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Showing posts from December, 2014

Top 14 of 2014

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor From welcoming new faces to celebrating old friends, heralding conservation milestones and leading veterinary breakthroughs, it’s been a year to remember. We take a look at some of our favorite stories from 2014—those that touched our hearts, made us smile, and made a positive impact on the world we share. Here’s to a wild 2015! 14. Grizzly brothers turn 20 Photo by John Loughlin/Woodland Park Zoo. We’ve watched grizzly bear brothers Keema and Denali grow up at Woodland Park Zoo, transforming from cautious little cubs to kings of the Northern Trail. When the pair turned 20 last January, they… slept right through it . Winter is a time of little activity for bears, after all. But as they stirred from their winter slumber, we surprised them with a belated birthday blast in April, complete with mounds of snow trucked in by our good friends at Crystal Mountain Resort. Hidden throughout the snow were favorite treats from meaty knuckle bone

Winter 101, tips from the Northern Trail

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications Fantasizing about hibernating during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season? Many of us wish we could find a cozy den, curl up and peace out until spring, but there are ways to cope! Here are a few insider tips from the residents of the Northern Trail, our winter experts. Wolves on the Northern Trail. Photo by Kirsten Pisto, Woodland Park Zoo. Slip and slide North American river otters know that saving precious energy during cold spells in not only smart, it can be a lot of fun! These playful winter experts use ice to slide to wherever they need to go. They might look like they are just having a blast, but they are conserving calories while they’re at it. We highly recommend sledding, but we aren’t sure it will save energy, so bring a snack if you plan to replicate this adaptation. North American river otters. Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo. Feet first You aren’t going to get very far if you are stuck in the

Welcome Yukiko, the new male red panda

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications We’ve got a new arrival to the Temperate Forest… he’s got a fiery red coat and his name is Yukiko!  As part of Woodland Park Zoo’s preventive care program, our veterinary team performed a full physical examination of Yukiko including his weight, blood work and radiographs. “We are pleased overall with his weight and blood work and he appears to be in good shape,” said Dr. Darin Collins, director of Woodland Park Zoo’s Animal Health Programs.  Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo. Yukiko during his preventative exam. Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo. Dr. Darin Collins checks out Yukiko's teeth and gums. Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo. The 9-year-old panda arrived under the Red Panda Species Survival Plan conservation breeding program from Red River Zoo in Fargo, N.D. Yukiko will be paired up with our female, 7-year-old Stellar, in the hopes that they hit it off. The breeding season for red pandas occurs fro

Training animals to take part in their own care

Posted by: Susan Fisher, Animal Management Woodland Park Zoo is deeply committed to providing excellent day-to-day care for our animals. In our efforts to continually raise the bar in animal welfare, WPZ has developed a robust and ever-evolving behavioral husbandry program. Recently, we were fortunate to bring nationally-recognized behavioral husbandry expert Marty MacPhee to Seattle to lead workshops and one-on-one sessions with our animal care and education staff. Marty has helped develop programs for Brookfield Zoo and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. She also helped design and taught the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) courses “Animal Training Applications in Zoos and Aquariums” and “Managing Animal Enrichment and Training Programs.” Many of our zookeepers and animal managers have already had the opportunity to complete these courses with more to enroll in the years to come. Marty MacPhee meets Marty the porcupine. Photo by Deanna Ramirez/Woodland Park Zoo. In fact, som

Simon’s song comes to an end

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications We have some sad news to share: Our long-time resident Simon the siamang was humanely euthanized yesterday, Monday, Dec. 15, after showing signs of declining health related to long-term chronic illness. Simon was 34 years old. Simon, photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo. Mammal curator Martin Ramirez remembers our operatic little dude. “Simon was a favorite of zoo guests and staff for the interest he showed in anyone who came to visit him. To the delight of our visitors, Simon would often leap from a branch in the back of his exhibit to the window sill to be closer to them.  His routine early morning calls were as much a part of the zoo opening as the daily PA announcement. His hoots could be heard across the zoo, even as he began to have trouble with the high notes.  He will be missed even by those who only knew him by his voice.” Simon was hand raised until he moved to Woodland Park Zoo at 2 years old in 1982. He really enjoye

3 animals you’d never notice unless they were gone

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications They may not be as well-known by the 180 million people who visit Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited zoos and aquariums each year, but desert pupfish , freshwater mussels , and Polynesian tree snails play important roles in their respective ecosystems. If not for the hard work of AZA-accredited institutions and their conservation partners, some of these and many other animals would already have vanished from the planet. With a growing number of human-influenced threats threatening animals around the world, including poaching, deforestation, and an expanding population that already exceeds 7 billion people, we are facing what some scientists call the “Sixth Extinction.” The 228 accredited members of AZA continue to build upon their history and expertise of saving endangered species such as breeding programs that coordinate across many institutions to ensure healthy genetic and demographic diversity and partnerships with loc

ZooCrew projects highlight African conservation

Posted by: Stacey Hammond, Education The ZooCrew middle school outreach program is back in action this fall at Asa Mercer International Middle School, Washington Middle School, Seattle World School, and McClure Middle School. This quarter, ZooCrew participants learned about issues facing the animals of the African savanna. The participants designed their own projects to take action on these issues, raising awareness and advocating for the animals. Check out some of the projects from this quarter! Waterhole Restoration Project: bringing awareness to issues around waterholes in the African savanna and highlighting a resource for people to learn more about the issues and projects happening. Video created by Ava, Isobel, Tracey, Malia . Michael from Seattle World School chose to write about the Waterhole Restoration Project and bring awareness to the issue of resource depletion and how it affects animals. In his blog post, he explains what people can do to get involved with h

Lion cubs get a vet check-up

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications Attention TGIFers: Here is your update on the most adorable trio in Seattle. Our wriggly little lion cubs aced their 6-week exams this morning. Zoo veterinarians gave the energetic cublets a clean bill of health and good marks on their growth milestones. The routine wellness exam included blood draws, vaccinations, weigh-ins and an overall health assessment for the three boys. The cubs were a bit suspicious of the stethoscope, but all in all they were very calm during their exam. Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo. Throughout the exam the cubs were pretty quiet with a few occasional little growls. Their keepers were by their side at all times to reassure them. Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo. The cubs currently weigh between 15 and 17 pounds, which means they are getting plenty of mom’s milk and are growing quickly. The smallest cub is also the feistiest, just in case you were curious.  “We’re very pleased to rep