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Showing posts from May, 2015

See gorillas, save gorillas

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

Since the passing of our gorilla grand matriarch, Nina, last week, we’ve heard from so many of you who remember her sweet presence—whether it was from one memorable visit that stuck with you or a lifetime of visits that added up to a special place in your heart for the notable dame.


We want you to know that those visits truly matter. Not just for the time you spend building a powerful connection with nature, but for the positive impact you make—perhaps without even realizing it—for wildlife across the world. That’s because every visit to Woodland Park Zoo helps support our local and international conservation efforts, like those helping to protect endangered western lowland gorillas—just like Nina—in the wild.


For 15 years, Woodland Park Zoo’s Partners for Wildlife conservation program has supported the Mbeli Bai Study in the Republic of Congo where researchers are gathering essential data about the elusive western lowland gorilla to shape conservati…

Quiz: Which Northwest animal are you?

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

It's time to find your inner beast, Northwest style! As we countdown to Bear Affair: Living Northwest Conservation presented by Brown Bear Car Wash on Sat., June 6, we're celebrating the wonders of Northwest wildlife with this fun little quiz that puts the spotlight on our native neighbors.


Learning to co-exist safely and harmoniously with our local wildlife is at the heart of Bear Affair. On the big day, June 6, grizzly bear brothers Keema and Denali will ransack a mock backyard and mock campsite in their exhibit to show us what happens when you don’t properly clean up or bear proof your outdoor living spaces. Zookeepers and conservation experts will be on hand to teach you the safety tips you can follow to avoid dangerous encounters like this in your yard or on your next camping or hiking adventure.


Through the zoo's Living Northwest conservation program, the spotlight also shines on other Pacific Northwest native wildlife with activiti…

Good night, sweet Nina

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor


A great grandmother and the bedrock of our gorilla groups, Nina passed away today at the age of 47.

The elderly gorilla had received such tender, specialized care from her keepers in her final geriatric years, but old age caught up with her today.

After a normal morning of eating and resting, Nina was not visible in any of her favorite spots in the exhibit later in the morning. When the keepers became concerned and started looking for her, she was spotted, not moving, under a large tree. Nina was taken to our veterinary hospital where animal care and veterinary staff made the humane decision to euthanize her.


Earlier this year many of you joined us for a special celebration in honor of Nina, her silverback mate Pete, as well as orangutan twins, Towan and Chinta, all of whom celebrated their 47th birthdays this winter. These ape old timers remind us how far we have come as a zoo and as a community.


In Nina’s lifetime, Woodland Park Zoo opened its firs…

Baby porcupine is here to add “porcupette” to your vocabulary

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor


A baby porcupine is known as a porcupette. It’s the cutest vocabulary word you’re likely to use today, as we’re confident you’ll be sharing this little face with everyone you know:


Born last Friday, May 15, this North American porcupine baby, whose sex is not yet known, weighed just over a pound at birth. It’s now pushing about 1.5 pounds (700 grams).



We thought of a few other things that weigh 1.5 pounds, but 175 packets of sugar, or four and a half bananas, or a small pineapple don’t stand up to this cuteness—though the pineapple may give it a run for prickliness.

About that prickliness. We get asked the question a lot and let us assure you—porcupettes are born with soft quills. They start to harden just a few hours after birth. 

For now, the baby is living with mom, Molly, in a behind-the-scenes den in Northern Trail. Molly leaves the den midday without the baby to stretch her legs and enjoy a feeding in the public exhibit. The father, Oliver, is …

Celebrate Endangered Species Day by Thanking a Tiger Hero

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

Today is Endangered Species Day, a time to reflect on the importance of wildlife conservation and restoration efforts for all imperiled species and those who work to protect them.


With the opening of our newest exhibit, Banyan Wilds, we’ve welcomed three young Malayan tigers to Woodland Park Zoo. It’s difficult to put into words how precious these individual creatures are, not only in our care, but precious in their very existence. When we began this immense project just a few years ago—the exhibit design, the Tigers Forever: Kenyir-Taman Negara,Malaysia Project and our Show Your Stripes advocacy campaign—we were under the impression that only 500 Malayan tigers were left in the wild. A daunting statistic. Since then, researchers and camera traps have revealed that number is even less; instead there may be fewer than 350 individuals that remain.

What can we do? Together, we can save tigers. We can work with 27 other Association of Zoos and Aquari…

Two young river otters join the Northern Trail

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

His name is Zigzag, Ziggy for short, and he’s true to his name. One of two new arrivals to the Northern Trail, this 18-month-old river otter has been zigging this way and that on land and in water, investigating every inch of his new home, and getting to know Duncan, our resident 17-year-old otter.


And now, Ziggy has encountered the most fascinating part of his new home, the part that will take the most getting used to…

…Valkyrie, a 1-year-old female river otter recently arrived from Pueblo Zoo.

A video posted by Woodland Park Zoo (@woodlandparkzoo) on May 14, 2015 at 9:57am PDT
Instagram video: https://instagram.com/p/2q3wD6pQRe
She’s tiny yet mighty, according to her keepers. Valkyrie is visibly smaller and more nimble than Duncan and Ziggy, but don’t let her size fool you. She is a cute little otter with a big voice and powerful presence among the group.


Ziggy is adventurous and active—named after the river that flows down Mount Hood through Zigzag …

Summer camp spotlight on Kinder Camp

Posted by: Jessie Maxwell, Education

Greetings from the desk of the Alpha Dog! We are almost finished with camp preparations since summer camp is—if you can believe it—only weeks away! I can’t wait to see all of the new and familiar faces arrive through our doors!

One of our most popular camps is Kinder Camp, designed for campers aged 3-5. Together, the camp staff and the children explore either the north or the south end of the zoo and use games, exploration and play to discover zoology and school-readiness around every corner!


Woodland Park Zoo’s summer camps are curricular-based, and Kinder Camp is no exception. Our highly trained staff is supplied with a compilation of activities, songs, games and crafts designed to achieve specific objectives outlined. Each day not only has science content objectives, but also social and emotional growth, gross and fine motor skills, and imaginative play objectives based on Washington State Early Learning and Development Benchmarks.

The best part …

Elephants Chai and Bamboo arrive at Oklahoma City Zoo

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor


Chai and Bamboo are unpacking their trunks, so to speak, after arriving at Oklahoma City Zoo.

With the final leg of their road trip complete, the two walked out of their crates early this morning and into the quarantine barn of their new home.

Veterinarians regularly checked on the elephants throughout the trip and found them in good shape and doing well. Upon their arrival, Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino, Oklahoma City Zoo Director of Veterinary Services, noted both elephants looked great this morning. They immediately interacted with their keepers, munched on watermelon, cantaloupe, raisins and hay, enjoyed sand baths and explored their surroundings.

Sound the trumpets & roll out the welcome mat...Bamboo & Chai have arrived. #elephantsOKpic.twitter.com/fhaU91dlbt — Oklahoma City Zoo (@okczoo) May 13, 2015
Chai and Bamboo have now entered a 30-day quarantine period, which is standard for any new animal arrival at an accredited zoo. Their Woodland P…

Elephants Chai and Bamboo continue their journey to Oklahoma City Zoo

Asian elephants Chai and Bamboo departed San Diego Zoo yesterday evening to continue their journey to Oklahoma City Zoo.

“We are so grateful to San Diego Zoo for providing a comfortable rest stop for Chai and Bamboo while we worked with our colleagues and the animal transport team to line up logistics for the final leg of the journey,” said Dr. Deborah Jensen, Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO.

“Meticulous planning has gone into this transport. With a window of favorable weather, expert transport staff available, and a new route coordinated, Chai and Bamboo are ready to move to their new home and family,” added Jensen.

Accompanied by five Woodland Park Zoo elephant care staff, three veterinarians and six expert animal transport staff, the elephants are traveling in separate, ventilated crates equipped with heating and evaporative cooler units, as well as closed circuit cameras that allow staff to monitor the animals remotely in real time.

The crates were lifted by crane and placed …

Woodland Park Zoo and The Seattle Public Library: A partnership worth roaring about

Posted by: Kerston Swartz, Public Affairs and Advocacy


We’re kind of tiger nerds at Woodland Park Zoo.

You already know this: the zoo has its paws in a lot of tiger-related stuff this summer. So far, we opened our new Banyan Wilds exhibit featuring three new Malayan tiger brothers and organized prominent local artists to decorate ten magnificent fiberglass tigers to place throughout the community as part of the Show Your Stripes art tour… and it’s only May.


Add to the list a partnership worth roaring about.


With all this tiger mania going on, imagine our excitement when The Seattle Public Library invited us to partner on its Summer of Learning Program. We’re calling this summer’s program “Wild Science!”, focusing on fun ways to get children and adults to learn about and love tigers as much as we do.


Wild Science! features a summer full of fun programs and reading opportunities. Look for special events and activities at your branch library, or join the Summer of Learning Program and sp…

Celebrate Mother's Day with Mom & Me

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

At Woodland Park Zoo, Mother's Day is a chance to celebrate moms of all species!

Join us for the 25th annual Mom & Me at the Zoo, Sat., May 9, 2015, 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Moms receive half-price admission to the zoo on the day of the event (discount not available online). You'll find activities for the whole family out on the North Meadow including live entertainment, arts and crafts, and play areas.

Then catch keeper talks to learn more about how moms of the animal kingdom provide care for their little ones.

A video posted by Woodland Park Zoo (@woodlandparkzoo) on Apr 25, 2015 at 8:11am PDT
Lion mom video: https://instagram.com/p/15wfJbpQeB
These days there's one Woodland Park Zoo mom working triple time to care for her cubs—lion mama Adia. With her mate, Xerxes, by her side, Adia keeps watch over her three 7-month-old sons. They rough around and wrestle, and are learning through play how their claws and teeth work. Through it all, …