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Top 15 photos of 2015

Posted by: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Photography and Videography

As 2015 draws to a close, our team of editors and photographers recently took a look back through our photo vault to find some of the best images created here at the zoo in the past year. With well over 1,600 photos to choose from it was no easy task, but we think we found 15 photos for 2015 that will encourage you to learn, care and act in the coming New Year!


We loved this photo, also featured as our December 2015 shot in the 2016 calendar, for its awkward family photo vibe. Zoo blog editor Rebecca Whitham summed it up thusly: “It has all the hallmarks of a classic family photo: one guy in the middle giving blue steel while others are looking off to the side, blinking or getting caught making funny faces.” Which one are you?


Awww! This year we celebrated our 49th and 50th penguin chicks here at the zoo. And they couldn’t be cuter! This adorable photo came from one of their first exams.


Pretty bird, solid composition, and …

A special winter gift: sloth bear is born

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications
UPDATE | Dec. 30, 2015
Sad news: At just over one week old, our baby sloth bear passed away overnight. The baby had been under mom’s care in a private maternity den. This is the second cub to pass from Kushali’s December 19 litter—the first cub was not viable and did not survive past the first 48 hours. Though we hoped for a happier outcome for the second cub, and its first days were encouraging, the cub passed during the night as mom slept. It is not uncommon for first-time sloth bear mothers to lose their litter. Sloth bears are born tiny and blind, and the first few days are always critical. Kushali was an attentive mom and will have other opportunities to breed in the future. 

It’s hard to lose a gift as beautiful as new life especially for a species at risk, and we want to thank you all for your support. 

ORIGINAL POST | Dec. 28, 2015 We’re excited to share some wonderful news; our young female sloth bear, Kushali, gave birth to her first cub.…

Baby gorilla introduction sessions showing progress in tiny steps

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications Photos by: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo
Introductions between first-time mother Nadiri and her new baby are moving along at a slow pace, but a step in the right direction is good news, no matter how tiny those steps may be.
The baby western lowland gorilla, a female, was born November 20 to 19-year-old Nadiri. After giving birth naturally, Nadiri did not pick up her baby. Staff immediately stepped in for the safety and welfare of the baby and to allow the new mom to rest. Because Nadiri does not have experience with motherhood, the zoo prepared for different outcomes while Nadiri was pregnant, including human intervention.



Zoo gorilla and veterinary staff are providing 24/7 care for the baby gorilla behind the scenes in the gorillas’ sleeping quarters in a den next to Nadiri. The mom and the other two members in her group can see the baby, and the baby is immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of gorillas.
According to Nancy Haw…

Whooo is new in Northern Trail?

Posted by: Judy Mukai, Docent Photos by: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

Rarely seen in the wild, great gray owls are the newest residents in Northern Trail. Often called “great gray ghosts,” “phantoms of the North” or “spectral owls,” great gray owls live up to their name. They are the largest North American owl, standing up to 2.75 feet tall. Their huge, round heads and distinctive facial disks create a most impressive appearance. However, they are not the heaviest owls; they look big but only weigh between 1.5 to 3.7 pounds. Great gray owls have extremely fluffy plumage on their head and body and densely feathered toes. The size and plumage befit a bird of the far North. The birds range throughout northern North America and Eurasia especially in dense boreal forests. Their mottled and streaked gray/brown coloration provides excellent camouflage in the trees.
Our great gray owls, Hedwig and Neville, moved from the Temperate Forest in late July and have settled into the Northern Trail…

Winter Celebration!

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications
A certain red-capped, white-bearded, perpetually jolly fella made a special stop to ask the animals what is on their wish lists this year. Though the answers were only audible to those with a little magic in their ears, Santa seemed to understand.

Stop by this weekend and next to see if the jolly old elf got it right, at the zoo’s annual Winter Celebration! Animals will receive holiday-themed treats such as wreaths and evergreen trees adorned with assorted fruit, fancy fish hidden in the boughs of a pine tree or gift wrapped boxes filled with favorite treats!


Keepers will offer enriching treats as part of the celebration, which highlights animal behavior such as foraging and seeking out hidden smells and tasty treats. The celebration kicks off this Saturday with lions, wolves, golden lion tamarins and a fan-favorite, Asian small-clawed otters.




Jingle, jingle!

Mapping an Urban Forest

Posted by: Bridget Dunn, Communications
“Is that a metal detector?” “Does that thing track sound waves? “Are you with Google Earth?”


These are all questions that have been aimed at Michael Bradshaw in the last few months.  So what is he doing wandering Woodland Park Zoo grounds with a GPS and 7’ pole? You’ll probably never guess: He’s mapping trees!
Bradshaw, a forest science grad student at the University of Washington, is part of a project the zoo is very excited to finally tackle: creating a full inventory of the trees around our campus. This project will assess the health of our large urban forest through the evaluation of every tree on our grounds. Bradshaw is mapping trees and taking notes on their health, which is the first of three stages of this project. He does this work with special GPS mapping equipment which is accurate within 4-12”. This information is overlaid with other information about the zoo to create a detailed database for grounds management.  He anticipates fi…

How to: Protect rain forests while holiday shopping

Posted by: Bridget Dunn, Public Affairs

As a little holiday gift from us to you, here’s our official Woodland Park Zoo Shopping Guide to Certified Sustainable Palm Oil products to help you have a sustainable holiday season and a renewable new year!

The guide provides an easy way to identify products that contain palm oil which has been grown and manufactured in a way that is safer for rain forests and their inhabitants. Choosing products that are better for the environment helps keep the holiday season bright for animals around the world.


It is vitally important to support certified sustainable palm oil agriculture that is deforestation free. In Malaysia, Indonesia and Borneo, conventional palm oil agriculture is decimating tropical rain forests and their inhabitants, including orangutans, tigers, hornbills and Asian elephants. Old growth forest and peatlands (also known as tropical swamp forests) are being burned and illegally logged to make way for both small-holder and industrial p…

Daily introductions between mom and baby continue; zoo plans to provide hands-on care for baby gorilla for next few months

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications Photos by: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo
We have a little update on our gorilla Nadiri and her newborn baby. Attempts to introduce the first-time mother gorilla to her new baby continue every day. For now, the plan for the next three months will be to keep on providing hands-on care for the female gorilla infant before evaluating next steps.

The baby western lowland gorilla was born November 20 to 19-year-old Nadiri. After giving birth naturally, Nadiri did not pick up her baby and, instead, walked away. Staff immediately stepped in for the safety and welfare of the baby and to allow the new mom to rest. Because Nadiri does not have experience with motherhood, the zoo prepared for different eventualities while Nadiri was pregnant, including human intervention.
Zoo gorilla and veterinary staff are providing 24/7 care for the baby gorilla behind the scenes in the gorillas’ sleeping quarters in a den next to Nadiri. Here, the mom and t…

A beastly guide to giving thanks

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

Each Thanksgiving season we try our best to put into words just how grateful we are for your friendship and support. With your passion for saving wildlife and wild spaces, with your generous support in providing the most nutritious diets and state-of-the-art animal health care, and most of all your love for each and every creature here at the zoo—we are incredibly lucky to call you our zoo family.
If we could invite you all to a Thanksgiving feast we would, but unfortunately the animals might get grumpy if we start sharing their grub. Instead, here is a little Thanksgiving-inspired fun to share with your loved ones. This holiday, know we are thinking of you and sending you love from the zoo. Stay cozy and enjoy your pie!
Here are 10 ways to give thanks (like an animal):


Whether it is a tasty fish or a pumpkin pie, give thanks for a full belly.


Be thankful for family, young and old (and everyone in between).

Show your appreciation by being polit…