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Showing posts from April, 2014

Eager froglets hatched ready for leaping!

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications



Solomon Island leaf frogs, Ceratobatrachus guentheri, also known as triangle frogs, are a very special type of amphibian because they go through their tadpole stage inside the egg, hatching as completely formed froglets. The juvenile frogs emerge from their eggs as fully developed frogs in a process called direct development. Instead of spending their first days as a tadpole, or polliwog, these frogs are hatched ready to leap! The tiny frogs grow very quickly, starting at only an eighth of an inch when they emerge. They eat very small insects until they are large enough to transition to an adult diet of arthropods and larger insects, and even smaller reptiles and amphibians.
The little froglets practice ambushing tiny insects, a behavior they will use later to pounce on any prey that happens to wander through their territory. It’s amazing to see these tiny creatures emerge from an egg and almost immediately become self-sufficient hunters. 


In 1…

Once a cheetah, always a cheetah

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


It’s almost time to meet a cheetah! The newest animals to join the Woodland Park Zoo family will debut in a temporary exhibit May 1, with zoo members getting a special sneak preview on April 30. The celebration continues with an official grand opening presented by Chevron on May 3.


How did the zoo’s new, temporary cheetah exhibit come about? It all started with a call from the Species Survival Plan, a conservation breeding program across accredited zoos. They enlisted our assistance to care for a pair of 14-year-old, female cheetahs for six to 18 months. The pair, Liz and Missy, has come to us from Oregon’s Wildlife Safari. By providing a temporary home for the girls, we are able to help the conservation breeding program by creating additional space for the next generation of offspring produced at Wildlife Safari. Between the two of them, Liz and Missy have reared 15 cubs of their own throughout their lifetimes!


Though we have no shortage of …

Chasing Summer and Insects: Barn Swallows Return

Posted by: Karen Stevenson, Woodland Park Zoo Volunteer; additional contributions by Gretchen Albrecht, Zookeeper and Anna Martin, WPZ Volunteer



Just a few weeks back, the memo came through. It read only, “They’re back!”

“They” are barn swallows, Hirundo rustica, and we’re celebrating their return. Here in the Pacific Northwest, barn swallows are harbingers of spring’s longer, warmer days. Warmer days awaken long-dormant insects, and barn swallows—like most little insectivores—follow their food (mostly flies and mosquitos, but also beetles, bees, wasps and so on). They summer here, then when “summer” moves south, they do too, following available food all the way to northeastern South America and the Caribbean basin.

Barn swallows are comfortable in our big cities, small towns, neighborhoods and farms. While other swallow species prefer to nest in natural structures hidden from view, such as cliffs or tree cavities, barn swallows build mud nests out in the open so we can see the entire…

Porcupine baby will make you squee

Posted by: Gigi Allianic with Rebecca Whitham, Communications


She’s got quills, they’re multiplying.


The littlest new addition to Woodland Park Zoo is a female North American porcupine, born April 4 in our Northern Trail exhibit.


Porcupine babies, known as porcupettes (seriously), are born with a soft coat of quills that begins to harden within hours of birth. This immediately protects them from predators...and thick gloves immediately protect us from them!


Our porcupette was born to Molly and Oliver, both 3-year-old residents of Northern Trail. This is their second offspring. The baby has access all day and night to the porcupine exhibit, but for now prefers to spend most of her time exploring in a den behind the scenes.


She grooms herself a lot and is experimenting with different solid foods, like this specially prepared biscuit designed for leafeaters that looks enormous in her tiny hands.


Zoo guests will begin seeing her more frequently on exhibit as she becomes more active and cu…

Welcome, Xerxes!

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications


We have a new king on the savanna! Welcome our new male South African lion, Xerxes, to Woodland Park Zoo’s lion exhibit.


Xerxes is 6.5 years old and was born on November 6, 2007 at Oklahoma City Zoo. He lived at El Paso Zoo from January 2010 until he came to Seattle in March 2014. He has been behind the scenes in standard quarantine for newly arrived animals, where he received health checkups and an assessment from our animal health staff before being introduced to the exhibit.

This week he began his first ventures into the main outdoor lion yard. We watched from the lion viewing shelter as he gingerly entered the outdoor space and began to explore. Keepers say he is a very calm lion, and they expect him to settle into his new environment without any trouble. Xerxes is very striking, with his dark-tipped mane and regal expression!

Xerxes is also exceptionally vocal.  He roars like other lions do, but he also does a lot of low grumbles, high pitc…

Take a green tour in honor of Earth Day

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


When you love wildlife, every day is Earth Day.


Get into the green spirit on your next visit to the zoo: use our free mobile app to take the GPS-guided Green Zoo Tour. Discover the sometimes hidden ways we save water and energy and creatively reduce waste. Then get tips for how to do the same at home.


On the tour, you'll visit LEED-certified buildings, see solar panels at work, discover the difference trees make, and find out what we do with all that animal poop.

Together we can reduce our impact on the planet we share with wildlife and with future generations.

ZooTunes returns: See concerts, save animals

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications



Another season of BECU ZooTunes presented by Carter Subaru summer concerts is heating up with this year’s blazing lineup:

June 18 — Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood
June 22 — Mavis Staples / Marc Cohn
July 2 — Gregg Allman
July 6 — Carolina Chocolate Drops / The Del McCoury Band
July 30 — Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band with special guests Lake Street Dive
July 31 — Lucinda Williams
August 6 — Taj Mahal Trio / John Hiatt & The Combo
August 10 — Robert Cray Band / Shemekia Copeland
August 17 — Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue / Galactic
August 20 & 21 — Pink Martini featuring China Forbes and Storm Large
August 24 — Ziggy Marley

Join us on the North Meadow for great music all summer long. When you see concerts, you save animals by supporting Woodland Park Zoo’s mission!

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Fri., April 25 at 8:00 a.m. Current zoo members enjoy a special presale on Wed., Apr. 23—look for an email in y…

Penguins and Senior Zoo Walkers welcome Mayor Murray to the zoo

Posted by: Laura Lockard, Public Affairs



We had a very special guest at the zoo this morning, our very own Mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray!


As they wrapped up this morning’s stroll around zoo grounds, the Senior Zoo Walkers—who participate in a joint Seattle parks and zoo senior health program—were joined by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray for conversation and a cup of coffee. After a welcome by zoo President and CEO, Deborah Jensen, Mayor Murray addressed several of the walkers’ questions and concerns about our city, including traffic and bicycle safety, and funding for the city’s parks and the zoo.


The Mayor acknowledged that many necessary infrastructure projects at the zoo, local parks and community centers have gone unfunded and incomplete. He expressed his support for a park district and funding package to support these major maintenance requirements, which are currently under review by the city council.

After speaking to the walkers, the Mayor had the rare chance to meet the zoo’s newest a…

Grizzlies have a birthday blast

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


What did you do for your 20th birthday?


Today, grizzly brothers Keema and Denali celebrated two decades by diving face-first into piles of snow courtesy of Crystal Mountain Resort. Hidden inside the snow were special birthday treats, from meaty knuckle bones and fish, to peanut butter and marshmallow fluff.

Video: Grizzly bear snow battle. Produced by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.
Though the bears technically turned 20 back in January, they slept right through their big day as bears tend to do during their winter slumber. So we held off on their birthday surprise until today.


This morning, our friends from Crystal Mountain trucked in piles of snow fresh from the Cascades and loaded it into the exhibit. Keepers and volunteers lovingly tucked Keema and Denali’s favorite treats into the snow. Between the smell of the food and the feel of the soft snow, the bears were in for a treat!

There are a few tried and true methods for enjoying a snowy birth…

Birthday bears to get a snowy present

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


Winter is coming.


In celebration of grizzly brothers Keema and Denali's 20th birthday, our friends at Crystal Mountain will deliver snow fresh from the Cascades to the birthday bears on April 15.

If you can’t join us in person, check out the Bear Cam at 10:00 a.m. that day to watch the scene streaming live.


Keema and Denali turned 20 back in January of this year, but bears being bears, they slept right through the milestone, all cozy in their winter slumber. 
As the boys enjoy their belated birthday present, zoo staff will be on hand to share fascinating facts about the grizzlies, the natural history of bears, and how the zoo plays an important role in helping to conserve bears and other apex predators in the state.

Approximately 25,000-30,000 black bears exist in Washington and biologists believe there may be as few as 10 individual grizzly bears in the North Cascades and 50-70 in the Selkirk Ecosystem of northeast Washington. 
Thanks to …

Thank you Woodland Park Zoo Volunteers!

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, communications
Photos by: Dennis Dow


It is National Volunteer Week and we would like to thank our talented volunteers who are an essential part of making Woodland Park Zoo a joy to visit and a phenomenal place to work. Our 750 volunteers and their devotion to our animals and passion for our mission are an incredible presence at the zoo. With their in-depth knowledge of every corner of the zoo it’s hard to imagine operating without them. Whether it’s assisting keepers with cleaning (scooping poop), speaking with children in Zoomazium (giggle fest), pruning roses with the horticulture staff (wear your gloves!), educating and assisting our guests (kids and big kids at heart!), doing office work (keeping us in check), helping with diet prep (chopping carrots like a top chef) or providing event support (musical chairs), their enthusiasm and passion for this institution keeps us all inspired.
As ambassadors for Woodland Park Zoo, each and every volunteer is put thr…