really interested me lived in the dwellings of New York City, fought crime against the Foot Clan and exclaimed things like “Cowabunga!” Yep, I’m talking about these guys—the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Since then, my expectation of turtles hasn’t changed. They should be fierce fighters, find strength in numbers and ultimately, play a role in helping the world. It’s just that now, they are fighting extinction instead of foot soldiers, gaining numbers through captive breeding and head starting programs through zoos and conservation partners, and the important role they play on the planet is more ecologically significant than crime-fighting significant.

More than 50 percent of the world’s known turtle species are facing extinction, making these reptiles one of the most endangered groups of animals on the planet. Turtle extinction is a global phenomenon, but with another successful turtle breeding season at …

Preparing for the lion cubs' first vet exam

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

Lion momma Adia continues to do a great job behind the scenes caring for her four little cubs who turn three weeks old this Thursday. Adia is a conscientious groomer, which is a lot of work with four kitties on your hands (err, paws).

The cubs are two weeks old in this video. Video by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.
Later this week we’ll attempt the first veterinary check-up on the cubs to get a better assessment of their overall health and growth progress.

Keepers have been giving Adia the option to shift into her outdoor exhibit and away from the cubs for a few minutes a day, which helps to normalize the routine for her. That way when it is time for the vet check-up, Adia will be comfortable with shifting outside, allowing us brief access to the cubs for a lightning fast exam.

The most famous (visiting) reindeer of all

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

There were Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous visiting reindeer of all?

Lucky and Christi, two female reindeer, are making a guest appearance at the zoo for all six weeks of WildLights presented by KeyBank, the zoo's all new winter lights festival, opening tonight, Nov. 23.

And with nine other famous reindeer on your minds this holiday season, it’s only appropriate to honor each of them with nine fascinating facts about these sleigh-pulling beauties.

1. Reindeer are also known as caribou in North America. Though, many use “reindeer” to describe domesticated caribou.

2. Different species of caribou live throughout subarctic regions of Europe, Asia and North America. In the U.S., caribou inhabit the northern-most territories of the states and roam throughout all ten Canadian provinces. However, their populations are dwindling. Today, caribou are severely en…

Animal diets by the number

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

Imagine the amount of food it takes to feed your family every week. The average American eats nearly 40 pounds of food a week. With two adults, maybe a teenager and a couple of kiddies gathered around the table, those appetites add up fast (especially now that Thanksgiving is here, and many of us double up on servings)!

Now, imagine the zoo preparing dinner for three lions, three elephants and two full-grown hippos. Those 40 pounds of food, even the extra Thanksgiving servings, start to sound more like an afternoon snack now, don’t they? Trust us when we say that animal cravings are far greater than any hungry teenager in your household.

At the zoo, our animals’ food comes through the commissary, which is more or less a grocery depot for the animals. Much like a neighborhood market might stock your family’s mealtime essentials, the commissary shelves each animal’s breakfasts, lunches and dinners based on the season’s freshest selection.