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Showing posts from April, 2016

Lion brothers heading off to their next zoo adventure

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications


The mane news of the day: we're preparing to say goodbye to lion brothers Tandie, Gandia and Mandla as they get ready to move to Oakland Zoo next month. They'll be living there together as a bachelor group.

The departure date is not yet final but we expect to see them off sometime in mid-to-late-May. Please come see the brothers before they leave!

The move is based on a recommendation made by the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to increase the genetic diversity and enhance the health of species populations.

A lion pride typically consists of one adult male and young males often form bachelor groups while they develop the skills to have their own pride. The accredited Oakland Zoo offers them a place to thrive together in that natural structure.


They've grown so big and now each sport a shaggy mane, but it wasn't too long ago that we were watching the brothers take their first ste…

Baby Yola confident as she learns gorilla ways

Posted by: Stephanie Payne-Jacobs, Zookeeper



At 5 months old, Yola’s physical strength and self-confidence continues to develop in leaps and bounds, influencing the steps we take to ensure a smooth transition into her gorilla family. We’ve come a long way from the initial visits during Yola’s first months, which consisted of a mostly sleeping infant, to the current youngster in perpetual motion.


Yola’s burgeoning confidence and expanding knowledge of complex gorilla social cues is evident in the way she interacts with her mother and responds to the activities within her group. She watches closely as the gorillas communicate vocally and physically throughout the day. Yola has observed rambunctious play sessions, common displays of dominance and subordination, nest building, foraging and occasional disputes peacefully settled.


As Yola’s independence and confidence flourish, the visits between Yola and her mother Nadiri have become increasingly interactive. In the early months of the vis…

How do you celebrate the birthday of North America's oldest armadillo in a zoo? Cake and naps!

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications


Happy 25th birthday to Maria, our three-banded armadillo! It’s a big milestone for Maria in more ways than one: she’s now a quarter of a century old AND she is the oldest living three-banded armadillo in a North American zoo. (Think about it: Wilson Phillips topped the Billboard charts the day she was born at San Antonio Zoo on April 20, 1991 and Steven Seagal ruled the box office.)


To celebrate this milestone, Maria’s keepers and local Girl Scout troop 44261 made her a “cake” out of cardboard decorated with tissue paper flowers and paper and straw "candles." Keepers then sprinkled bugs on top as a special treat. Maria ate a few of the bugs, and then it was nap time once she was full. Her Burmese mountain tortoise neighbor was happy to step in to help her celebrate.


Maria moved to Woodland Park Zoo in 2000 and became a resident of the Night Exhibit. When it closed, she relocated to the Day Exhibit where she resides today with the Burm…

Tales from the savanna, part two: making harmony

Posted by: Kelly Gross, Zookeeper



The savanna enclosure is a mixed-species exhibit; a large space where zebra, gazelle, giraffe, ostrich, guinea fowl, Egyptian geese and now bontebok live together, hopefully in harmony. Some of the combinations of animals are more compatible than others. In the past, our antelope species (fringed-eared oryx and Grant’s gazelle) seemed to do fine together, although to be fair, age had mellowed them and they seemed to prefer nothing better than spending the afternoon lying in the warm sun, their sparring days behind them. So far the Egyptian geese haven’t seemed to mind the thundering hooves of the zebra as they gallop past. But perhaps some of you remember last summer when the giraffe and ostrich never seemed to be in the exhibit at the same time? No, you weren’t just imagining things. Our male giraffe, Dave, became quite nervous whenever our male ostrich, Mbuni, came near. The following routine played out over and over all summer long. Mbuni would app…

National Volunteer Week (Spoiler: We think we have the best volunteers!)

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

Let's begin with a quote from William James, "Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does."
When it comes to our dedicated volunteers, we could not find a truer sentiment. This National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, we'd like to acknowledge the 750+ Woodland Park Zoo volunteers who help our zoo shine.
From their devotion to the zoo's animal care mission, to their passion for protecting wildlife and wild places—our  volunteers offer a host of wisdom, kindness and patience that inspires our guests and instills in our community a sense of wonder and gratitude. 

Volunteers range in age from 12 to 94, and come from all over the place—some commute as far as Kennewick, WA.  From ZooCorps to Counselors in training to docents and animal unit volunteers, there are a variety of volunteer jobs which are tantamount to the success of our zoo.  All in all, zoo volunteers racked up 84,184 volunteer hours in 2015 alone!

If you have…

Tales from the savanna, part one: new faces

Posted by: Kelly Gross, Zookeeper


Have you been wondering why the savanna exhibit at times looks empty?  Or have you been one of the lucky guests who has seen a beautiful new species of antelope springing about on the freshly growing grass?


The savanna exhibit is going through a bit of a transition right now. After our two elderly antelope passed away last year, the exhibit started looking and feeling rather empty. Managers worked to identify animals that were available and would fit in with our current collection. In the fall we received two female Grant’s gazelle and two male bontebok from San Diego Wild Animal Park.



We have displayed Grant’s gazelle before and hope to eventually acquire a male to begin breeding, so we can contribute to the zoo population. Bontebok are a new species to Woodland Park Zoo, and we are very excited to be able to display this attractive antelope and share its story with you.


The bontebok is a dark brown, mid-sized antelope with a beautiful white blaze do…

Become an Otter Spotter for new community science project

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor


We've heard stories of river otter sightings during hiking trips or kayak voyages, and some Northwesterners have even spotted otters while simply walking the dog. If you have ever observed a wild river otter in Washington state—or if you encounter one on your next outdoor adventure—we want to hear from you. Become an Otter Spotter and submit your sightings to our new community science initiative, part of our Living Northwest conservation program.

We're collecting data on otter sightings across Washington as we launch a new research project that takes a closer look at the state's virtually unstudied river otter populations. Led by Michelle Wainstein, PhD, a local ecologist and conservationist, the research project—River Otters of Western Washington: Sentinels of Ecological Health—has a special focus on one of Washington's most used waterways.


The Green River flows from undeveloped Washington wildland through increasingly urbanized are…

Every tiger counts

Every tiger life is precious, which is why we are very sad to share news about the deaths of three tigers in Peninsular Malaysia. Two tigers were discovered with poachers and the third, a mother pregnant with two cubs, was killed from a collision with a moving vehicle. When Woodland Park Zoo first turned its focus to tiger conservation in 2012, scientists estimated 500 Malayan tigers were left in the wild.  Just four years later, with better data and increased poaching, we believe only about 300 remain. With numbers that low, the loss of three tigers underlines the importance of protecting each individual tiger.

Surprisingly, our field partners have found a nugget of encouraging news in this otherwise discouraging report. 

Some background: you may recall from previous Tiger Team reports Woodland Park Zoo and Panthera’s Malayan Tiger Conservation Partnership conserves critically endangered Malayan tigers and forests by mitigating threats in the 3.7-million-acre Greater Taman Negara Reg…

Press play for hope: what a baby tiger video reveals about the future

Earlier this year, the Malaysian Government’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) released a heartwarming video featuring a wild Malayan tiger playing with her rambunctious 5-month-old cub. To most of us, images of a springy cub pouncing on mom are downright adorable, but to conservationists, seeing a vigorous tiger family tells a more important story. The health of mother and cub tells biologists there is sufficient prey for successful reproduction. Locating and protecting adult tigers is only the first conservation step—ensuring that they can raise cubs is the key to a bright tiger future.

Welcoming the new year with good news about Malayan Tigers from Jabatan PERHILITAN on Vimeo. Credit: Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) Peninsular Malaysia

If you have been following our Tiger Team updates, you already know Malayan tigers face serious threats to survival, specifically from wildlife poaching and widespread habitat loss. In some communities, tiger pelts ar…

Hello, Carson!

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

If you’ve wandered through the Wildlife Survival Zone in the last week, you may have noticed an adorable new face peering out from atop his pine tree perch. Our newest member of the red panda family has been spotted chasing squirrels, eating pine cones and playfully exploring his new digs.

Meet Carson, a 2-year-old, male red panda. Carson was born at Lincoln Children’s Zoo in July 2014 and was named after the famous television host Johnny Carson, who shares the panda’s birth city. Carson arrived at Woodland Park Zoo this February and has been collecting a host of fans ever since. This handsome red panda has a unique look; a paler face, lighter coat and slightly smaller physical features. Carson is a fulgens subspecies of red panda, so he is easy to tell apart from our other two pandas, Yukiko and Stellar.
10-year-old male, Yukiko, and 8-year-old female, Stellar are hanging out off exhibit where t…