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Showing posts from November, 2015

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…

Apple-loving porcupine predicts Apple Cup winner

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications


With the Apple Cup upon us, we asked apple-loving porcupine Skyáana to try her hand at predicting the winner of the big game. Faced with a choice of apples overflowing from a Husky and a Cougar snack helmet, the 1.5-year-old prickly predictor picked the WSU Cougars for the win!

Video: Porcupine makes 2015 Apple Cup prediction.

Here’s the play-by-play: The keeper calls the audible. Skyáana makes a rush down the field. She drops out of the pocket and runs a naked bootleg! She’s down to the 40, the 30, the 20, across the 10 yard line, into the Cougars end zone! Touchdown, Cougars!!!! Are you kidding me??!! Holy apples, I don’t believe it!!


As she went for a second apple from the Cougars helmet, Skyáana made it perfectly clear that she is confident in her choice. But here's the deal: this is Skyáana’s first pick for a game. She has no track record, so we’ll have to see how she does after Friday’s game!

The prescient porcupine currently weighs 19…

Zoo’s conservation program receives $2.6 million grant to strengthen biodiversity protection around the globe

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications
We have some very wonderful news to share! Woodland Park Zoo's international field conservation initiative, the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP), will receive $2.6 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support its efforts to protect endangered species and improve the livelihoods of the indigenous people in the Pacific island country of Papua New Guinea.

Woodland Park Zoo plays a major role in protecting wildlife and biodiversity through its many field conservation projects that span the globe; one, in particular, being the zoo’s collaboration with the national government of Papua New Guinea through its Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) and UNDP under its long-term partnership with the award-winning Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program.
“We are incredibly grateful to the GEF, UNDP a…

Baby gorilla thrives, introduction sessions between mom and baby continue

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

As you may have heard, a female baby gorilla was born on Friday, November 20, to first time mom, Nadiri. First, let us thank you all for your congratulatory notes and kind words for keepers and staff. We appreciate your enthusiasm and support for this special new girl who has stolen our hearts.
The baby is thriving. Under special care of keepers and veterinary staff, the western lowland gorilla is receiving round-the-clock care and is currently off public view. She is being bottle-fed human infant formula.

Although Nadiri gave birth naturally, without intervention by staff, she did not show appropriate maternal behaviors. After giving birth, she walked away to the other side of the den and staff had to step in for the safety and welfare of the baby and to let the new mom rest. Because Nadiri was partially hand-raised and does not have experience with motherhood, zoo staff prepared for different eventualities.
Attempts over the weekend to introd…

First-time gorilla mom Nadiri gives birth

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications



After a night of restless tossing and turning, we knew pregnant gorilla Nadiri was close. Then the contractions started around 8:00 a.m. today and just about 4 hours later at 11:30 a.m. it finally happened—Nadiri brought her first offspring into the world.

Within moments of giving birth, Nadiri moved a few feet away from the baby and walked to the other side of her den. Keepers watching closely could see the infant was moving, though still wrapped in the amniotic sac. We made the call for the safety of the baby: it was time to intervene.

Curator Martin Ramirez explained that while we hoped Nadiri would immediately hold and care for her baby, we stepped in for the safety of the newborn and made the decision to let the new mom rest. All along, we’ve been preparing for all outcomes to ensure the health and well-being of the infant is the top priority.

Stepping in and removing the baby allowed the zoo’s animal health team to perform a neonatal exam…

The definitive guide to making hippo kisses

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

If "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" is your holiday jam, brace yourself: this is as close as it gets!

This Fri., Nov. 20, head to the Zookeepers' Holiday Silent Auction to bid on a chance to go behind the scenes with 15-year-old female hippo Guadalupe to create your very own hippo-kiss painting.




With a mouth that can open to a massive 150 degrees and lips that are 2 feet wide, a hippo's kiss is unforgettable. As you can imagine, it's not always easy to make a hippo-kiss painting. But don't worry, we've got a how-to guide for that:

Video: How to make hippo kisses (the definitive how-to guide)

The silent auction is held by the Puget Sound Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers. Along with the hippo kiss painting experience, this year’s auction will feature extraordinary experiences found only at the zoo, including opportunities to paint behind the scenes with a colony of Humboldt penguins, meet the zoo’s sn…

How to: photograph like a pro during autumn at the zoo

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications
Photos by: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo


Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren knows a thing or two about patience and perseverance—being the zoo’s official photographer he is well versed in, well, waiting. Waiting for the light to open up, waiting for the lemur to jump, waiting for the rain to stop, and waiting for the crowds to clear. Then the shutter clicks and we all reap the rewards.

But you don’t have to wait for fabulous photography because autumn is here and now is the perfect time to bring your camera to the zoo. With golden orange light cascading from crisp leaves, a rainbow of changing foliage and long, beautiful shadows dancing across zoo grounds, November is an ideal time for photographers of all skill levels to visit the zoo.


Jeremy joined us in his official capacity as staff photographer in August of this year, although he had been a volunteer photographer for three years prior. Here he gives us some pro tips on making the most out o…

Thriving with change and continuity

Posted by: Bruce W. Bohmke, Acting President and CEO

November marks a yearly turning point as fall unleashes its contribution to the cycle of life, and along with it the certainty of change.

As we prepare to close out the year and begin anew, I can tell you that we are thriving in the midst of change. Since becoming acting president and CEO in June, I have been impressed by the resolve of our staff and board to continue dreaming big. My focus is to ensure continuity in the delivery of our mission while also evolving the zoo of the future, as guided by six goals in our strategic plan and our Long-Range Physical Development plan.

A Board Search Committee, aided by the executive search firm Spencer Stuart, is scouring the nation for the best, next zoo leader. I’m confident that excellent candidates will find irresistible our large and loyal membership, educational and conservation impact, and reputation as a standard setter in naturalistic exhibit design and animal care. We anticipate se…

Microsoft teams with Woodland Park Zoo on a device to improve conservation research

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


To study elusive wolverines in the wild, you need to know where they occur. To figure out where they occur, you need wolverines to trigger remote research cameras. To get wolverines to trigger the cameras, you need to attract them with a strong scent, which naturally fades after two to four weeks. To keep that scent refreshed after it fades, you need to hike into backcountry terrain with deep snow and dangerous avalanche conditions in the winter—and that’s where it gets tricky.


Extreme winter conditions can make the small but critical task of refreshing scent lures or baits difficult for Woodland Park Zoo senior conservation fellow, Robert Long, PhD, limiting the window during which he can reliably collect data for his wolverine research throughout the year.

Until now.

Microsoft has teamed up with Woodland Park Zoo and Idaho Fish and Game to take noninvasive conservation research methods to the next level with a clev…