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Showing posts from November, 2012

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 seas

Preparing for the lion cubs' first vet exam

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications Lion cubs at three weeks old. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. 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. Three weeks old. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. 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. Cub pile! Photo by

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? Reindeer Lucky and Christi arrive at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. 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 th

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 selec

News from the field: Jaguar Conservation Fund

Posted by: Bobbi Miller, Field Conservation Female jaguar, Nayla, at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. To look at a jaguar —its massive jaws, its muscular body—one would think nothing could take it down. But the jaguar faces very real threats: man-made ones. Threatened in its native Americas, the jaguar is declining in numbers due to loss of habitat and conflict with humans. The two issues are connected, as hungry jaguars living in reduced habitats wander into human-occupied land in search of food, particularly in the form of cattle ranches. Jaguar Cove exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Mat Hayward/Woodland Park Zoo. Thanks to a generous bequest, the Jaguar Conservation Fund  was established in 2003 by Woodland Park Zoo to support field conservation efforts for jaguars. The Fund’s goal is to support projects that lead directly to conservation of jaguars and their habitat by incorporating conservation, education, and research components, alon

Lion cubs at one week

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications Adia with cubs at two days old. Photo by zookeeper Pam Cox/Woodland Park Zoo. Born a week ago , the zoo’s four lion cubs continue to grow and are showing positive signs of good health. Three-year-old mother Adia and her cubs are together in an off-view maternity den where the family can bond in a quieter environment. We have been monitoring the litter via an internal web cam and we’re very pleased with Adia’s maternal care and protectiveness. As a first-time mother, she’s providing attentive care the way a good mother lion naturally does. All four cubs appear to be healthy and their eyes have opened. As far as we can tell, each cub is nursing and demonstrating increased mobility. Our intent is to leave mom alone as much as possible without intervening. As part of our exemplary neonatal care program, we will conduct periodic exams. The earliest target date for their first checkup is next week. The cubs will go out for public viewi

Penguins get their paint on

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo. Flippers aren’t designed to hold paint brushes, so when zookeepers wanted to give our Humboldt penguins the chance to paint, we had to go kindergarten style and just get messy. We held a painting session yesterday for penguin trio Mojito, Cortez and Ramón to produce artwork that will be available for purchase tomorrow at the Puget Sound - American Association of Zoo Keepers  annual holiday auction . Painting is a new form of enrichment for our penguins,though it is something we have done with other animals around the zoo for years. Asian elephant Chai has been painting for 13 years now, and her painting will also be available at the auction. Chai paints inside the Elephant Barn. Photo by Caileigh Robertson/Woodland Park Zoo. Follow @woodlandparkzoo on Instagram. Painting works as a great enrichment opportunity for animals like orangutans, bringing out their natural t

WildLights is almost here

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications WildLights presented by KeyBank —the zoo's first winter lights festival—premieres next week, but we've been daydreaming about sugarplums and snowflakes for months in preparation for the big debut. You can say we’ve been hit with the WildLights bug—Twinkleitus—ever since we saw the preliminary sketches of our zoo lit up with 375,000 sparkling LED lights! A sneak peek at some of the sparkle. It takes a lot of hard work to build such an elaborate lights display, so John Evans, the zoo's guy in charge of this entire operation, assembled a group of LED artisans who blew our socks off with their ingenuity and resourcefulness. A lot of these folks have backgrounds in theater design, carpentry and sculpture, but one of them is even a stuntman from Hollywood. The pop up workshop was full of grinding, drilling, sawing, and lots of ear plugs. The crew worked all summer building flapping flamingos, flying frogs and even a gracef