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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

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 bones and fish, to peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. It was a …

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. 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.
Feet first
You aren’t going to get very far if you are stuck in the snow. Our wolves are equipped with humungous paws with fleshy pads and claws that can spread out to provide traction in snow and ice. They also eat a LOT of food to ke…

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.
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 from early January to early March so Yukiko will remain off exhibit as he goes through a series of introductions to Stellar. The introductions will take place in off-view dens and both animals will remain off view until April.

There is currently no test available to determine pregnancy in a red panda. However, ultrasound and behavioral changes can help indicate a pregnancy. “Thanks to the dedication and innovati…

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.

In fact, some of our keepers were so inspired by their experience in the AZA course, that they named our No…

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. 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 enjoyed being around people and he quickly recognized faces he had s…

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 local, nati…

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 helping local co…

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 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 report that the cubs are feisty, as they should be, and strong,” said Dr. Darin Collins, Woodland Park Zoo’s director of Animal Health Programs. “They’re healthy, robust and within the normal weight range of lion cubs at their age. From the looks of their full, round bellies, they’re nursing regularly and Adia continues to be a good, attentive mother with…