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Showing posts from August, 2017

The zoo is home for growing family of wild eagles

Posted by: Elizabeth Bacher, Marketing Photos by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo
Here at Woodland Park Zoo, we share the habitat with all kinds of native wildlife such as bald eagles.  Two eagle fledglings, called eaglets, just left their nest above the zoo’s elk yard a few weeks ago. They’re only about 15 or 16 weeks old right now and already as big as their parents, but their overall dark coloring sets them apart from adults. 

Juveniles don’t develop the distinctive bald eagle features—white head, yellow beak and yellow feet—until they’re 4 or 5 years old. The eaglets’ long flight feathers, which help steady them as they learn to fly and hunt, often make them look even bigger than adults for the first year. But they’re still completely dependent on mom and dad right now.  

Soon, the parents will leave the nesting area to take advantage of fall salmon runs in places like the Skagit and Columbia River systems, and they won’t return for several months. The youngsters will be on their ow…

Seattle Youth Climate Action Network Summer Superstars

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

The youth will save the world. Sentiments like this can seem overzealous in their predictions, but after spending a few hours interviewing the participants of the Seattle Youth Climate Action Network (SYCAN) Summer Learning Experience, I am convinced.

An intensive pilot program, SYCAN Summer Learning Experience invited high school students from communities across King County to participate in a dynamic four-week local exploration of all things climate while keeping their brains abuzz during summer break. Along with three interns from the City of Seattle’s Seattle Youth Employment Program, three educators from Woodland Park Zoo and generous support from Stolte Family Foundation and others, the group came together to learn about the effects of climate change on people and the environment—and what some Seattle institutions and professionals are doing about it.
Each participant was given an Orca card, gifted by King County Metro, and used public t…

Meet new orangutan of the forest, Godek

He’s a little shy by nature. But when Godek took his first steps into the indoor orangutan exhibit, there was nothing tentative about the way he moved. The 8-year-old male Sumatran orangutan is settling right into his new home.

After arriving from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado earlier this summer, Godek completed a standard quarantine at our veterinary hospital where care staff first observed his shy demeanor. His keepers from Colorado told us to expect the young fellow to be gentle and quiet, but also very playful. We had this in mind when we began introductions between Godek and his new social group.

The plan is for Godek to live with our older females, 49-year-old Chinta and 46-year-old Melati. Siblings Belawan, female, 36 and Heran, male, 28, have formed a second group. Godek is the first new addition to our orangutan family in 28 years. While our keepers have expertise in successfully introducing apes, we know this is new and different for the orangutans. So we’re following …

Conservation collaborations emerge (again) from fire

Posted by: Katie Remine, Education

In December of 2016, a fire damaged Woodland Park Zoo’s Day and Night exhibits. Staff from across the zoo came together with local firefighters to respond to the emergency and protect the animals in our care. With this tragedy in recent memory, we were very saddened to learn about a fire that impacted the conservation community in Eastern Washington. In late June, a brush fire caused great damage to the Pygmy Rabbit Recovery Project. But, like our experience at the zoo, a wide variety of partners and stakeholders came together in response to the emergency. This August, our Advanced Inquiry Program graduate students were able to go out, get dirty and help our friends at the Pygmy Rabbit Recovery Project.


Weighing less than a pound for an average adult, pygmy rabbits are the smallest known rabbit species in the world and are the only rabbits in the United States that dig their own burrows.  Pygmy rabbits are found throughout the Great Basin, which incl…

MyZoo Kids Rock Backyard Creature Art Contest

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

This summer we asked kids to show us what kinds of creatures might be hiding in their backyard—the results were some very creative and rare species indeed.



The MyZoo Kids' Backyard Creatures contest invited kids ages 3-5 and 6-10 to design their own inspired creatures, whether real or imagined and after sorting through a stack of over 100 entries we have the winners!
Grand Prize: Age 6-10
Artist: Lauren Orrison, age 7 Name of creature: Lady Lizard Nocturnal, eats pollen, lives underground and likes to dance.
We loved Lauren's wild use of mark making and a creature that reminds us of something we have seen before, but can't quite place. Lauren will receive an overnight experience at the zoo in August. Great work Lauren!
Grand Prize: Age 3-5

Artist: Carly Rodgers, age 5 Name of creature: Sazzy Nocturnal, eats reptiles, lives in a swamp and likes to hide.
There was something a little bit creepy and a little bit beautiful about Carly's…

Oops, snow leopard cub is a boy, not a girl

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications



After a closer look, it turns out our 1-month-old snow leopard is a boy, not a girl as reported two weeks ago during a quick neonatal exam. At a follow-up exam with veterinarians today we, uh, uncovered the truth. Sometimes determining the sex of young animals, particularly cats, can be more of an art than a science.


“Male or female, we’re pleased our cub remains in a healthy condition. Both eyes have opened and he weighed in today at 4.2 pounds, a healthy weight for his age,” said Dr. Darin Collins, Woodland Park Zoo’s director of animal health. Veterinarians will continue to administer health exams every few weeks until he’s about 16 weeks old for weight monitoring, vaccinations, and critical blood and fecal sampling, explained Collins. The check-ups are a part of the zoo’s exemplary animal welfare program to ensure each animal receives optimal health care.


The new cub was born July 6 and is the first offspring between mom Helen and dad Dhiri…

Baby giraffe Lulu takes first steps on the savanna

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications


This happened today.

It's a new milestone for baby giraffe, Lulu. For the first time, the 1½-month-old giraffe ventured onto the vast African Savanna exhibit with mom Tufani and the herd.


“Lulu’s adventurous spirit and self-confidence were on full display during her first introduction on the savanna. She crossed out to the savanna cautiously, but once she was out there, she explored, galloped, and met our gazelle, guinea fowl and a few ducks,” said Katie Ahl, a lead keeper at Woodland Park Zoo.



Video: Lulu's New Adventure

“Lulu is very independent but you could tell Tufani and Lulu were keeping an eye on each other and it was good to see them check in with each other throughout the introduction,” Katie added.


Lulu’s time on the Savanna will be limited for the first week as introductions continue.  Currently, she has outdoor access in the corrals for guests to enjoy her from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily. “Lulu and her mom also have access…