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Showing posts from October, 2015

Tracking wildlife in Malaysia: a forest revealed

Posted by: Bridget Dunn, Communications

In and around Taman Negara National Park in Peninsular Malaysia, we’re working with our field conservation partners Panthera and Rimba to find and protect critically endangered Malayan tigers. This effort was established in 2012 as the WPZ-Panthera Malayan Tiger Conservation Partnership with a $1 million, 10-year commitment to collaborate with Rimba and Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks. One of Rimba’s most important tiger detection tools is a series of remote cameras, known as camera traps, set up around the forest. The traps are motion and heat sensitive, and the images they capture help us understand where tigers are so we can focus our protection efforts in those areas.

One great thing about these cameras is how they are documenting that there are more than tigers to discover in this spectacular jungle!

Camera traps aren’t picky—they’ll snap a photo of any warm-blooded animal that moves within the 20 to 40 foot range, incl…

Halloween doesn't have to be scary for wildlife

Posted by: Bobbi Miller, Conservation

When we think of October, we think of bright, cool days and brisk nights; early, golden sunsets; things that are scary and go bump in the night; and Halloween with the kids all dressed up and ready to go door to door looking for candy and treats. It’s a time of creepy, spine-tingling excitement for young and old alike.

But while we’re enjoying those crisp, clear days and chilly evenings, the people and wildlife in Borneo, Indonesia and nearby countries are dealing with thick, choking smoke. People there are wearing masks for a very different reason this Halloween, and it's all related directly to our candy.

Wait, what?
How does our Halloween candy relate to fires halfway around the world?
Simple: most candy includes palm oil, and the bulk of the world’s palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia. In order to produce palm oil (the world’s fastest growing vegetable oil), tropical rain forest and peat lands are being converted to agricultural lan…

First Bali mynah chicks to hatch at zoo in over two decades, a symbol of hope

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, communications Photo and Video by: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren
On September 17, three tiny white birds hatched in a quiet behind-the-scenes area of Woodland Park Zoo as part of the zoo’s conservation breeding program. The chicks, downy fluff balls with snow-colored plumage, are a big deal: they represent the first successful hatches of the critically endangered Bali mynah here at the zoo in 22 years! They also act as a powerful symbol of hope for their species.

Endemic to Bali, Indonesia (an island smaller than Rhode Island), Bali mynahs are threatened primarily due to illegal pet collection and trade. Their stunning white feathers and gorgeous cobalt blue patch around the eyes make this beauty especially attractive to bird collectors, despite their endangered status. On top of poaching, their habitat —open lowland forests—is also increasingly compromised due to habitat alteration.

In the wild, their numbers have been reduced drastically since the species discover…

A sweet duet: siamang pair sings its first song

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor
Video and photos by: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

It is music to our ears to hear newly paired siamangs Sam and Briony developing their sweet duet together. We caught a few notes of their very first outdoor song.

Video: Siamang pair sings first duet notes at Woodland Park Zoo.
High in the canopy, this treetop symphony at once strengthens the bond between the pair of siamangs and declares their territory to others in the area. The song can be heard from over a mile away even in our urban environment and, as they develop their tune, the bouts may last up to 20 minutes.

How do they project their voices so far? Those ballooning throat sacs act like a resonating chamber and amplify the sound.

Briony’s tune with her former long-time mate Simon was known by not just zoo visitors, but also neighbors in Phinney Ridge, Fremont and Wallingford, all within earshot of their morning song.

Hearing the treetops come to life in siamang song once again is an encouraging sign …

Baby on the way for first time gorilla mom

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor with Gigi Allianic, Communications

At 19 years old, western lowland gorilla Nadiri is pregnant for the first time. We're counting down to the expected birth in early November after an eight- to nine-month gestation period.

This is big news, and since Nadiri is not an experienced mother, we're taking extra precautions to prepare her.

It starts with pre-natal care for the expectant mom. She is currently on a diet created by a nutritionist and receiving supplemental vitamins to help her maintain a healthy weight for a normal delivery.

Keepers will need to be able to perform visual checks on the baby to confirm it is thriving, so the work begins now with training Nadiri to present her "baby"—in this case a stuffed burlap object about the size of a newborn.

Once the baby comes, all eyes are on those first 72 hours after birth, the most critical time for a newborn gorilla. Our keepers will be watching closely to ensure that Nadiri and bab…

Endangered Oregon spotted frogs released into wild

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications
Photos by: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Nearly 750 Oregon spotted frogs reared at Woodland Park Zoo were released yesterday into marshy wetlands at a protected site in Pierce County.

The frogs were collected from wetlands as eggs and placed at the zoo for hatching and rearing for approximately seven months in a predator-free home as they transformed from tadpoles to juveniles, increasing their survival by giving them a head start until they were large enough to avoid most predators.

Head starting and releasing the frogs is part of a cooperative program with Woodland Park Zoo, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Sustainability in Prisons Project, and other zoos and state and federal agencies.

Washington declared the Oregon spotted frog an endangered species in 1997, and on August 28, 2014, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed the frog as a threatened species under the Endangered Species …

How do you get a tortoise to take its medicine?

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

A spoonful of sugar was Mary Poppins’ trick, but it’s a plateful of bananas that makes the medicine go down for our Asian brown tortoise.

Watch: How does a tortoise take its medicine? Produced by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren with additional footage by Alyssa Borek.
Just like you might put your pet’s pill inside a pocket of food, zookeepers find creative ways to get our 1,000+ animals to willingly take their medicine when needed. It’s not always an easy task!

Faced with the challenge of administering a liquid dose of parasite treatment to a tortoise, Day Exhibit keeper Alyssa Borek had an idea to get the animal’s cooperation. She cut up chunks of banana, hollowed out the insides, lined the chunks up on a little plate and poured the liquid medicine into the cores.

The results are messy. Yet effective.

Now that the medicine has been gobbled up, we’ve sent fecal samples off to the lab and we’ll get results soon to determine if the treatment is working.

It’s not …

Chris Pratt, Anna Faris and son name Woodland Park Zoo baby penguin

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications

Watch: Chris Pratt and Anna Faris name Woodland Park Zoo baby penguin. 
Actors Anna Faris and Chris Pratt and their son Jack were invited to name Woodland Park Zoo’s 50th Humboldt penguin chick. Pratt and Faris grew up in the Seattle area and love Woodland Park Zoo. The name they selected—Eagle—honors their local roots.

After acing his first veterinary exam last week, Eagle continues to do well and is now spending time out in the exhibit with the colony. You can identify him by his blue band—try to spot him soaring through the water on your next visit!

Become a ZooParent today and adopt Eagle the penguin chick. Your adoption helps us provide daily care for Eagle and all the animals at the zoo, while also supporting conservation for penguins and other species threatened with extinction.