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Showing posts from March, 2017

Sharing smiles for over 25 years

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications
Ryther is a center that provides psychiatric and mental health services for children and youth. Just about 15 minutes away from Woodland Park Zoo, Ryther has been bringing kids to the zoo for over 25 years through the zoo’s free Community Access Program. These are the kids most in need of community and Ryther is one of the best kept secrets in our neighborhood.
They take in some of the most vulnerable children in the Puget Sound and beyond. At Ryther, kids are never turned away. Today Ryther works with the most complex kids. Their mission is augmented by the generosity of the community, their dedicated volunteer base, the Ryther League, from large donations and sponsors to tickets from local institutions such as the Seattle Aquarium and Woodland Park Zoo. 
This is a story about the kids in the Cottage Program. 

Listen to the full story and hear from some of the kids who live at Ryther, their amazing counselors Jasper Knox and Kirstie Arnberg, …

VIDEO: Pregnant giraffe Tufani eating for two

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications
Video and photo by: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo

Spring has officially arrived, and it’s brought baby fever with it; giraffe baby fever to be specific! 

Like many zoos around the country, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a giraffe calf after confirming earlier this year that 8-year-old Tufani is expecting her first baby. With a gestation period of 14 to 15 months, we're expecting a tall delivery anywhere from mid-May to early July 2017.

So, what does it take to keep a pregnant Tufani comfortable and healthy? Lead keeper, and giraffe doula, Katie Ahl gives us the scoop on a few tricks of the trade.

VIDEO: Lead keeper Katie Ahl welcomes us to the giraffe barn where she explains the special enrichment and diet that goes into caring for a pregnant giraffe. (

The father is handsome 4-year-old Dave of course. This will be the first baby for both parents who were paired under a breeding reco…

Hello, Hudson!

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

When it comes to enchanting creatures, it’s hard to find a more charming species than the arctic fox. Seemingly pulled straight from a fairy tale, these captivating canines are incredibly tough and inhabit some of the most frigid habitat. One little fox in particular is already getting quite a lot of attention as his handsome mug graces the cover of our Spring membership magazine, MyZoo.
Starting this spring, and even more-so this summer, you'll have the opportunity to meet a host of incredible creatures during our Ambassador Animals programs at the Alvord Broadleaf and Wildlife theaters. Depending on how his training goes, Hudson will be one of them, giving guests the chance to see some of his awesomely Arctic adaptations such as leaping, pouncing and being entirely silent on his padded paws. 

We asked Regina Smith, one of Hudson's dedicated keepers and trainers, to give us the scoop …

How Green Are You?

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

Don't get pinched! This Saint Patrick's Day, make sure you are green inside and out. Take this quiz to see where you land on the zoo's green'o'meter.

While we're in the mood to rock all shades of green, let's see just how green you really are. Take the quiz at 
Good luck!

Zoo vets perform surgery on lizard that weighs less than one pound

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

Say hello to Misho the chuckwalla, a member of our Woodland Park Zoo family since he arrived here in 2000.

Chuckwallas are lizards native to the southwestern US and northern Mexico, typically measuring a little over one foot in length. Like many plant-eating reptiles, they enjoy basking on rocks in the sun and eating leafy greens.

At 25 years old, Misho is certainly getting up there in age. And recently keepers noticed he hadn’t been feeling all that well.

Reptiles like Misho certainly aren’t known for being the most emotive creatures, and he can’t exactly tell keepers what’s wrong. So how can keepers tell when a lizard isn’t feeling himself?

“It has to do a lot with posture and behavior,” explains Dr. Kelly Helmick, Woodland Park Zoo veterinarian. Healthy and happy chuckwallas spend a lot of time basking, raising themselves up off the rock a just bit. “If he’s flattened out on the …

Youth climate leadership needed now more than ever

Posted by: Eli Weiss, Community Engagement

Among climate scientists and activists there is clear consensus that climate change is a global crisis and urgent action needs to be taken.
As the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report indicates, there is no time to waste if we hope to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Given this urgency, we are confident that the Seattle Youth Climate Action Network is needed now more than ever.

Since 2015, Woodland Park Zoo has focused our efforts to address climate change on working with youth and community partners through the Seattle Youth Climate Action Network (CAN). Seattle Youth CAN empowers teens to address climate change in their communities through education, leadership and action. Through this project, Woodland Park Zoo convenes community support for youth to gain the skills and confidence needed to become leaders in the continued fight for a better future for people, animals, and planet earth.  


After a while, crocodiles

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications
In 1973, two very special creatures had just arrived at Woodland Park Zoo. The pair of dwarf crocodiles were just 5 years old when they settled into what would become their swampy Seattle home. The calm, cool and ever-chill crocodiles became iconic residents of the Day Exhibit, greeting visitors with their toothy grins for over 44 years.

If you were one of those visitors, you might recall them basking under the heat lamp in their grotto or catching a treat or two during Sunday feedings. But more than likely what you remember is a feeling of Zen. Simply being in their presence often inspired visitors to slow down and relax.

Now, at 49 years old, the pair has embarked on a new adventure, retiring where many Americans choose to spend their golden years: sunny Florida.
While we may have shed a few tears at the thought of them leaving (not crocodile tears, mind you), we are confident that their new home at St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Par…

Thrive honors local and international conservation heroes

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, communications
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Last night during the Thrive Leadership Awards dinner and fundraiser, Woodland Park Zoo honored individuals and a family business who have demonstrated their commitment to protecting wildlife and the environment around them, and advancing the zoo's conservation mission.
WATCH: Be a Force for Nature at
“Conservation depends on people and each of these awardees is a force for nature,” said Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO Alejandro Grajal. “Zoos can’t protect the biodiversity of species alone. We need partners and the unsung heroes to help us protect our planet, whether that’s educating millions of visitors on zoo grounds, working with farmers in Mexico, or being a champion of wildlife through time and leadership. They are showing us how to change humanity’s relationship with nature. They are truly forces for nature.”
The zoo’s inaugural Thrive Leadership Awards were presented to…