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Showing posts from May, 2013

Wonderfully Wild Wednesday: Burrow borrower

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

You often see our meerkats piled above ground, but it's in underground burrows where they typically make their home.

However, despite the fact that they are excellent diggers, these burrow dwellers are more often burrow borrowers, as they usually don’t build the burrows themselves. Meerkats will often settle into burrows previously dug by other animals such as ground squirrels and other mongooses.

Name our new otters, win an ice cream party for 100!

Caileigh Robertson, Communications

We’re teaming up with Umpqua Bank to name our new playful pair of Asian small-clawed otters, residents of the new Bamboo Forest Reserve exhibit. Two lucky winners will each take home a $100 Umpqua Bank savings account*, a ZooParent adoption, and a visit from an Umpqua Bank ice cream truck for 100 friends!

The contest began Friday, May 24 and will continue through Saturday, June 15, 5:00 p.m. PST.

As a tribute to the otters' native southern and southeastern Asia range, all qualified name entries must be submitted in the Malay language. The winning names will be chosen by a panel of zoo judges.

Follow these three simple steps to name our otters:
1.     Look up words or names in the Malay language. Choose two names, one for him and one for her. 2.     Pick up a ballot at any Seattle area Umpqua Bank store, clip out a ballot from select issues of The Seattle Times, or submit your otter names online at 3.     Wait until the final two …

Jaguar cubs’ personalities far outweigh their 10-pound frames

Caileigh Robertson, Communications

Our three jaguar cubs received their first hands-on exams last week and, at 3 months old, keepers determined the cubs’ personalities far outweigh their 10-pound frames.
The trio—born in March to our jaguar pair, 7-year-old Nayla and 14-year-old father Junior—has been under the watchful eye of jaguar mother Nayla since their birth. Jaguar births are rare, and as a “near threatened” species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the jaguar triplets are a major milestone for Woodland Park Zoo’s jaguar conservation efforts.
Health updates were put on hold while first-time mother Nayla demonstrated natural motherly care and protection, so much that keepers couldn’t get hands on the cubs until late last week. Staff learned the healthy triplets include two girls and one boy, all exhibiting curiously different personalities.
Jaguar keeper Jamie Delk weighed in on their notable differences, telling us the first born is a girl, and…

Endangered red-crowned crane chick hatches with hope

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

A male red-crowned crane chick joined our baby boom May 13 and brought with it hope for the endangered species and its counterparts in the wild. The fluffy, brown chick is finding his way through the wetland exhibit with a little help from his parents, who are no strangers to rearing healthy chicks. 

The chick’s 21-year-old parents, Niles and Maris, were donated to Woodland Park Zoo in 1992 from Japan’s Kobi Oji Zoo with hopes of bringing more red-crowned cranes into the world. Red-crowned cranes are severely endangered in their native habitat, with an estimated 2,700 cranes remaining in the Amur Basin of Northeast Asia and only 80 cranes in institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Since the species joined Woodland Park Zoo more than two decades ago, the zoo has celebrated 13 successful hatchings from the pair.

The new red-crowned crane chick is on a mission, living as an ambassador for cranes facing habitat los…

Bears want snacks

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

We are getting so excited for our ninth annual Bear Affair: Pacific Northwest Conservation day presented by Brown Bear Car Wash on June 8!

At Woodland Park Zoo’s Bear Affair, 700-pound grizzly bear brothers, Keema and Denali, show us why it is important to be bear-safe in the Pacific Northwest. Whether you are hiking and camping in the mountains or simply spending the summer in your own backyard, being bear-safe can help protect you and your family as well as keep our Northwest wildlife safe.
Woodland Park Zoo teamed up with local singer Star Anna to create a song about our favorite bear-safety tips. Rock out to the song this summer and remember the rules!

Don’t leave those treats out: dog food, bird seed ( in the winter), barbecue scraps, camping dishes and snacks, anything that smells tasty such as toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen and hairspray can be an attractant for bears. Clean it up!They sniff for garbage: A bear-proof garbage can is the …

Tiger Tails drawing contest winners!

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

This spring, we asked kids to complete the picture in our Tiger Tails drawing contest to get us pumped for phase two of the Bamboo Forest Reserve. Thanks to all of the amazing young artists who entered the contest through our MyZoo magazine kids section.
We received over 130 entries, some from as far away as Germany. It was a tough decision, but we had a lot of help – 25 staff from across the zoo assisted in judging. We considered detail, use of color, perspective, inspiration and creativity. We were all thrilled with your imagination and talent!
Below are the grand prize champs and their artwork. Drumroll please, and the prizes are…
Zoo Favorite Age 2-5 “Sneaky Tiger” Logan Myers, 4
Zoo Favorite Age 6-12 “Bamboo Bengal” Samantha Schallon, 11 

Logan and Samantha will both receive a zoo tiger adoption and plush, 4 giraffe feeding tickets and their framed drawing.
Most Inspiring “Tiger and Friends” Mila Armes, 7

Most Creative “Tiger Roar” Liam Green…

It’s GiveBIG Day: Help create life-changing experiences!

Did you have an experience as a teen that had a lasting impact on your life? Something that changed your worldview or influenced your career? Now you can create life-changing experiences for middle school and high school students! That’s one example of what you can accomplish by making a gift to Woodland Park Zoo through GiveBIG Day on May 15! Each donation made through GiveBIG Day will be stretched based on the amount of money raised, thanks to The Seattle Foundation's stretch pool of funds.
Hosted by the Seattle Foundation, GiveBIG Day is King County’s biggest day of online giving. It’s your chance to join people from all around the region to help change the world and change lives. You canmake your gift today through this link.

The zoo’s ZooCrew and ZooCorps programs are two programs that your gift would help support. They introduce middle school and high school students to brand new career paths, take them out of their comfort zone and teach them real-world skills, all while e…

Make your voice heard

Posted by: Laura Lockard, Communications

Ever wonder how you can do more to help the zoo?
Woodland Park Zoo would like to invite you to join our new advocacy program, ZooAction. Every day, issues are being considered at the federal, state and local levels that affect the zoo, our conservation and education programs, and our ongoing effort to save wildlife and their habitats. ZooAction provides a great arena to share policy information as it relates to the zoo and allows you to help advocate for the zoo.
By joining ZooAction you are signing up to help advocate for issues that affect the zoo. You can also follow ZooAction on Facebook and Twitter.
ZooAction will keep you informed about public policy issues that affect the zoo. You will be asked to take action by contacting your elected officials by phone or email about important issues. We will also keep you informed about how state or local initiatives or ballot measures impact Woodland Park Zoo, such as the upcoming 2013 King Count…

Celebrating zoo moms

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

With the recent baby boom at Woodland Park Zoo, we have posted endless photos and updates on all the fuzzy and feathered new faces that call the zoo home.

But with Mother’s Day and Mom & Me presented by Verity Credit Union just around the corner, let’s not forget about the amazing animal moms who are working hard every day to care for these little ones.


When you watch lion mom Adia at play with her high energy cubs, you can see just how youthful she herself is—giving as good as she gets with the four little tail biters that never turn down a game of tag. At just 3 years old, it wasn’t long ago that Adia was a cub herself.

But motherhood has certainly brought out the lioness in young Adia. Caring for four cubs is no easy task for a first-time mom, but her instincts kicked in the moment she gave birth, and she hasn’t missed a beat since.


Junior, like all jaguar dads, isn’t involved with his babies’ daily care, which leaves first-t…

Eight penguin chicks hatch

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

This season brings eight new additions to our endangered Humboldt penguin colony. The chicks will make their debut later this summer once they get a little bigger and become proficient swimmers.

One of the youngest chicks, seen here at 10 days old, hatched on April 27 to 13-year-old father Pizarron and 3-year-old mother Maria, who herself was born at the zoo in 2010.
That brings the total number of penguins hatched at the zoo since our award-winning exhibit opened in 2009 to 32! As Humboldt penguins are endangered, these hatchings--part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) conservation breeding program--add up to lots to celebrate. SSPs maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of populations and the health of individual animals. These new generations of penguins help us continue to tell the story of what is happening to endangered penguins, their ocean habitat, and prey bas…

Tawny frogmouth totally looks like...

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

The tawny frogmouths didn’t want to be left out of the zoo’s baby boom, so they hatched their first chick of the season last week. Adult frogmouths sport mottled, grayish feathers that let them camouflage themselves like a dead tree branch, but they start life as a little, white puffball, covered in downy feathers.

What do you think the tawny frogmouth chick looks most like? At one day old, the chick weighed in at 16.5 g (0.58 ounces). Its parents are doing a good job caring for it in their nest. The chick is weighed daily to make sure its growing as expected, and we’ll offer some supplemental snacks (little bits of mice) if it needs help putting on weight.

The chick’s parents have another fertile egg in their nest, so we may have a second hatching on our hands soon. The family lives behind the scenes together as part of a breeding program for this species. The zoo is also home to a second breeding pair, and we coordinate the Species Survival…

We otter thank you

Posted by: Bamboo Forest Reserve team

Zoo fans of all stripes shared an otterly huge success story last Friday. Hundreds of donors, zoo members, public officials, families and children gathered to celebrate Bamboo Forest Reserve Day, officially declared by members of the Seattle City Council. A swift snip of the vine signaled the official opening of our newest exhibit to an eager and deserving community.

But what’s really special about this story is you! YOU made it happen. The Bamboo Forest Reserve is a true zoo-community accomplishment, funded entirely by private philanthropy, membership earnings and contributions from the business community, all in the context of a strong public-private partnership with the City of Seattle. So far, more than 1,000 supporters from all walks of life in our community have made gifts to The Asian Tropical Forest campaign initiative, which is transforming old exhibits to new naturalistic wonders in the heart of the zoo.

Some of our youngest donors, soci…

Take action: Bowling for Rhinos returns

Posted by: Matt Mills, Zookeeper

Were you aware that without serious action it is estimated that rhinos will disappear from the wild by 2030?

Organized crime syndicates have spread into wildlife crime; bringing technological advancements, networks of smugglers, and high powered weaponry with them. Rhino horn is more valuable than gold in certain markert, and because of this an average of two rhinos are lost every day.

Why is rhino horn so valuable? In parts of the world people have been lead to believe that rhino horn is a cure for everything from the common cold to cancer. Science has disproved this belief. In fact, rhino horn is made of tightly compacted hair. Does that sound like a cure-all to you? 
It's not too late to stop the disappearance of these magnificent creatures from our planet. There are an estimated 30,000 rhinos still left in the wild, many of which live in conservancies dedicated to their protection. These conservancies protect the rhinos using round the clock surv…

New otters make their own bed

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

Designs for the new Bamboo Forest Reserve exhibit—including a new home for a pair of Asian small-clawed otters—started two years ago with a sketch on paper.

Now that we’re seeing the design work turn into reality with phase one of the exhibit opening this weekend, we’re discovering that we aren't the only ones with ideas on how the exhibit should look. The otters have designs of their own!

This week, the otters were introduced to their new home, and we watched them put the finishing touches on the exhibit themselves.

Video: Otters rearrange the plants. Produced by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. Narration by Caileigh Robertson/Woodland Park Zoo.
They tore into some of the reeds and bamboo plants our horticulture team lovingly planted in the area. But this wasn't wanton destruction—the otters were actually plucking the plants and dragging them over to their covered den to lay them down as bedding.

To see them making themselves comfortable …