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Showing posts from June, 2017

Big and Little get up close with the penguin whisperer

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo
“I’m really not a seafood person.” quips Giovanni, “Ooohwee, that’s a strong smell!
Giovanni, ‘G’ for short, is visiting the Humboldt Penguin exhibit with his Big Brother Luke. The pair is a match with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound and they are here to get a special close up look at penguins with keeper Celine. The pair has experienced many outings since being matched by Big Brothers Big Sisters about 8 months ago, from trips to the arcade to grabbing burgers to just hanging out after school—but this experience is by far the most pungent.

Celine introduces G and Luke to the four types of fish diet that the colony of penguins receives. She points out the vitamins that help the penguins, who range in age from 28 years to 4 months old, stay healthy and active. G is especially interested in how the penguin keepers tell all the penguins apart and keep siblings from snatching each other’s f…

Giraffe baby takes her first steps outside

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

Tufani has her eyes on our camera, and baby girl has her eyes on Tufani. They take their first steps outside of the barn and into the outdoors. It’s a little fenced area—a safe, controlled space to let them take in some fresh air but not overwhelm them. Baby girl’s ears twitch, she lifts her head to take in all the sights, and gets a little gallop in her step. “This is going to be fun!” her legs seem to be telling her, kicking up dirt as they get a feel for the ground.

Video: Baby giraffe takes first steps outside.

It’s not long before baby is stretching her legs and walking around under the watchful eyes of momma Tufani. But Tufani isn’t the only one watching. Poppa Dave is technically on the other side of the fence, but at 15 feet tall, he can stretch his neck over and nuzzle the baby. Dave seems to think this newest arrival is the best part of each day. He’s interested in watching baby’s every move and appears to be as smitten as we are. Can’t blam…

It's a Girl!

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

As you all have been patiently waiting, we’d like to give you a little update on our newest arrival.
It’s a girl!
 A beautiful, 5’9”, 149 lbs. bundle of joy. She is already bonding with mom and curious about all of the keepers and animal health staff who have been visiting her barn.

After a 4:03 a.m. birth on June 20, 2017, our sweet mama Tufani began nursing her baby in the late afternoon. Nursing is a huge milestone for any new mother, but especially for Tufani who is a first time mom. Nursing is incredibly important for the health of the baby, and another sign that mom and baby are bonding. 
In other good news, the calf received good scores on her first neonatal exam with our dedicated animal health team. Dr. Darin Collins describes the baby as being healthy and her overall body condition is good. The calf has to learn how to nurse, but so does Tufani. Mom had to first work through the new routine, but she seems to have it down. Each time th…

Giraffe gives birth to Seattle’s tallest baby

Posted by: Alissa Wolken, Communications

Seattle’s tallest baby has arrived! After months of eager anticipation, Woodland Park Zoo is excited to announce 8-year-old giraffe Tufani gave birth this morning. The calf, whose sex has not yet been determined, was born to the first-time mom in the giraffe barn at approximately 4:03 a.m. under the watchful eyes of zookeepers.

Following the critical 72-hour window after birth, the zoo’s giraffe cam will go live, giving the public the opportunity to see Tufani and her baby as they bond in the barn. Viewers can access the giraffe cam once it goes live and see updates by visiting and following #tallestbaby on the zoo’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Video: Seattle's tallest baby.

The unnamed calf and mother are off view in the barn to allow a quiet environment for maternal bonding and nursing. “Within a week or two, we expect the newborn to follow mom to the outdoor area of the barn where visitors will be able to see them,…

Alzheimer’s Zoo Walkers Experience Nature and Community

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications
Video by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

After chatting a bit at the entrance, the Early Stage Memory Loss walking group decides on a destination. “We’re headed to Northern Trail today,” they declare, but it’s much more about the journey.

The zoo has been partnering with the Washington chapter of Alzheimer’s Association (AA WA) for more than twenty years. As part of the zoo’s Community Access Program, AA WA receives complimentary zoo tickets to provide an opportunity for families and caregivers to enjoy healthy and healing activities with their loved ones who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  We also welcome two Early Stage Memory Loss walking groups to the zoo twice a week.

Year-round on Mondays and Wednesdays the walkers gather for an hour or two as the zoo opens to check out the grounds, soak up some nature and catch up with each other.

A delightfully funny, sharp and welcoming crew, they allowed us to tag along on a few of their walks so we coul…

Coexisting with carnivores in King County

Posted by: Alicia Highland, Education

How many times has a carnivore interacted with your waste containers (garbage, compost, recycling) in the previous 12 months?” asks the neighbor survey crafted by Issaquah middle schoolers. The students are trying to understand how their community’s garbage habits—what kinds of cans and lids they use or whether they store compost indoors—relate to encounters with bears, raccoons and cougars.

Issaquah and the neighboring communities of east King County lie at the intersection of expanding urban settlement and iconic wilderness. Surrounded by forested mountains on three sides and Lake Sammamish to the north, the area is also home to abundant wildlife including some of Washington’s most charismatic carnivores: black bears, coyotes, bobcats, and cougars. At the interface of urbanization and wilderness, there is sometimes human-animal conflict. However, through their work with Woodland Park Zoo, Issaquah School District’s 6th grade Life Science studen…

Bear Affair teaches bear smarts in the Northwest

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

Bear Affair: Living Northwest Conservation Day is one of our favorite events. Each year in early June, we get to do what we love best: watch our animals enjoy a special day tailored just to them and watch our visitors fall in love with those same animals, learn more about conservation actions they can take right here in the Pacific Northwest, and become stewards for protecting wildlife in Washington. It's also a day we get to celebrate the incredible work our conservation colleagues are doing too, as many of our peers join us by setting up learning opportunities that start on the North Meadow and wind all the way through Northern Trail. Our volunteers come out on this day, as do ZooCorps teens, and everyone from our horticulture staff (providing beautiful flowers for the mock wedding cake and arch) to our dedicated keepers who make sure the animals have a great day (without eating too many coffee grounds or cake). It doesn't get any bett…

From Temperate to Tropical: ZooCrew Middle School Students Explore Issues Facing the Forests of the World

Posted by: Ryan Driscoll, Education
Photos courtesy of ZooCrew, Woodland Park Zoo

Note from the Editor: Each term, ZooCrew empowers middle school youth to become conservation leaders by providing science learning experiences that inspire them to learn, care, and act through after school and summer expanded learning opportunities.
Through the ZooCrew programs, we excite youth from traditionally underserved communities about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects by engaging with real-world conservation issues, preparing them for continued involvement in Woodland Park Zoo’s youth programs, and inspiring them to consider a broad range of STEM and conservation careers. We believe engaging these students, as well as youth across Washington state, is key to solving current conservation issues in our own backyard and around the world.

Learning with the zoo doesn’t just take place on zoo grounds! As the school year winds down, we wrapped up another awesome spring semester o…