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Showing posts from November, 2016

Seattle Park District funds at work

Posted by: Kerston Swartz, Public Affairs



Of all the projects in construction, roof repairs, HVAC maintenance and utility upgrades are unquestionably not exciting, but as any builder knows, this essential infrastructure work creates a safe and sturdy foundation for the flashy projects we ogle over in glossy magazines.

At Woodland Park Zoo, these infrastructure projects are way more than just maintenance. This work is central to the health and comfort of our residents—the 1,200 animals who call this place home— and the humans who care for them.

That’s why we continue to be extremely grateful to Seattle voters for passing the Seattle Park District ballot measure nearly two years ago. With major maintenance funding provided by the Park District—about $1.8 million a year—the zoo can tackle a long list of infrastructure projects not uncommon to a park built over 100 years ago.

We'd like to take some time in this season of gratitude to highlight a couple of important—and pretty cool—pr…

Acupuncture for Emma, a gracefully aging rabbit

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications Video and Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/WPZ


Watch video: Emma the rabbit receives acupuncture and massage therapy.

When we think of aging, we look to our elders to show us how it’s done, and here at the zoo there are some furrier examples of aging gracefully.

Getting older can be rough on the body, but with the right health care plan, assistance from geriatric specialists, physical therapy, medication and lifestyle changes, people can enjoy many active, healthy golden years. For decades, humans have known the healing benefits of physical therapy. Today, rehabilitation techniques are emerging as a new standard in best animal care programs in zoos around the country, and Woodland Park Zoo is at the forefront of providing thisspecialized care
Meet Emma, a 13-year-old English spot rabbit. Emma has enjoyed an illustrious 11-year career as an ambassador animal at Woodland Park Zoo. Emma has been a special presence for many zoo visitors, whether ho…

Becoming a silverback: Leo's story

Posted by Stephanie Payne-Jacobs, gorilla keeper

EDITOR'S NOTE: Adult male gorillas are known as silverbacks because of the striking silver hair that grows across their back all the way down to their hips. This is not only a mark of maturity (silver hairs appear around 12 years-old), but a sign that one might be strong and determined enough to protect his troop. In most gorilla troops, the silverback is the center of attention. He is responsible for guarding the troop against outsiders, finding choice feeding sites and playing mediator between the other gorillas in the group. While silver hairs, larger canines and handsome red crowns (in Western lowland gorillas) are all visual characteristics of a mighty silverback, it is the personality and behavior of these males that determine if they will lead.

This is the story of how one such silverback, Leonel, has come into his own as a protector, leader and peacekeeper—in part with a little help from a tiny, adorable baby called Yola.

Whi…

Happy 20th birthday to one of WPZ’s least known residents

Posted by: Peggy Farr, Zookeeper


One of the zoo's lowest profile residents just celebrated a milestone birthday: Cinnamon, our springhaas (Pedetes capensis), turned 20. Springhaas in human care are expected to live for typically 13 to 14 years, but our little energizer bunny—as she’s lovingly known by her keepers—is still going!

Though she has lived here for 10+ years, Cinnamon and her species are little known. Springhaas are native to southern Africa where there is dry, sandy soil for them to dig burrows. They spend most of the daytime in these burrows and forage for stems, roots and sprouts at night. Springhaas are a type of rodent and resemble rabbits or even tiny kangaroos yet are most closely related to squirrels. They are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to loss of habitat and hunting that stems from the perception that they are pests and damage crops.

Cinnamon has some challenges due to her advanced age, so we monitor her daily …