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Showing posts from June, 2013

Jaguar cubs take first practice steps outside

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications
Photos by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo, Video by Caileigh Robertson/Woodland Park Zoo



[UPDATE: The jaguar cubs have now made their official debut and have daily access to their exhibit, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.]


It’s a good thing these jaguar cubs are creatures of the rain forest, as their very first steps outdoors were soggy ones.

Three-month-old jaguar triplets—brother Kuwan and sisters Inka and Arizona—had their first practice session outside today. The trio is getting ready for their official public debut, which should be coming up any day as the cubs get used to their new digs.


Before the zoo opened to the public this morning, a lucky few of us zoo staff gathered around the exhibit at Jaguar Cove and watched to see what would happen when the jaguars’ den door opened. Out came the cubs for the first time, bouncing out with less of a predatory slinking and more of an enthusiastic tromping.

The keepers predicted Arizona, the boldest of the cubs…

A failproof strategy to save the tiger

Posted by: Dr. Deborah B. Jensen, President and CEO


We have less than 20 years to save the tiger, or say goodbye to it forever. 
For millennia, the tiger has occupied a vibrant place in our collective consciousness—an icon revered in our mythology and folklore, enjoyed in our films and literature. Sadly, over the last century this magnificent animal has become one of the fastest-vanishing species on our planet. The decline owes to a lethal blend of high-class sport hunting; loss of forest habitat to logging, agriculture and growing urban areas; and a rampant increase in illegal poaching to supply tiger body parts for traditional medicine, ornamentation, and financing the black market drug trade.

Numbering as many as 100,000 in the early 1900s, as few as 3,200 tigers are left on the planet. In fact, today more tigers live in captivity than in the wild. Isolation, habitat loss and poaching threaten all tiger subspecies in the wild, decimating their ability to sustain viable populations.…

A backyard bug hunt

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications
Photos by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.



Kids love bugs. There is just something irresistible about the creepy crawlies that slither, march and fly around us. Maybe it is their intriguing size or perhaps their alien form. Either way, I've seen a group of kids snub a jaguar for a trail of ants, seriously.

We have plenty of bugs at the zoo, inside and out. Our Bug World exhibit is brimming with roaches, gigantic spiders and the coolest looking leaf insects you’ll ever see. We also happen to live in a region that is teeming with insects that can be found in our own backyards.

Connecting kids to the insects in their backyard is a big part of connecting them to the idea of living landscapes. Every organism is a player, and if you start with the little guys, it is easy to get kids on board with that concept.

We hung with Zoomazium interns Brianna Morley and Saritha Beauchamp as they led a group of youngsters and their parents to Zoomazium’s bac…

If you give a black-breasted turtle a hibiscus...

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

If you give a black-breasted leaf turtle a hibiscus...she might ask for another petal!

Part of Alyssa Borek’s job as Day Exhibit keeper is to ensure all of her residents get a variety of food and enrichment items. Sometimes this means giving an animal a new palatable experience; such was the case with this sweet, little black-breasted leaf turtle and her hibiscus dinner.

Video: Black-breasted leaf turtle snacks on hibiscus. Video by Alyssa Borek/Woodland Park Zoo.
The adorable clip above shows a tiny taste-test starring our black-breasted leaf turtle, Geoemyda spengleri, and her appetite for a hibiscus petal. Four stars to the chef!
Day Exhibit keeper, Alyssa, answers a few questions about this daring culinary adventure…
What does this turtle usually eat in the wild? In the wild, these turtles eat various invertebrates, such as insects, worms, and grubs. They also eat decaying fruit found on the forest floor and venture into streams to collect i…

Jaguar Junior names first-born son Kuwan. Well, sort of…

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications
Photos by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo except where otherwise noted.



The truth is, Junior buckled.

Leading up to the naming ceremony, the communications and animal management teams prepared with hours of work: planning the press op, selecting culturally significant names, molding papier-mâché enrichment into maracas, and warming up Junior to practice piñatas for a successful ceremony.


Three name options chosen by jaguar zookeepers—Cruz, Tlaloc and Kuwan—were individually paired with tasty, enticing piñatas and hung from a low tree branch for Junior in Jaguar Cove Friday morning. The goal was for Junior to bite into one of the named piñatas and thus ultimately decide the name of his first-born son. The three colorful piñatas tempted Junior toward his big decision with the scents of raw, juicy chicken, which was stuffed inside the maracas. With the lure of his favorite treat, there was no doubt Junior would be game to complete the ceremony an…

Otter pop has otter pups in time for Father's Day

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


The naming contest ends this Saturday, but for right now, we’re calling our new Asian small-clawed otter pair mom and dad. That’s because the pair delivered pups on Tuesday, June 11 behind the scenes of their Bamboo Forest Reserve exhibit!


In celebration of our new otter pop this Father’s Day, we’re giving away Otter Pops to zoo visitors on Sunday, June 16. Pick up a free Otter Pop while supplies last at the Rain Forest Food Pavilion.

We’d love to be able to share photos of the new pups with you, but we haven’t seen much of them yet! The attentive parents are keeping them tucked away in their behind-the-scenes den. We can hear vocalizations and have an internal cam set up so keepers can keep a watchful eye on the family and hopefully get a pup count soon!

While mom nurses the cubs, dad helps by gathering food and nesting material. He stands guard over the vulnerable pups, who are born tiny, without the ability to see or hear. They weigh aroun…

Lessons from Bear Affair

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


Grizzly brothers, Keema and Denali, demonstrated at Saturday’s Bear Affair: Pacific Northwest Conservation presented by Brown Bear Car Wash what bears can do to your campsite or backyard when you don’t store your garbage, food or gear properly. 
See the damage they caused and learn bear safety tips to avoid these scenarios.

If you are camping out in bear country, make sure to pitch your tents in a line or a semicircle facing your cooking area. With this set up, you will be more likely to spot a bear that wanders into your camp and the bear will have a clear escape route, according to our conservation collaborators over at Western Wildlife Outreach.

When camping, remember the 100 yard rule. Locate your cook area and food cache at least 100 yards downwind from your tent when not in established campgrounds.

Even if you plan to use the waterways, avoid setting up camp next to streams and nearby trails, as bears and other wildlife use these as tra…