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Showing posts from August, 2012

What’s small and white and cute all over?

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications The arctic fox , of course! Not only can this small, furry fox survive Old Man Winter’s North Pole stomping grounds, it travels across the treeless lands of the Arctic relying solely on its fur coat and snow-burrowed den to stay warm. Female arctic fox Somer on a snowy day. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.. Although our two newly arrived arctic foxes never traveled the North Pole, they did trek nearly 1,500 miles from the northwest corner of Minnesota to join Woodland Park Zoo this summer. August and Lily—1-year-old half-siblings—are now making themselves at home in their spacious Northern Trail exhibit, which they share with the zoo’s mountain goats. Though, they’ve learned to keep their distance from mountain goat Wilson after a playful run-in during their first week on exhibit.  When the foxes were introduced to their new enclosure, they had to learn their boundaries with the goats and the respectful distance t

Wonderfully Wild Wednesday: Blue tongue

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications Why is a blue-tongued skink’s tongue blue?  Blue-tongued skink. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. Because we feed it blue ice pops. Nah, just kidding. That blue tongue is a natural adaptation. A blue tongue darting out dramatically from a skink’s mouth can warn off or startle away predators.

Baby bird boom

Posted by: Mark Myers, Curator of Birds It’s baby bird season at Woodland Park Zoo! Over the past few weeks, we’ve had several successful hatchings from birds across the zoo—from temperate waterfowl to tropical tanagers. Here’s a round-up of some of the significant hatchings: Cinnamon teal and falcated ducklings. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. The quiet, tucked away Temperate Wetlands exhibit is home to a number of newly hatched ducks and geese. Since July, we have successfully hatched falcated ducks, red-breasted geese, redhead, cinnamon teal, and lesser scaups (North American diving ducks). Candling a red-breasted goose egg. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. To help prepare for all of these hatchings, our zookeepers use a process called candling in which they hold an egg up to a high powered, focused light source for a few seconds to see if an egg is fertile or to check the health of a developing embryo.  We were thrilled to candle and

Snow leopard cubs first steps on exhibit

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications Before they make their official debut to the public this Sat., August 25, we gave our snow leopard cubs the chance to take their very first steps out onto exhibit this week to get comfortable with their new surroundings. Shanti (left) with mother Helen and sister Asha (far right). Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. On the first day that we gave 16-week-old cubs Asha and Shanti access to the exhibit this week, they never stepped foot outside of their holding area! This was likely due to a combination of their own shyness and their mother Helen’s cautiousness. On day two, they didn’t do too much better. Keepers eventually got them to go out into the exhibit but it lasted for just a few short minutes and they ran back inside to their mother not to be seen again that day. Helen grooms her cub Asha. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. Finally, on day three of these soft introductions, we had success! Helen led t

Wonderfully Wild Wednesday: Tuxedo feathers

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications A penguin’s tuxedo feathering is not for fancy occasions—it’s actually a type of camouflage known as countershading.   Humboldt penguin at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Ryan Hawk/WPZ. When a penguin is in the water, its black back blends into the darker water below when viewing it from above, and its white belly blends into the lighter surface of the water when looking up from underneath it. 

The results are in...

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications The results of our Visayan warty pig naming contest are in! With more than 900 votes cast, the top names for the three female pigs, in order of greatest number of votes received are: GUAPA (beautiful), BULAK (flower) and MAGDULA (playful). The names reflect the pigs' Philippine origin. One lucky winner—Toni Thomas of Seattle—was selected at random from all eligible contest entrants to win the grand prize $500 Visa gift card courtesy of U.S. Bank and a Woodland Park Zoo Visayan warty pig ZooParent adoption . Runners-up—Bethel B. VonRoeder and Brian Patneaude—will receive each a $100 Visa gift card courtesy of U.S. Bank and a Woodland Park Zoo Visayan warty pig ZooParent adoption. Thanks for casting your vote this summer and thanks to our contest sponsors U.S. Bank and The Seattle Times for making this contest possible. Photo (modified) by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

News from the field: Pelansi’s rescue

Posted by: Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program, a Woodland Park Zoo Partner for Wildlife Woodland Park Zoo’s conservation partner, Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program (GPOCP), sends us this powerful news from the field. This is the story of an injured orangutan named Pelansi, his rescue by the International Animal Rescue (IAR) Indonesia, and how we work to address the conditions that led to his harrowing experience... Pelansi after surgery in Ketapang, Indonesia. Photo courtesy of International Animal Rescue Indonesia. In the Bornean district of Ketapang, West Kalimantan, where GPOCP works, we received word of a male orangutan caught in a snare. Pelansi, named after the area he was found in, had been trapped in the snare for 10 days, caught by his hand, without access to food or water. Snares are typically set to catch pigs and deer, both to eat and for meat to sell. But as humans and wildlife are forced to live closer and closer in decreasing habitats, s

Snow leopard cubs play behind the scenes

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications Snow leopard sisters Shanti and Asha, now 3½ months old, are proving to be playful and inquisitive cubs. For now, the two live behind the scenes with their mother, Helen, where they receive special veterinary care for their impaired vision. Our keepers and vet staff assess the cubs’ visual function on a day-to-day basis as the pair grows and explores their environment. Snow leopard cubs behind the scenes at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Ryan Hawk/WPZ. The cubs were born with eye and eyelid defects, and each remains blind in the right eye. They recently went through another round of surgery, performed by Dr. Tom Sullivan, the zoo’s volunteer veterinary ophthalmologist with the Animal Eye Clinic, to correct their impaired vision. The procedure is a critical step toward a progressive, more permanent solution to create functional eyelids for the cubs. Photo by Ryan Hawk/WPZ. We know you all can’t wait to see Shanti and Asha mak

10 steps to an enriching summer

Posted by: Rob Goehrke, Education A wolf receives an enrichment treat put together by Zoo Crew kids. Photo by Ryan Hawk/WPZ “Spectacular!” “Outstanding!” “Awesome!” These are the words I heard after my class of 7th graders enjoyed a culminating experience at Woodland Park Zoo through our Zoo Crew program. Zoo Crew is designed to engage middle school youth from traditionally underserved communities in science and conservation enrichment activities. I had the chance to work with this particular group of kids during their 4-week summer camp through the YMCA, serving as one of their science teachers and guiding them through a program that was both enriching to them and the zoo’s animals. Here’s the recipe: Brown bear at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Ryan Hawk/WPZ Step 1:   Each student choose one of four animals: gray wolf , brown bear ,  l owland anoa  or  k ea Step 2:   As a group, research their animal’s habitat, diet, adaptations, conservation status and more

Animal Olympics

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications With Olympics in full swing, we’re awarding some medals to our own animal all-stars, some of the best athletes at Woodland Park Zoo. Competition: Swimming Penguin porpoising with purpose. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo. Gold medal: Humboldt penguin Humboldt penguins may seem awkward on land, but in the water they truly fly, getting up to speeds of 17 mph and bursting into glorious dives known as porpoising, where they leap out of the water to catch a breath and dive back in again without losing speed. Doing the backstroke. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. Silver medal: River otter Otters have a killer backstroke, though their form might differ from our own. Plus, their propensity to create whirlwinds that kick up bottom-feeding fish may throw off the competition. Hippo submerging. Photo by Mat Hayward/Woodland Park Zoo. Bronze medal: Hippo Hippos get up to about 5 mph underwater, but