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Showing posts from February, 2015

Bamboo and Chai to join Oklahoma City Zoo elephant family

As many of you know, we have spent the last three months carefully evaluating new homes for Asian elephants Chai and Bamboo in order to give them a chance to join a larger social herd and ensure their long-term health and well-being.

We are happy to announce that we have selected Oklahoma City Zoo, which best meets our criteria based on recommendations from animal welfare experts: a social herd of Asian elephants into which Chai and Bamboo may successfully integrate, a state-of-the-art facility, a healthy environment free of active infectious disease, high caliber elephant keeper and veterinary staff, a restricted contact management system, and an established history of stable finances and leadership.

In the wild elephants live in multi-generational herds, so we are delighted we can place them with a herd that includes younger elephants to which Chai and Bamboo can be aunties!

We anticipate moving the elephants in late March to mid-April and are currently training Chai and Bamboo to…

Open houses for grizzly recovery in the Cascades

Posted by: Robert Long, Senior Conservation Fellow

Washington’s North Cascades Ecosystem, an area of 9,800 square miles comprising large swaths of public land and wilderness, is one of only two regions in the contiguous United States—the other being the Northern Rockies—capable of supporting all of the larger carnivore species native to the United States. Most of these species, including black bears, cougars, and now gray wolves and wolverines, already occur in or are recolonizing their former habitats. Now, the American public will get the opportunity to support the recovery of grizzly bears—an iconic symbol of wildness—in the North Cascades.

Grizzly bear populations once stretched from the tundra of northern Canada down through the Pacific Northwest and into California and even Mexico. Because of excessive hunting and trapping during the 1800s and early 1900s, however, grizzlies are now gone from the southern Pacific states, and very few—-possibly a handful or fewer—now call Washing…

Announcing daily schedule for lion cubs

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

It’s official: the lion cubs are now going out on a daily schedule, 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., weather permitting.

We want to see your photos! Please share your best cub pics with us on Facebook or tag @woodlandparkzoo on Twitter and Instagram.

Great ape birthday was a smashing celebration!

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

If you missed the Great Ape Senior Celebration on Saturday (or just want to relive the jubilee) check out a few of our favorite photos from the birthday festivities honoring orangutans, Chinta and Towan as well as gorillas, Pete and Nina.

Twin orangutans Chinta and Towan celebrated their 47th birthday with special treats, birthday decorations and a whole lot of party guests! Born in 1968, the twins were the first born in a zoo. Towan is now the oldest male orangutan in North America.

Born at Woodland Park Zoo, the twin orangutans gained instant national celebrity status as the first-known twin orangutans born in a zoo. Photos of the pair in diapers appeared around the globe, including “Life” magazine. While other twins have since been born, twin orangutan births are still a rare occurrence.

Orangutans, Towan and Chinta, share their birth year with iconic gorillas, Pete and Nina, so we invited anyone born in 1968 to join the party free of admiss…

Ivory ban legislation fails to pass in Washington

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

We’re disappointed to share the news that legislation to #BanIvoryWA failed to pass in Olympia this year. Special interest groups opposing the bipartisan House and Senate bills fought hard to put the protection of ivory products above the protection of elephants.

The African elephant will go extinct within 20 years if we don’t take unprecedented action to stop wildlife trafficking, which includes ending the legal loopholes that allow the ivory black market to continue right here in the United States.

If you believe no one needs ivory more than elephants, then we need your help.

Next year we’ll bring this legislation back to Olympia and we’ll need to be louder than before to contend with the opposition. We need voices all over the state—from Aberdeen to Zillah—to stand up for elephants. Talk to your friends, ask them to join the herd, and sign up for news at to be on the inside track for the next round in Olympia.

Though there’…

Year of the Goat and Sheep

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications
Photos by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

Today, February 19th, Chinese New Year will welcome the new zodiac sign. 2015 is the year of the sheep… goat! Sheep! GOAT! Depending on who you ask, some will say it is the year of the sheep and some will say it is the year of the goat, while others will say it’s a combination of both. According to some Chinese folklorists, the symbol is actually of a fictional ‘yang,’ which refers to any member of the caprinae family. Both goats and sheep appear in Chinese New Year paintings, paper-cuts and other festival decorations.

But here is the real question: do you know the difference between a sheep and a goat? You might think it’s easy, but the two animals share many similarities.
Here’s a fleecy checklist of the two animals compared side by side…

q Tubby or thin Goats are usually more slender-looking, while sheep are generally rounder-looking.

q Bearded or maned Sheep have a thick mane, while goats are typicall…

How to tell the lion cubs apart

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

Have you noticed the shaved patches of fur on the lion cubs?

These patches help us tell the three brothers apart at a quick glance.

And now that the brothers have names—thanks to your votes and an assist from dad Xerxes—we want to give you the inside scoop on which cub is which!

You voted for Tandie (meaning “fire”) as your favorite name for the cubs, and keepers decided to give it to the cub whose right shoulder is shaved. This cub is the spitfire of the three, making him a perfect Tandie!

The name Gandia (meaning “clever”) was given to the cub who has shown the most independence and curiosity. He is easy to spot by the shaved mark on his hip.

Finally, the biggest cub was dubbed Mandla (meaning “power”), and can be spotted by his left shoulder shaved mark.

So, now that you have the cheat sheet, can you tell which cub is which in this photo?

The cubs’ outdoor schedule remains intermittent. As warm, dry weather allows, the cubs will continue to make i…

Love like an animal

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

Watch out, Seattle: Cupid’s been hitting the mark on Phinney Ridge for over 100 years! This Valentine’s Day we've got the smitten kittens and the lovey dovies to inspire you...
Affectional bonding between animals is also known as pair bonding. Sociobiology circles use this term to differentiate from “love,” a very human term. Pair bonding is a strong affinity between animals that are lifelong mates, temporary partners or can just refer to strong teamwork. Animals have their own unique ways to bond and show affection.
Here is a look at some of the animal bonding pairs at the zoo and a thing or two you can learn from these animal sweethearts:

African dwarf crocodiles: Keep smiling

This toothy pair has been together since 1973! What’s the secret to their lasting relationship? Lots of crocodile smiles; sharing snacks (mice, rats, chicks and quail); and a love language all their own.  The male lets out a really low growl, typically with his throa…

Zoo conservation scientist awarded Wilburforce Fellowship

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications

Dr. Robert Long, Woodland Park Zoo’s first senior conservation fellow, has been recognized among the first group of 20 scientists awarded  the newly established Wilburforce Fellowship in Conservation Science, announced recently by the Wilburforce Foundation and COMPASS.

The overarching goal of the Wilburforce Fellowship program is to build a community of conservation science leaders who excel in using science to help achieve durable conservation solutions in western North America.

The Wilburforce Fellowship program provides skills development and sustained mentorship to help spark transformative, lasting change in how scientists approach their work. By bringing together scientists from across a broad spectrum of career stages, disciplines, geographies, and affiliations, the Wilburforce Fellowship will break down the silos that are often barriers to collaboration and collective action.

Long and his 19 counterparts were selected from a competitiv…

Summer is almost here (believe it or not)

Posted by: Jessie Maxwell, Education

You can feel it in the air—it’s that time of year again: the hustle, the bustle, the warm temperatures. Before you know it, the kiddos will be out of school and it will be summertime!

Too soon, you might think? Not in my world; that’s why I have one of the best jobs at the zoo! I manage Woodland Park Zoo’s summer camp program. To campers, I’m known as the “Alpha Dog,” so for me summer is always near!

Summer camp at the zoo is a wonderful blend of learning and fun as campers (ages 3-14) explore the zoo with their peers and teachers for a week at a time. Through imaginative play, games, activities and crafts our camp instructors weave together zoology content, wildlife conservation and just plain fun to make their groups’ week of camp a success.

One of my favorite things about camp is who I am surrounded by. I love sharing my love of animals and the natural world with the kids who come to camp, and I love learning from them! Even if coming to camp is…