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Showing posts from September, 2016

Flamingo chick bests zookeeper in a foot race

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications
Video: Flamingo chick goes for a run.
The flamingo chick who needed a second chance is now in first place. Take a look at the 7-week-old chick's impressive running skills.

Hatched in August, the third flamingo hatching of the year, this chick started life in a precarious situation. The egg was found unattended so zookeepers took it behind the scenes to incubate safely. Once hatched, the chick had a dedicated team of zookeepers and animal health staff ready to give it the care and attention it needed to thrive.

“In less than two months it’s gone from receiving up to five feedings a day to being fully weaned. The chick now weighs a little over 2 pounds and is big enough to go on longer walks, with keepers, in safe outdoor areas off public view," said zookeeper John Samaras.

Throughout the day, zookeepers hold exercise sessions with the chick to encourage it to walk and stretch to strengthen its growing legs. "When it’s at an appropri…

How a highway that cuts through tiger habitat doesn't have to be a dead end for wildlife

Posted by: Bobbi Miller, Field Conservation, Woodland Park Zoo and Kae Kawanishi, PhD, MYCAT

Saving tigers is a complicated business. It’s not enough for researchers and conservationists just to know where the tigers are. Saving them requires knowing how many there are, where and how they travel, what their prey base is, how to sustain them and what the imminent threats are to their survival. From this vast database of knowledge comes one obvious fact: the tigers need to have a place to live and a way to safely move from place to place.

Enter Woodland Park Zoo Wildlife Survival Fund partner Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) and their recent Rewilding of the Sungai Yu Reforestation project. The project is a component of the Sungai Yu Tiger Corridor Conservation Program, which is striving to return wildlife and forests to the Sungai Yu tiger corridor in Peninsular Malaysia.

During her doctoral work, Kae Kawanishi, MYCAT General Manager and Head of Conservation, identifi…

ZooCrew middle schoolers discover their inner scientist

Posted by: Ryan Driscoll, Education

Western Washington is known for its amazing outdoor opportunities. This summer, participants in the ZooCrew Summer Learning Program took full advantage of those opportunities to sharpen their science skills and explore the ecosystems around the Puget Sound. From hiking Mount Rainier to working with local field biologists, students examined the different parts of the watershed while learning about how humans and animals interact with their environments.

This cultural access program is about more than just exposing students to new careers and building their science skills—it is about our mission to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders. We want youth to see themselves as scientists and to understand not only that there are issues in our area, but that they can help to investigate and solve them.


Over two four-week sessions this summer, 18 6th and 7th grade students from Asa Mercer, Washington, Madison and Denny Middle Schools explored an…

The meaning behind Bowling for Rhinos

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications



Imagine coming face to face with a giraffe, waking up to a lion pride right outside your bedroom, or watching as a skilled veterinary team heals an injured rhino out in the field. Kenya’s Lewa Wildlife Conservancy—one of the beneficiaries of the American Association of Zoo Keepers’ (AAZK) upcoming Bowling for Rhinos event—is home to many life-changing experiences that have strengthened the resolve of AAZK members to keep fighting for wildlife.


Bowling for Rhinos offers an opportunity for you to join that fight. All funds raised from the event go directly to rhino conservation in four locations: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) in Kenya; and Ujung Kulon, Bukit Barisan Selatan, and Way Kambas National Parks in Indonesia through the International Rhino Foundation.

Open to all to attend, this year’s Bowling for Rhinos event is coming up on Sun., Sept. 11, at the University of Washington HUB. Not a big bowler? The event also features a delicious dinn…

Calling local coders to join inaugural Zoohackathon

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications



Coders and technology experts from the Seattle area—along with their counterparts in five other major cities—will join the battle against international wildlife trafficking in the first ever Zoohackathon, October 6-9, 2016.

Registration is now open for interested coders, designers and project managers.

Organized by the U.S. Department of State and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Zoohackathon is a computer coding and technology intensive event that will bring together technical gurus and subject matter experts to create applications, systems, and tools to help reduce demand for trafficked wildlife products. The Zoohackathon will build upon the U.S. Department of State’s successful Fishackathons, which have introduced new technological solutions for combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

The inaugural Zoohackathon will include six AZA-accredited zoos in the U.S., U.K. and the Pacific with plans for expansion during…

Restoring rare butterflies to the Northwest sky

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor


Inside the zoo’s butterfly conservation lab, I squint at the tiny larvae that somehow seem not much larger than the period at the end of this sentence.

When I ask Erin Sullivan, Woodland Park Zoo collection manager and entomologist, how big they will get when they become adult butterflies, she demonstrates by pinching the gap between her thumb and index finger.

“Pretty big,” she says without irony.

In the world of butterflies, size is measured in pinched fingers and adult life expectancy in mere days. In the world of butterfly conservation, however, there is nothing small or short lived about our effort to restore the threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly, a native of our beautiful Northwest.


For 15 years Woodland Park Zoo has joined Oregon Zoo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and other partners to preserve silverspot butterflies on Oregon’s coast as part of our Living Northwest conservation program. The butterflies play an e…

Abandoned as an egg, this flamingo chick gets a second chance

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications


Woodland Park Zoo celebrated its third Chilean flamingo hatching this year on Monday, August 22, 2016. Abandoned as an egg, the chick is being cared for by a dedicated team of zookeepers and animal health staff who are hand-raising the chick behind the scenes.



The flamingo chick is currently fed up to five times a day and is learning to follow its zookeepers as they take it on exercise walks. Once the chick is old enough to eat on its own, in about 30-45 days, it will begin to join the rest of the flock in the flamingo exhibit.

Video: Flamingo chick plays follow-the-leader. 

In addition to the hand-reared chick, two other chicks are currently being parent-reared in the colony. A total of 14 chicks have hatched since the exhibit opened in 2008. The zoo currently has 38 Chilean flamingos.

Flamingo chicks hatch with a whitish, gray down and can acquire extensive pink feathering that can be mixed with gray-brown contour feathers at about 1 year of a…