Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2014

Arubas shake it up for the summer

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

It’s summer time! The season for lounging in the sand, soaking up the sun and shaking your rattler! Our beautiful female Aruba rattlesnake, Crotalus durissus unicolor, is doing just that at the Day Exhibit.

These peach and rose colored rattlesnakes don’t just shake it for anybody though; this rare rattler is only found on one small Caribbean island, Aruba.  Because the species has such a small range, it is nearly extinct in the wild.

The snakes are critically endangered primarily because of habitat loss as well as persecution, especially due to tourism and urban sprawl. These snakes live in vulnerable habitat in a tiny area. Fortunately, the government and people of Aruba understand the importance and value of their own special kind of rattlesnake, and have set aside a large portion of the interior of their island as protected habitat for this rattlesnake and other wildlife.

The snake on exhibit here is a 20-year old female. Previously, we hous…

Protecting pollinators: the butterfly effect

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

Like these?

Then we need these:

At Woodland Park Zoo, we’re abuzz, aflutter and atwitter about the big news coming from the White House: the announcement of a new federal strategy for protecting pollinators.

With a focus on honeybees and other essential pollinators like native butterflies, birds and bats, the strategy establishes a task force and goals for population restoration, habitat protection and public education to stem the losses from this blooming crisis.

The White House makes a case for the economic importance of pollinators, which “contribute substantially to the economy of the United States and are vital to keeping fruit, nuts, and vegetables in our diets.” The memo continues: 
Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the United States. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant loss of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies, from t…

Take part in Washington’s largest Community Solar project

Posted by: Kerston Swartz, Public Affairs

Woodland Park Zoo, the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) and Seattle City Light are partnering on Community Solar on Phinney Ridge, a new community solar project going live summer 2014. The project will produce approximately 75 kilowatts of energy from solar panels installed on building roofs at the zoo and PNA, making it the largest community solar project in Washington state.

Enrollment has just begun for City Light customers to participate in Community Solar on Phinney Ridge. You can purchase energy from the solar-modules, and then receive annual credits for the amount of energy generated by your units. Customer investment will end in July 2020 when ownership of the solar panels is transferred to the zoo and PNA.

As part of the Community Solar project, new solar panels will be installed on the roofs of the zoo’s Rain Forest Food Pavilion and the Commissary building, generating about 16kW and 44kW of solar power, respectively.

Solar ener…

Last chance to see sloth bears before exhibit makeover

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson with Rebecca Whitham, Communications

Sloth bear mom Tasha and 18-month-old cubs Randhir and Kushali will make their final appearance July 6 before construction begins to rebuild their home.

The exhibit makeover will mark the second and final phase of our new Bamboo Forest Reserve exhibit, and it’s all possible because of your support! Thanks to you, we opened phase one of the exhibit in 2013, which features Asian small-clawed otters, a tropical aviary and a nature play area. Over the next year, we’ll complete construction for the final phase, which will bring new homes for the sloth bears and mark the return of tigers to Woodland Park Zoo in May 2015!

Our three sloth bears will live in an off-view exhibit during the construction, so plan a visit soon to see them!

About the exhibit
Woodland Park Zoo first broke ground in September 2012 for phase one of the $15 million Bamboo Forest Reserve exhibit complex. Designed with Bainbridge Island-based design team S…

Who’s Your Favorite Giraffe at the Zoo?

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications, with Katie Ahl, Giraffe Keeper

Photos by Stan Milkowski 
World Giraffe Day, June 21, is just around the corner and we are excited to proclaim our love for giraffe alongside Giraffe Conservation Foundation’s (GCF) inaugural event for this amazing species. GCF would like to highlight the tallest and longest-necked animal on the longest day (or night, depending on which hemisphere you live in) of the year! By raising awareness and looking at the challenges giraffes face in the wild, we can all help secure the future for these amazing creatures.

Let’s celebrate these graceful, gorgeous animals with a closer look at our own herd at Woodland Park Zoo. Giraffe keeper Katie Ahl gives us the lowdown (err, the high up?) on our four tallest residents.
WPZ: Katie, how long have you been working with giraffe and what is your favorite part? Katie: I've been at Woodland Park Zoo for five years, and have worked in the giraffe barn for three of those years. …

TKCP-PNG receives United Nations Equator Prize 2014

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program - Papua New Guinea (TKCP-PNG)—Woodland Park Zoo’s partner non-governmental organization—was recently awarded the United Nations Equator Prize 2014. This highly-esteemed award honors TKCP-PNG’s initiatives in advancing local innovative solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.

We’re very proud of TKCP-PNG’s commitment to creating a sustainable landscape to support the animals, habitat, and indigenous communities of Papua New Guinea’s YUS Conservation Area.

Last year, Woodland Park Zoo’s flagship conservation program, TKCP, proudly established TKCP-PNG to manage TKCP’s YUS Conservation Area, a 180,000-acre area voluntarily pledged by local landowners to help protect the wildlife native to PNG’s Huon Peninsula. The YUS region (encompassing the Yopno-Uruwa-Som watershed) is home to more than 12,000 people across 52 villages, as well as many endemic and endangered fauna and flora—including the …

Black-breasted leaf turtle flips for its meal!

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

Last year, Day Exhibit keeper Alyssa Borek took this footage of a black breasted leaf turtle tasting a hibiscus flower. It was pretty adorable. More recently, keeper Peter Miller captured this video of a very acrobatic black-breasted leaf turtle dining on an elusive meal worm. Go get ‘em!

In the wild, black-breasted leaf 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 insect larvae. At the zoo, the turtles dine primarily on insects with occasional fruits, vegetables and sometimes flowers. The black-breasted leaf turtle is one of the smallest in the world, at about five inches long. They have a unique and beautiful shell with rough edges which resemble a leaf.
Black-breasted leaf turtle are in danger, and you can help! They are listed as endangered due to habitat destruction and over collection. They are also used in traditional Chines…

Otter brothers turn 1

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

In just one year’s time, our four little Asian small-clawed otter boys, Chancellor, Maxwell, Sherman and Thomas, went from being babies to being big brothers! The pups, named for the Seattle Seahawks Legion of Boom, were born June 11 last year, just in time for Father’s Day. Today we celebrate their first birthday with a look back at what they’ve learned and experienced in their first year.

They learned that fish is delicious…

…that the Seahawks rule…

…that Dad can’t help but be overprotective sometimes…

…and that they’re not the babies anymore! But there's much they can teach the newest little ones...
Video: Otter pup swim practice.

A family of Asian small-clawed otters is called a lodge, and in one year’s time, our lodge is getting pretty full! We've gone from two to 10, with the four brothers born last year and four more pups born this January. The family eats, sleeps and plays together, with the older boys helping out mom and dad b…

Salmon toss kicks off this weekend’s Bear Affair

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

The scene: Pike Place Fish Market fishmongers gather in front of Woodland Park Zoo’s famous brown bear exhibit, as grizzly brothers Keema and Denali go into overdrive sniffing out the scent of salmon in the air.

This moment feels so perfectly Seattle.

Then the toss begins.

If you've seen the famous fish tossing at Pike Place Fish Market, you’ll know the rush of excitement that runs through the crowd as the fishmongers toss what they call a “stunt fish” back and forth. You hold your breath each time to see if they’ll catch it. Unless you’re a grizzly bear. In that case, you’re probably hoping they cut it out and just send that salmon flying your way.

But don’t worry, Keema and Denali. The salmon is on its way!

Today’s fish toss was held for press to help get the word out about this Saturday’s Bear Affair: Living Northwest Conservation presented by Brown Bear Car Wash. Bear Affair activities focus on bears, wolves, raptors and other Pacific…

Dave the giraffe arrives at Woodland Park Zoo

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

Moving a giraffe is one tall order, but zookeepers at Woodland Park Zoo know just how to handle it. On May 30, we welcomed nearly 2-year-old Dave the giraffe to our herd, all the way from Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo.

Dave made the 2,000-mile trek from the Chicago area in an extra tall trailer, offering greater neck and leg room for the long haul. The heightened trailer is equipped with slip-proof flooring and lots of bedding for resting. At his young age, Dave is not quite full grown, reaching just under 11 feet tall. His smaller stature made for a more comfortable move. To ensure a smooth transition from Brookfield Zoo, we worked together to find experienced drivers who specialize in large animal transportation for zoos nationwide.

Dave’s road trip was complete with a seamless arrival at Woodland Park Zoo, where he was greeted at the giraffe barn by curious onlookers including the three members of his new herd—Olivia, Tufani and Misawa.

In t…

Rare pheasant hatches

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications

For the first time at Woodland Park Zoo, an Edwards’s pheasant has hatched—a bird that is believed to be extinct in the wild!

The Edwards’s pheasant is not exactly common in zoos either. Only 15 individuals live in seven zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. We have been providing a home for a pair since 2012.

You can see the 6-year-old mother and 1-year-old father in our Conservation Aviary located in the Temperate Forest zone. The little chick, now just under 2 weeks old, is being hand-reared by zookeepers behind the scenes to help ensure it gains weight as expected of a growing chick and hits all of its important developmental milestones. With such a significant hatching of such a rare species, we’re taking extra precautions to ensure its health and survival.

In the near future, the chick will be moved to another zoo to help bolster the population of the species.

The Edwards’s pheasant is native to rain forest habitat i…