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Showing posts from September, 2017

Six seasons of amphibian monitoring with citizen science

Posted by Jenny Mears, Education

Note from the editor: There’s a world teeming below your feet in the Washington wetlands, a world we’re just beginning to document with the help of volunteers through the Amphibian Monitoring Program, a Living Northwest citizen science project. Amphibian Monitoring is offered through Woodland Park Zoo’s Living Northwest program, in partnership with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW), Northwest Trek, and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Going on the sixth year of this citizen science effort, volunteers work in teams to survey ponds and wetlands in King and Snohomish Counties.
The sixth season of Amphibian Monitoring has come to an end, and Woodland Park Zoo’s citizen science program has much to celebrate: A successful transition to iNaturalist, a user-friendly network for sharing biodiversity observations that connect wildlife enthusiasts around the world.Over 75 Woodland Park Zoo volunteers on 12 monitoring teams who surveyed their cho…

Celebrate World Gorilla Day with a conservation action

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

World Gorilla Day asks people from all over the world to celebrate these amazing animals and take action to protect endangered gorillas in the wild and save their ever-shrinking natural habitat.
The largest of the primates, gorillas are often the first great ape that we are introduced to as young children. Their intelligence, gentle nature and magnificent strength make them both awe-inspiring and familiar. They are also the most closely related primate to humans, after bonobos and chimpanzees. 
Every day, we see zoo guests, members, keepers and volunteers alike, standing in awe of playful Akenji, peaceful Pete or curious little Yola.  Their presence is inspiring. It is easy to love them, but on World Gorilla Day we ask you to act on behalf of this critically endangered species.
Gorillas are split into two locations in Africa. Each species, the Western gorilla and Eastern gorilla are separated by the Congo Basin forest. Both species are also divi…

Going Green: Middle School Youth Learn About Sustainability

Posted by Ryan Driscoll, Education

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 communities across King County 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.

What does the word sustainability mean?  That was the question we asked during the ZooCrew Summer Learning Program, and 22 middle-school students from across Seattle came up with some great defin…

Aibek explores the great outdoors

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


You can add one more outdoors enthusiast to the lineup of PNW adventurers—Aibek took to climbing, pouncing and stealthily sneaking through the outdoor snow leopard exhibit this morning for the first time. The 2 month old male snow leopard was so eager to explore his new digs that he actually beat mom out the door, but Helen was close behind the little explorer to keep an eye on him.



Prior to Aibek's first morning in the September drizzle, keepers weighed the cub (10.2 lbs.) and fed him a few meaty snacks. Keepers also sprayed a bit of cologne on branches and logs in the exhibit to entice mom, Helen. A meat treat was another incentive to head into the yard. Aibek has been eating mostly solids, although he is still nursing.



During his first outdoor exploration, Aibek took his time sniffing around the grasses and pine trees and then made his way to the top of the rocky hill—and just like his pa…

An unusual gorilla adoption

Posted by: Milou Groenenberg, Mbeli Bai Gorilla Study, a Woodland Park Zoo Wildlife Survival Fund project

At Mbeli, we follow the interesting lives of many different gorillas. One of our most fascinating stories is that of George’s group. George was already an adult silverback when the Mbeli Bai Study started in 1995. He acquired his first females in 1998, and became a successful harem holder, siring a total of 19 offspring. One of the females in his group, Leah, became famous worldwide for the first observation of tool-use by wild gorillas. From 2004 onward, George’s group slowly started to reduce in size as he lost female after female. From 2012 onward, George started to mingle with another group: Morpheus’s.


There appeared to be some sort of unique fission-fusion dynamic going on in which the groups would sometimes visit the bai together, and other times, separately. This development was highly surprising as western lowland gorillas, unlike their mountain cousins, are generally ver…