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Friday, June 27, 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.

An Aruba's sunset-colored coil. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/WPZ.

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.

Our pretty snake warms herself by basking under a heat lamp. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/WPZ.

The snake on exhibit here is a 20-year old female. Previously, we housed two females who gave birth to 40 babies, as part of the Species Survival Plan's goal of maintaining a self-sustaining zoo population. Two dozen zoos are involved in the cooperative Species Survival Program, which has successfully increased the zoo population of this species.

In the wild, you’ll find this snake in the thorn scrub, a dry, subtropical desert landscape on the southeast part of Aruba. The Aruba rattlesnake doesn’t normally hang out on the beach itself, but it will stretch out on the warm desert sand. Arubas can be as long as 37 inches and as large as 3 pounds, although the females tend to be a bit smaller.

The scales of an Aruba match its desert habitat. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/WPZ. 

Aruba rattlesnakes eats rodents, birds and lizards in the wild, but here at Woodland Park Zoo our Aruba dines on mice.

You can help protect rattlesnakes from Aruba to Washington state by giving them your respect. While these venomous snakes can be dangerous, they rarely strike without being provoked. If you hear a rattle or spot a snake sunning itself the best thing to do is slowly turn around and walk away.

If you are heading into the Day Exhibit, stop by and check out this beautiful viper. She is most active in the morning, but she is just as pretty when she is sleeping!

Did you know that the genus for rattlesnake, the Greek word Crotalus, refers to a castanet? A castanet is a small percussion instrument made of a pair of concave shells which are snapped together in one hand, in other words, a rattle! Photo by Kirsten Pisto/WPZ.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Protecting pollinators: the butterfly effect

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

Like these?

Blooming plants at Woodland Park Zoo. Photos by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo and Mat Hayward/Woodland Park Zoo.

Then we need these:

Photos from top, clockwise: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo; Flickr user jeffreyww under Creative Commons License; Flickr user leshoward under Creative Commons License

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 the environment. The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment.
Let’s talk the birds and the bees of pollination. During pollination, pollen from the stamen (male part of the flower) is moved to the stigma (female part), fertilizing it. This is what leads to the creation of fruits and seeds. Wind moves pollen around and is responsible for some of that fertilization. But, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 75% of all flowering plants are pollinated by bees, butterflies and other animals.

Lose the pollinators, lose the plants. Lose the plants, lose the plant eaters. Lose the plant eaters, lose the meat eaters. It brings a whole new meaning to that old standby sci-fi trope that one seemingly small change can set off a series of unintended consequences—the butterfly effect. It’s all about the connections!

A Northwest native, the Oregon silverspot butterfly. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

In the field, Woodland Park Zoo works to restore pollinator populations through our Living Northwest conservation program. Thanks to your support, we’re able to work on projects like Butterflies of the Northwest, through which we’re helping to repopulate endangered Oregon silverspot butterflies on the Oregon coast by hatching eggs here at the zoo and releasing them as caterpillars into the wild.

Conservation efforts in the field and this new governmental commitment to action are the sprout of change, but we need your help to make it grow.

Share this article with one of these badges to let your friends know which action you’ll commit to taking for pollinators:

I will go native for pollinators.
Native pollinators need native plants to thrive. Commit to planting native plants in your backyard or community. Attend a Backyard Habitat class at the zoo or visit our backyard demonstration garden in the Family Farm exhibit to pick up tips. If you live in the King County area, you can look up native plants with this handy tool

I will keep my dirt clean for pollinators.
Reduce your use of pesticides in the garden to protect the health of native pollinators attracted to your flowers. Using native plants or compost like Woodland Park Zoo’s popular Zoo Doo will help your garden flourish, and can thus reduce the need for chemical pest control, which can unintentionally kill important pollinators.

I will raise a glass for pollinators.
A portion of the purchase of each bottle of Pelican Pub & Brewery’s award-winning Silverspot IPA supports the Oregon silverspot butterfly restoration project. Look for the brew at retailers across the Seattle area.

(Badge photos from top: Mat Hayward/WPZ, Ryan Hawk/WPZ, Ryan Hawk/WPZ)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

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.

The Rain Forest Food Pavilion will soon be decked out with solar panels. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

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.

A rendering of the zoo's commissary with a solar panel installation. 

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.

The zoo's Historic Carousel hosts solar panels on the pavilion roof. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Solar energy isn’t new for the zoo—in 2011, solar panels were installed on our Historic Carousel, providing enough renewable energy to power the carousel all year long. That’s 100,000 rides worth of power! Even our parking meters feature small solar panels. 

This community project marks an exciting next step towards the zoo’s sustainability goal to reduce carbon use by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. What makes it extra special is that you get to join us in it! Together with our community, this project brings us closer to meeting our ambitious yet attainable, mission-driven goal for a more sustainable future.

To learn more about the project, browse our FAQ or visit Seattle City Light’s Community Solar webpage.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

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 cubs turned 1 last December and celebrated with piñatas. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

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!

Remember when the cubs were this small? Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

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 Studio Hanson/Roberts, the new spacious, naturalistic exhibit complex will transform and enhance the exhibit experience for the zoo’s animals, visitors and staff, and will reduce resource consumption with sustainable design strategies. The multimillion-dollar exhibit project is the final and most ambitious initiative of the zoo’s $80 million More Wonder More Wild Campaign.

Rendering of the new sloth bear exhibit design, opening in May 2015. Credit: MIR.

When the new exhibit opens in 2015, visitors will see, hear and smell the lively sloth bears as they interact with enrichment opportunities to retrieve food hidden in digging pits, slurp grubs out of logs in their ravine landscape, and put their vacuum-like eating style to work at a keeper-assisted feeding demonstration. The state-of-the-art exhibit complex will empower and inspire visitors with up-close animal encounters, hands-on learning, and links to meaningful conservation actions visitors can take to build a better future for wildlife.

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

About sloth bears
Sloth bears, an endangered species, are native to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, where fewer than 10,000 remain in the wild. Their survival is challenged by poaching for pet trade, declining populations, deforestation, and the bear parts trade for use in traditional Asian medicines. Woodland Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for the sloth bears, a cooperative breeding and conservation program designed to maintain genetic diversity in North American zoo populations, and conduct research and field programs to better understand and protect the species in the wild.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Who’s Your Favorite Giraffe at the Zoo?

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

Photos by Stan Milkowski 
Giraffe soak up the sun on the savanna at Woodland Park Zoo.
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. I am always in awe of their size, spirit and silence.  (They can make noise but they usually don’t.)   There’s nothing I don’t love about giraffe, but they can be stubborn. They sometimes decide they don’t want to cross to the open savanna exhibit, from their barn area, and they can stand around for 30 minutes… I really have to dig deep on my patience!

Tufani gets low for a grassy snack.
Tufani: female, born July 8, 2008. Sister to Olivia, aunt to Misawa.

Tufani has darker brown spots, bald ossicones and is excessively drooly. Her favorite snack is omolene (a sweet grain). Katie tells us that she is very good at eating the entirety of the browse at the giraffe feed, but that she can get quite impatient while waiting for her treats. She is bold with people, unless that person is a kid in full zebra face paint, in which case she might not cross their path!

Princess Olivia
Olivia: female, born February 27, 2007. Sister to Tufani, mother to Misawa.

Olivia is lighter in color than Tufani, has smooth symmetrical ossicones and a cool “princess-crown” spot on the lower right side of her neck. She is particularly skilled at flinging water when she drinks as well as ignoring her keeper, Katie, and doing whatever she pleases. Olivia does not like being touched, but can be persuaded with her favorite snack, a rye crisp cracker.

Katie tells a funny story about a zoo visitor.  Once a lady came to the zoo and said she could communicate with the animals. We asked her what Olivia was thinking/saying.  The woman replied, “A lot of mumbling, the only word I could make out was ‘heavy’”.  We thanked her and then had a good laugh about it later.  Olivia was very pregnant at the time (with future Misawa) and it seemed fitting.

Young Misawa scouting out the savanna.
Misawa: male, born August 6, 2013. Son to Olivia, nephew to Tufani.

Misawa is the youngest member of the herd. You can spot him easily because he is still much smaller than the other giraffe and very playful. His face is also quite white. His favorite food, just like aunt Tufani, is omolene. A few months shy of a year old, Katie says Misawa is really good at “looking adorable when running around the savanna!” but he is bad at staying out of trouble!

Katie’s favorite Misawa story: Misawa once decided to get a feed bucket stuck on his head for a couple of minutes.  It was pretty funny to look at.  I wasn't sure how I was going to help him, but then he just tilted his head and it came right off. He was very calm about the whole thing, but I was pretty worried!

Our newest giraffe, Dave! This photo was taken by Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society.
Dave, male, born November 12, 2012. Newest member of the herd!

Dave has a dark brown head, and is covered in thin white lines with solid brown patches. Keepers tell us he has a super long tongue, which he uses to grab his favorite treat, leaf-eater biscuits. Since coming to Woodland Park Zoo, he has been very good at training and working with his new keepers. Katie says to watch out for his long legs: at Brookfield Zoo, from where he came, he jumped over a small fence and walked through a door to get back inside his barn, defying his keepers and giving them a little challenge! 

Tufani with her long-legged nephew, Misawa.
So which giraffe is your favorite? 

We think they are all pretty great! In their native habitat, giraffe and wildlife species that share the east African plains are facing extreme habitat loss and destruction, primarily from human-animal conflicts. With fewer than 80,000 giraffe remaining in the wild, you can help support conservation efforts by:
  • Visiting Woodland Park Zoo which supports the Tarangire Elephant Project, a protected area for giraffe, elephants and various vulnerable species to provide a healthy environment for wildlife.
  •  Give them a shout. Share this post and get your friends to show their love for giraffe!
And don’t forget to watch the Giraffe Barn Cam (Dave Cam)! Our newest giraffe is in quarantine at the giraffe barn. We’ll be sure to announce when he’s ready to debut on the savanna, but for now you can sneak a peek at what he is up to at the barn: zoo.org/giraffecam

Thursday, June 19, 2014

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.

Tree kangaroo joey peers out from Mom's pouch. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

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 endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo, the signature species at the heart of TKCP.

The Equator Prize 2014 recognizes the great impact TKCP-PNG has made to the YUS community through the YUS Conservation Area, the first of its kind in PNG. The Conservation Area has become a model of locally-owned protected forests that not only conserve wildlife but also focus on community health, education and livelihood. Since the YUS Conservation Area’s establishment in 2009, Woodland Park Zoo’s TKCP and TKCP-PNG have made significant improvements to the YUS community, empowering local residents to self-sufficiently manage the community’s environmental and natural resources.  TKCP-PNG ensures that the indigenous landowners and communities drive the efforts of land management and play a leading role in planning, monitoring and managing the land use of the YUS region.

The luscious YUS landscape in Papua New Guinea. Photo by Ryan Hawk/ Woodland Park Zoo.

In recent years, TKCP-PNG and Woodland Park Zoo established a partnership with Caffé Vita, a Seattle-based coffee roaster, to bring alternative revenue to the YUS landowners and their communities. Through a direct trade agreement, YUS farmers have exported nearly 8 tons of coffee over three years to generate profits that benefit 11 local villages. The funds are reinvested in the community through education, health and development projects. As a result, farmers are providing their families and neighbors with necessary schooling, health education and a reliable income. TKCP Director and Senior Conservation Scientist Dr. Lisa Dabek is returning to PNG this fall with a team of Pacific Northwest doctors to develop health trainings, lead midwife workshops, and promote family health and nutrition in the remote YUS region.

Dr. Lisa Dabek will represent TKCP-PNG during the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit and the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in New York in September 2014. Please join us in congratulating TKCP-PNG on their achievements and positive impacts toward community-based conservation.

Matschie’s tree kangaroo in Papua New Guinea. Photo by Bruce Beehler/Conservation International.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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 Chinese medicine, and are most often sold as pets, both in Asia and here in the United States.
You can take action to help these special turtles by…
  • Pledging never to purchase black-breasted leaf turtles which have been collected from the wild. Most specimens found in pet stores today are still imported directly from the wild, although there are some farms where the turtles are bred in captivity. However, even these farms are not good news for the little turtles, as many have to endure poor conditions where they are subjected to illness and parasites before arriving in the U.S.
  • Supporting conservation projects in Asia, such as our Wildlife Survival Fund project, Turtle Survival Alliance, where these turtles are naturally occurring. Protecting their home is the best way to keep their populations healthy.
  • There is quite a high demand for these turtles in the Asian food markets, be on the lookout for these products and do not take part in buying or selling items which demand using these delicate critters for consumption or medicinal purposes.
  • Save the date for August 9, Asian Wildlife Conservation Day at Woodland Park Zoo to learn more about how you can help.

Baby black-breasted leaf turtle, photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

They might not be able to say “thank you”, but your conservation actions will help to protect these tiny turtles and their future.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Otter brothers turn 1

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

When otters play tug-of-war, we all win. Photo by Stan Milkowski/Woodland Park Zoo.

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…

Soooooo good! This photo was taken in August 2013 when the pups were two months old. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

…that the Seahawks rule…

These champion otters were named for the champion Seahawks' Legion of Boom. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

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

When the pups were first learning to swim outdoors, dad had a habit of not letting them go! Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

…and that they’re not the babies anymore! But there's much they can teach the newest little ones...

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 by looking out for the littlest pups.

The lodge. Photo by Stan Milkowski/Woodland Park Zoo.

You can look out for these guys, too! Become a ZooParent and adopt an otter today. Not only will your gift help care for the otters and other animals at the zoo, but $5 will go directly to the zoo’s field conservation efforts that make our world a more wild place to live.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Salmon toss kicks off this weekend’s Bear Affair

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

The fishmongers toss salmon in front of the grizzly exhibit. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

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.

The bears catch the scent. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

This moment feels so perfectly Seattle.

Bear. Woodland Park Zoo. Salmon. Pike Place Fish Market. So Seattle. Photo by John Loughlin/Woodland Park Zoo.

Then the toss begins.

Tossing a "stunt" salmon. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

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.

There's the pitch! Photo by Stan Milkowski/Woodland Park Zoo.

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

Success! Photo by John Loughlin/Woodland Park Zoo.

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 Northwest wildlife. A highlight will be the grizzlies ransacking a mock backyard wedding reception set up in their exhibit as well as a camp site.

The bears will crash a mock backyard wedding set up in their exhibit during Bear Affair this Sat., June 7. Photo by Mat Hayward/Woodland Park Zoo.

Zoo staff and conservation experts will be on hand to share safety tips, and information on what these animals need to survive in the wild, how to help keep these animals safe from humans and what humans can do to peacefully co-exist. Conservation and community partners include Western Wildlife Outreach, Vital Ground, Wolf Haven, and National Parks Conservation Association. Karelian bear dogs return to demonstrate how the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife partner dogs play an essential role in training nuisance bears and cougars to avoid human contact. Boy Scout Troop 638 shares safety camping tips, and kids can make a butterfly garden marker and take home sunflower seeds for planting.

Original photo by Mat Hayward/WPZ; modified.

If you want to test your bear-smarts before heading to Bear Affair, take the quiz to find out if you’re a Bear-Smart Camper. Then pick up wildlife safety tips at the event, or tune into the bear demonstrations on the live streaming Bear Cam.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

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 steps out of the trailer and into his new home at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park 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.

The extra tall trailer provided stretching room for the young giraffe. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.

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.

The other giraffes watched Dave's arrival. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.

In this video, you’ll see the unloading process from Dave’s arrival. Keepers helped guide the truck to the Giraffe Barn. The trailer door opened and out stepped Dave. Just as planned, he headed down the outdoor hallway right into the indoor barn where his keepers can now keep an eye on him during the standard 30-day quarantine for all newly arrived animals. Look for adult females Olivia and Tufani taking notice of the handsome new guy in the video—and our little calf, Misawa, barely batting an eye at Dave’s smooth entrance!

Dave will be off-view during this initial quarantine period. While visitors can’t see him just yet, the other giraffes have visual contact with him and they are all showing quite a bit of interest in each other.

To help transition his diet, Dave arrived with his own pack of food and feeders from Chicago. He'll eventually be moved over to Woodland Park Zoo's giraffe diet as he adjusts. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.

Introductions to the herd and other savanna animals will slowly take place upon completion of Dave’s quarantine exams. When he’s ready to debut out on the savanna, we’ll be sure to let you all know!

Though our behind-the-scenes Giraffe Barn Cam is currently down during this time of transition in the barn, you can tune into our new, outdoor Savanna Cam to see Olivia, Tufani, Misawa and the other savanna residents out on the exhibit plains.

In their native habitat, giraffe and wildlife species that share the east African plains are facing extreme habitat loss and destruction, primarily from human-animal conflicts. In partner with the Tarangire Elephant Project, Woodland Park Zoo supports a protected area for giraffe, elephants and various vulnerable species to provide a healthy environment for wildlife. The east Africa conservation area is patrolled by 33 anti-poaching game scouts surrounding Tarangire National Park.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rare pheasant hatches

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications

The chick was photographed here at 8 days old. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

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.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

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.

A close up of the chick's feathers. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

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 in central Vietnam. It is critically endangered and has not been seen by conservationists since around 2000, and none were found during an intensive search for the species in 2011. The pheasant lost ground in the wild due to rampant deforestation from commercial logging and agriculture coupled with hunting.

We do not yet know the sex of the chick. If it is male, it will grow blue-black feathers, and if it is female, it will be a brown color. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

An international studbook on the Edwards’s pheasant is being maintained to document the genetic and demographic history of each individual animal in zoos to help ensure a genetically healthy population. Further, conservation plans are underway to help address habitat fragmentation and establish effective habitat protection in the species’ range. To continue this work in the field, Woodland Park Zoo partners with a variety of conservation organizations to help protect endangered and threatened species in the Pacific Northwest and around the world.