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Showing posts from May, 2016

Baby porcupine vs. gravity (we all win here)

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor


Nearly three weeks old now, our little porcupine baby is making bolder choices during outdoor adventures. Porcupines are natural climbers and the porcupette's instincts drive it to scamper up each mound, log and tree root it spots.

Sometimes we need to be there with a helping hand.

A heavily gloved helping hand.

Video: Tiny Baby Porcupine Needs a Helping Hand

Because a baby porcupine tumble-and-rescue needs to be watched on infinite loop, here's that moment again:





Don't worry, little one. Gravity always gets me down too.

Though the porcupette is brave when exploring, it's also perfectly content to stay in its den for as much as possible. That's where it nurses with mom in the evening and the darker coziness appeals to these primarily nocturnal animals. Its time outside can be pretty irregular but lucky trekkers through the Northern Trail might spot this little one on their next visit. The baby will spend more and more time outside …

Heading into the Realm of the Tiger

Posted by: Bridget Dunn, Communications


As a tiger keeper, Christine Anne is used to seeing tiger brothers Eko, Liem and Olan playing, eating and stretching out their claws. They’ll be on her mind this summer when she travels across the globe to explore wild tiger habitat.


Christine is joining other zookeepers from around the world on Realm of the Tiger, a trip hosted by Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) to explore peninsular Malaysia. Realm of the Tiger is a five-day program designed especially for zookeepers and docents to enhance their understanding of tiger habitat and the big challenges facing Asian rain forest conservation.


To accomplish this, Realm of the Tiger guides participants through an important wildlife corridor that connects Malaysia’s main northern mountain range with the Taman Negara National Park. In this tropical rain forest, the home base of WPZ’s tiger conservation field work, participants seek out signs of activity from tigers and their prey as w…

Slow and steady: World Turtle Day spotlights 25 years of turtle conservation

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications


Video: SAFE Western Pond Turtle Conservation via Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Today is World Turtle Day and the perfect time to join Woodland Park Zoo and zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to take action to help save the endangered western pond turtle from extinction.

For 25 years, Woodland Park Zoo has partnered with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to recover western pond turtles, including raising and releasing turtles back to protected wetlands. Oregon Zoo and other state, federal and private partners have since joined the effort to bring the imperiled species back from the brink of extinction.


The species once ranged from Baja California to Puget Sound, including the Columbia River Gorge. In 1990, only about 150 western pond turtles remained in the wild in Washington. These last remaining individuals struggled for survival as they battled predation by the non-native bullfrog, diseas…

Yola fits right in with her gorilla family

Posted by: Stephanie Payne-Jacobs, Zookeeper


Since the time of our last update, Yola’s caregivers are happy to report that her introduction to her full family group has progressed wonderfully, with each positive step cautiously leading to the next.

Now that Yola has outgrown the need for midnight and 3:00 a.m. bottles, our first step was to ask Nadiri to keep Yola with her overnight to allow them time to bond quietly while nesting down for the night. This narrowed their time apart from one another each day to approximately 4-5 hours, when Leo’s group in on exhibit. Keepers noticed a fairly immediate change in Nadiri’s interactions with Yola, whose company, at six rambunctious months old, may be a lot more fun for Nadiri than a needy newborn. Over the past month, play sessions have increased, and Nadiri is carrying Yola more and making more protective gestures towards her.


Almost concurrently, we began giving Nadiri and Yola access to the outdoor exhibit first thing in the morning whil…

Turtle hatching a conservation coup for critically endangered species

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor with Jennifer Pramuk, PhD, Curator


Little bigger than a penny, a flowerback box turtle hatched at Woodland Park Zoo on May 7, 2016.This is the third hatching success of this critically endangered species at the zoo, each one a triumph in the fight against extinction.


The common name for this turtle refers to the beautiful colors and ornate designs on its carapace. Native to China, Vietnam and Laos, it is endangered because it is desired as an ingredient in some traditional medicines and for the pet trade.


Turtles have been around for 220 million years and survived the massive extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. Yet these ancient survivors are now going extinct faster than any other group of terrestrial vertebrates. Almost 50% of known turtle species are listed as threatened with extinction.

It’s a sobering figure, but it’s not too late for turtles. 

Woodland Park Zoo’s conservation work continues in the field where we’re working with partners to…

Adventures of a baby porcupine

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


We have some prickly news to share.

A baby porcupine, known as a porcupette, was born on May 7, 2016. The little critter is not yet on exhibit but has taken its first practice steps outdoors. As it grows more comfortable with crawling, climbing and exploring, it will make its official debut in its Northern Trail home soon. 
As baby explores, mom Molly is doing exactly what porcupine mothers do. She is eating a lot and leaving her baby alone in its cozy den for most of the day. During the evening and throughout the night, Molly nurses the porcupette. In the wild, this behavior of nursing once a day allows the baby to rest, but it also keeps predators from spotting the baby. Porcupines are nocturnal, so the daylight hours are used for relaxing in a burrow of grass and leaves. This is the fourth baby born to parents Oliver and Molly at Woodland Park Zoo.
As of today, the porcupette weighs just 75…

Zoomazium turns 10 and you're invited to the birthday party!

Posted by: Kristi Dodds, Education


It was ten years ago that Zoomazium first opened its doors and I still remember the hustle and bustle to prepare vividly. We were working late into the night to take care of any last minute changes and put on all those finishing touches to make sure everything would be perfect for the grand opening. After all, this place would be the destination of some of the most opinionated and strong-willed visitors that come to the zoo—children.


I can recall opening day like it was yesterday,  picturing all the kids wide-eyed with anticipation and noses glued to the toddler door just waiting for us to open and let them in.

Video: A look back at opening day of Zoomazium, 2006.

This year marks the milestone of Zoomazium’s 10th year since opening in May of 2006. Over 3 million visitors later, the look and feel of the building has not changed drastically, but the programs, themes and technology have evolved quite a bit. Zoomazium is now a destination for families to …

Zoo summer camps offer wild times

Posted by: Jessie Maxwell, Education


The number of days left in the school year are dwindling, and soon summer will be upon us! I am the Alpha Dog of our summer camp program, and my favorite time of year is nearly here. Our zoo camp programs are a terrific blend of learning and fun and have been providing immersive zoo experiences for children for several generations. One program in particular, Discoveries Day Camp, not only offers fun, exploratory science learning for kids ages 5–7, but expresses it all though the world of creative drama in partnership with the Seattle Children’s Theatre.

Discoveries Day Camp incorporates drama and science in a week-long adventure through interactive storytelling and animal-based games and tours. In I Spy, we will travel around the zoo gaining knowledge and finding clues to use in our special assignment as a group of secret agents solving animal mysteries. No case is too difficult for us!


In Magizoology we’ll learn how to take care of real plants an…

Could your backyard be a wildlife research site?

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications


Is your yard a stomping ground for cougars, coyotes, raccoons, skunks or bears? Would you like to see what passes through your yard even when you’re not around? We’relooking for community members like you to allow us to place a remote camera on your property to collect data for our new research study: the Washington Urban–Wildland Carnivore Project.


A collaboration between Woodland Park Zoo and the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, the Washington Urban–Wildland Carnivore Project is exploring ways to promote coexistence among humans and carnivores in King County. The research explores how carnivores respond to urbanization and human activity by studying where and when they occur, what they eat, and what happens to the system when apex carnivores are absent.


We’re focusing on cougars, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, striped skunks, and domestic dogs and cats. By allowing us to temporarily attach one of…

Meet the all-star ambassador animals

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications

VIDEO: Get up close to all-star animals at Woodland Park Zoo.

The stage is set for awesome animal encounters this summer. Head to the all new Alvord Broadleaf Theater just behind Zoomazium to meet the all-star ambassador animals featured in a new 1:00 p.m. daily program through September 30.

These animals have been training with zoo staff for months to prepare for the experience. The program showcases the animals’ natural talents, from the flight of a hornbill to the surprisingly agile climb of a porcupine.


Ambassador animals have a unique role at the zoo, interacting with the public through education programs designed to bring people and wildlife closer together—not just physically, but in our hearts and minds too. We believe that empathy is at the core of conservation attitudes, and ambassador animals offer a great opportunity to develop empathy for wildlife.

We have a range of animals in training which involves positive reinforcement to move …