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Showing posts from May, 2014

New porcupine baby video: the perfect TGIF treat

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications



When you’re a porcupine baby, if you've got a stick, you've got a party.

VIDEO: Baby porcupine chews on sticks. Produced by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.
Look for our 8-week-old female porcupette, Marty, on exhibit in the Northern Trail. You'll see her there with mom, Molly. The two are doing well!

Restoring Sight for Sita

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications with Laura McComesky, Zookeeper



Monkey see, monkey do—and it's all thanks to cataract surgery that has successfully restored vision and quality of life to 29-year-old lion-tailed macaque, Sita (SEE-tah).

Going blind wasn't easy for Sita. In February, keepers first noticed in one of Sita’s eyes the tell-tale cloudiness characteristic of a cataract. Soon it was both eyes. The cataracts came on fast and worsened quickly, giving Sita very little time to adjust to this drastic change.


As her eyesight disappeared, Sita struggled to do everyday tasks. Woodland Park Zoo’s lion-tailed macaque exhibit reflects the endangered species’ Indian forest habitat, with complex, arboreal pathways that suddenly became too challenging for Sita to navigate. At that point, she was moved behind the scenes where she could receive more close attention from her keepers.


But even there she struggled. Sita's keepers would settle in next to the mesh divider to…

MyZoo Kids: Animal Observations Contest

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications


Calling all junior conservation researchers!


What is it like to be a conservation researcher in the field? A big part of studying the behavior of animals is being very patient and waiting a long time (sometimes hours, sometimes days!) for animals to make a move. Researchers chart the behaviors they observe to gather enough data for their scientific investigations.

Field researchers use ethograms to document animal behavior. An ethogram is a chart which displays a list of possible behaviors as well as a timeline. Using an ethogram, researchers can quickly document the minute-by-minute actions and behaviors of an observation subject. Researchers also rely on sketching and drawing, or photography to supplement their notes.

Practicing backyard animal observations is a great way to introduce your kiddos to conservation science. This activity promotes critical thinking, math, curiosity, creativity and most of all, patience!

We want to see your kids…

Watch zebra and giraffe on new Savanna Cam

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


What will you spot on the Savanna Cam today? Streaming live from Woodland Park Zoo’s award-winning African Savanna exhibit, our newest cam looks north over the exhibit plains from the African school house. Here you'll find the zoo’s giraffe, oryx, zebra, gazelle and ostrich, a mixed community of species that are naturally found together in the dry grasslands of Africa.

The camera runs 24/7 and the best viewing is from dawn 'til dusk. In this video clip, you'll get a little preview of what you'll see on the cam. Tune into the Savanna Cam live stream for a real-time look at the savanna.

VIDEO: Giraffe checks out the new Savanna Cam.
When watching, look for highlights on the savanna including:

Giraffe calf Misawa
Though he towers over the grazers around him, nearly one-year-old giraffe calf Misawa is notably smaller than his mother Olivia and aunt Tufani. Look for the giraffes to be stretching tall to browse from tree-top feeders …

Take the quiz: Are you bear-smart?

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

With Memorial Day weekend upon us, many will kick off the summer season with a camping trip. Before you head out on your adventure, challenge yourself with this bear-smart quiz to see if you are a bear-smart camper.


Whatever your score, you'll see and learn so much more about coexisting with Northwest wildlife when you join us for Bear Affair: Living Northwest Conservation presented by Brown Bear Car Wash on Sat., June 7.

Grizzly bears Keema and Denali will show us what happens when you do not take safety precautions in your backyard or when hiking or camping in bear country. Zookeepers and conservation experts will be on hand to give you safety tips. Plus we'll spotlight the incredible native wildlife all around us, from bears to butterflies, and share ways you can join our Living Northwest program to conserve Washington's wildlife.

So tell us: how did you score?

What do bowling, curling and rhinos have in common? You!

Posted by: Puget Sound Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers



It’s almost time for the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) annual rhino conservation fundraiser, Bowling for Rhinos. But this year, the Puget Sound chapter of AAZK is going to try something a little different.

We’ll be curling for rhinos!

WHEN: Sat., June 7, 4:30 – 9:30 p.m. We will have two shifts for curling; 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. (choose one or the other)
WHERE:Granite Curling Club of Seattle, 1440 N 128th Street, Seattle, WA.
COST: $20 just to eat/hang out (party only) and watch the fun or $30 to curl and eat (plus a small online registration fee)

This is your opportunity to demonstrate your support for endangered rhinos and the worldwide effort to conserve endangered species. Please remember that when these animals are gone, it's forever; there is no bringing them back.

You can help the Puget Sound AAZK achieve its goal of raising $13,000 by any one of three ways:
1) Register for cu…

Box turtle hatching caught on camera

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


On this Endangered Species Day, we celebrate nature's latest gift to us—a critically endangered Indochinese box turtle baby, newly hatched before our eyes and thriving.


Our zookeepers put long hours into incubating eggs, maintaining a warm, safe environment for those about to hatch. When they are lucky, they get to see the big payoff happen before their eyes!


This month, we were there to greet an Indochinese box turtle as it hatched into the world. Using its egg tooth (the pointy tip you can see best in the photo below), it broke through the shell when it was ready to hatch after 78 days of incubation. At only about an inch and a half in length, the little fella is too small for any of the exhibit spaces we have in the Day Exhibit, so for now, it’s being reared behind the scenes.


Zookeepers are especially excited about this tiny addition, as it marks the first hatching of this critically endangered species at our zoo. And that’s even mor…

The amazing spider, man

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications, with Sue Andersen, Zookeeper


It seems like every time we do a spider story, someone gets mad at us for having to see these creatures on their screen. But we’re going to help you learn to love spiders, starting with these baby golden orb weavers seen here at just one hour old!


Spiders are good people. We talked with zookeeper, Sue Andersen, to get the scoop on these amazing critters on the occasion of the third egg case hatching in Bug World in the past two weeks.


Seen here are golden orb weaver spiderlings, fresh out of their egg case. According to Sue, “spiders actually develop from eggs into what is termed post-embryos (affectionately called ‘eggs with legs’ by arachnologists!) within the safety of their egg case. By the time they emerge from their egg case, they are first instar (or stage) as these guys and gals are. At this stage they are looking more like baby spiders. Some species of both true spiders (such as these Nephila inaurata ma…

A bow of gratitude to zoo and parks supporters

Posted by: Laura Lockard, Public Affairs


After many weeks of deliberation and receiving public comments and testimony, Seattle City Council voted unanimously to place a Seattle Park District on the August 5th ballot. Your calls, emails and testimonies made this happen—and for this we offer a deep bow of thanks.


What a park district means for Seattle In August, Seattleites will have the opportunity to vote YES to fund critical maintenance projects for Seattle’s parks and the zoo, including structural seismic and building upgrades to our exhibits, and infrastructure improvements that will move us closer to our sustainability goals. If voters approve this measure, the major backlog of maintenance, upkeep and operations of the 6,000 acres of city parklands, including the zoo, would no longer be neglected due to budget cuts and competition with the city’s other important services. A Seattle Park District would create a dedicated funding source for the zoo and parks for generations to come.

Pouch checks reveal incredible first stages of a joey’s life

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


This is a tale of two joeys:

A 7-month-old wallaby who is just emerging from its mother’s pouch…


…and a nearly 4-month-old wallaroo who is giving us a whole new perspective on what goes on inside the pouch.

What we've seen will amaze you. 

Let’s take a closer look at the developmental stages of the two joeys. 
Wallaby Joey Emerges A hand, an ear, a nose—for the last few months, we have kept a close eye out for any sign of the latest wallaby joey emerging from its mother’s pouch. Born the size of a lima bean back in October, our newest wallaby joey has finally begun to peek out!


You can see it still has quite a bit of developing left to do. Soon the joey will grow in a furry coat and spend more time peeking out. As we head into summer, we’ll see the baby eventually begin to take little trips outside of mom’s pouch, returning for feedings. 
Inside the Pouch of a Wallaroo Here’s where things get awesome. Another joey—a wallaroo born in Januar…

24th Annual Mom & Me

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


Celebrate moms of all species with us at the 24th annual Mom & Me presented by Verity Credit Union, Sat., May 10, 2014, 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


Moms get half off admission during the event and families can look for fun activities throughout the day, including live performances on the North Meadow, keeper talks focused on wildlife moms, and a scavenger hunt that could win you a flight tour for two from Kenmore Air!

Ready to round up the family and plan an outing? Send a free Mother's Day e-card to make your plans. Here's just a little taste of the e-card designs you can choose from:




Sky-High Enrichment for Giraffe Family

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications



Giraffes are the tallest browsers in the world, reaching up to the tip-top of acacia trees on the African savanna. The acacia leaves themselves are packed with water, so the giraffes can go a long time without drinking. In the wild, giraffes spend most of their day nibbling on these leaves, a slow process because they can only grab a few leaves in each bite. They can eat up to 75 pounds of leaves in a single day. That is a lot of browsing! At the zoo, keepers provide our giraffes with special, sky-high enrichment in their indoor barn to encourage their browsing instinct. We stopped by the giraffe barn on a soggy spring day to check out some of their indoor activities.

Our video host, Jordan Veasley, spoke with keeper Katie Ahl about the importance of recreating the wild browsing experience. In the video below you can see Katie and Jordan prepare bucket enrichment for the giraffes. Then Katie asks Jordan to participate in a high-level zookeeper …