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Showing posts from October, 2016

High five, zoo volunteers!

Woodland Park Zoo has the cause. Volunteers have the effect.

Earlier in October, Woodland Park Zoo held its festive Celebration of Volunteers at the beautiful Seattle Aquarium. Hundreds of volunteers and staff turned out to share hugs and smiles and to give huge thanks.

We can’t underscore our gratitude to these amazing people enough. A volunteer “freely offers to contribute to an enterprise or a task.” The key word is freely. Our volunteers, an amazing cadre more than 750 talented people strong, make the choice every day to show up rain or shine and contribute to any and all aspects of our mission. They are part of our team. They are our rock!



At the Celebration, we recognized 45 members of this special cadre for making a difference in animals’ and peoples’ lives. Each honoree has given between 1,000 and 14,000 hours of service to the zoo. Altogether this generous group has invested more than 144,000 hours of time and talent in the zoo’s mission. That’s the equivalent of full-time wo…

Otters Meet Jack-o-lantern

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, communications

Here’s J̶o̶h̶n̶n̶y̶ Guntur!


(Video: bit.ly/otterjack by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.)
Our Asian small-clawed river otters received a special Halloween treat this year. Along with new bedding (straw), and Halloween themed objects to explore, the otter lodge was treated to a jack-o-lantern full of juicy worms. Mmm. We stuck a GoPro inside the gourd to give you a terrifying perspective. 
Listen closely, can you hear the squeaks? Asian small-clawed otters are known for their many different vocalizations to communicate. Pumpkin Bash 2016 is this weekend, October 29-30, for details visit http://www.zoo.org/halloween
Otters Guntur, Teratai, Maxwell, Chancellor, Sherman, Thomas, Peanut, Valerie, Boo and Cliff are slotted for another Halloween feast at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday Oct. 29!
See you there.



What do trick-or-treaters and orangutans have in common?

Posted by: Bobbi Miller, Conservation


There is a rite of passage that happens every October: the time-honored tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Here, that means searching for the perfect costume to be donned on October 31st (and getting extra mileage out of it at Woodland Park Zoo’s Pumpkin Bash, of course!). We know Halloween is coming as the days get shorter and a pronounced chill fills the air. Colorful leaves fall gently to the ground, providing a crunchy blanket for small trick-or-treaters to walk on.


Halfway around the world in Borneo and Sumatra, the rainy season is just beginning. But the orangutans are not walking on the leaves that have fallen to the ground because orangutans are arboreal, spending most of their lives in the trees. There, those leaves become the umbrellas that keep small orangutan feet and heads dry. 
Like small children, orangutan babies have a longer childhood dependence on their mother than any other animal in the world. Just like we accompany …

Before you mail your next envelope, find out how your stamp choice can save tigers

Posted by: Kerston Swartz, Public Affairs



We're grateful in this digital age that some of you still send handwritten letters. That's because your Save Vanishing Species Stamp purchases from the U.S. Postal Service have just made it possible for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to award nearly $50,000 to the Woodland Park Zoo-Panthera Malayan Tiger Conservation Project and Rimba, our in-country field partner. The new funding will enhance our anti-poaching efforts in Peninsular Malaysia.

We have yet to discover a wild tiger roaming the United States, but that doesn’t stop the USFWS from caring about their fight against extinction. Recognizing the critical role humans play in endangered species survival and the growing need for collaboration among countries, the USFWS created the Wildlife Without Borders program to provide grants for international conservation efforts. In 1994, the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund was developed as part of Wildlife Without Borders,…

Saving lions is no game, except when it is

Posted by: Ruaha Carnivore Project, a Woodland Park Zoo Partner for Wildlife



Lion Defender Joseph Dendu had just worked nine hours through the night to stop a traditional lion hunt near his village in Ruaha, Tanzania when he jumped on board a 10-hour bus ride with his fellow Defenders to the next test of his stamina: the annual Lion Guardian Games.

The Games bring together protectors of lions from all over East Africa, all graduates of the training program offered by Lion Guardians, a conservation organization based in Amboseli, Kenya. Dedicated to finding and enacting long-term solutions for people and wildlife to co-exist, the organization trains local warriors to work from within the community to stop lion hunts, search for lost livestock and reinforce livestock enclosures called bomas.


In Tanzania’s Ruaha landscape—home to 10% of the world’s remaining lions—the devoted guardians call themselves locally the Lion Defenders. In 2015, 14 influential young warriors across seven village …

Which animal should I be for Halloween?

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications Photos by: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo
You might think of Halloween costumes as the perfect disguise, but our quiz will reveal the true you.
Find the best animal costume to match your personality by taking our quiz, Which Animal Should I be for Halloween?

After you've taken the quiz, check out a few easy DIY tips and tricks below to create the perfect animal costume just in time for Pumpkin Bash!
Once you have your costume you can take advantage of our exclusive Pumpkin Bash discount: one child 12 years and under in costume is admitted FREE with a paid adult (cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion).  

Bali Mynah
You are gregarious and charming. Your flock of friends is always close by and you prefer to hang with the in-crowd. Your charismatic demeanor is matched by your strikingly good looks—brilliant blue eye patches against a snowy white plumage and a fantastic crest of feathers. If it were up to you, you’d sp…

First photo evidence of snow leopard presence in former hunting reserve now wildlife sanctuary

Posted by: Snow Leopard Trust, a Woodland Park Zoo Partner for Wildlife


Researchers have captured the elusive snow leopard on camera in Shamshy, Kyrgyzstan, the first evidence that a bold strategy to transform a former hunting reserve into a protected wildlife preserve is working.

Through a new, innovative conservation program piloted by Seattle-based Snow Leopard Trust, Woodland Park Zoo, Snow Leopard Foundation Kyrgyzstan and the Kyrgyz Department of Hunting and Natural Resource Management, the 100 square mile area of Shamsy in Kyrgyzstan’s northern Tian Shan mountains was converted from a hunting concession to a co-managed nature reserve in 2015. Shamsy is home to ibex and seasonal populations of argali and wolves. It lies within a large snow leopard landscape, and has the potential to become a key part of the home ranges of several of these endangered cats if its wild ungulate population can be increased.

“It took vision and gumption from the Kyrgyzstan government, Snow Leopard Tru…

Creative minds tackle wildlife trafficking at first-ever Zoohackathon

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

Team Oily Palms gave a helping hand to wildlife this weekend with Seattle Zoohackathon's winning solution, a citizen science tool that empowers locals to report deforestation activity such as illegal logging and fires.

This people-minded solution was the perfect embodiment of what Zoohackathon is all about: tapping into the community to bring new eyes to old problems and innovate solutions that advance the ongoing efforts of NGOs, governments, and organizations like Woodland Park Zoo committed to ending wildlife trafficking.

The first event of its kind, this weekend's Zoohackathon took place simultaneously at six leading conservation technology zoos around the world: Woodland Park Zoo, San Diego Zoo, Saint Louis Zoo, Smithsonian National Zoo, London Zoo and Sydney's Taronga Zoo. The winning solutions from each of the host sites will now be submitted to a global competition.


At the start of the weekend, …

Highways to Mars and Woodland Park Zoo's future, or What Keeps Me Up at Night

Posted by: Alejandro Grajal, PhD, President and CEO

Last week, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk detailed his goal to make humans a multi-planetary species. He believes, as do I and many scientists, that humans are at a crossroads. Life on Earth as we know it is headed to its sixth extinction event. He says we can stay here and face the consequences, or we can become a space-faring species. Hanging out on Mars would be a handy option when Earth gets too crowded and its resources too depleted. His vision is we should build a highway to Mars now and begin colonizing, and he wants the whole world involved.

Clearly, such out-of-the-box thinking gets attention and investment. It certainly gets my attention. Not necessarily because I agree or disagree with Musk. I must admit that whether we should colonize Mars is not a question that keeps me up at night.

The question that does keep me up at night is this: How can we do more to save the planet we’re already on?

Rather than make humans into a multi-planet…