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Showing posts from February, 2020

Birth watch begins for pregnant gorilla, Uzumma

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

We're excited to announce that the birth watch for our pregnant western lowland gorilla, Uzumma, has started. The gestation period for gorillas is eight to nine months, similar to humans, and the due date for our mom-to-be is between March 8 and March 20. During the overnight birth watch, zoo volunteers will be able to watch Uzumma from cameras in her behind-the-scenes bedroom. They'll also be able to collect data and look for any telltale signs of labor—and a gorilla keeper is on call each night to respond if that happens. 
This birth will be the first for 12-year-old Uzumma. The expectant father is 20-year-old Kwame, who came to Woodland Park Zoo in 2018 from Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The last gorilla born here was Yola, a 4-year-old female who lives in Kwame and Uzumma's group. It’s always an exciting time preparing for the birth of a gorilla. Gorillas are very social animals, so a new baby gorilla is exciting…

Are we the greenest of them all? Sorting waste in search of sustainability!

Woodland Park Zoo is committed to sustainability and continues to push the boundaries of what is possible. Currently, over 80% of waste at the zoo is diverted from landfills each year and our goal is to achieve 90% diversion from landfill by 2022. The purpose of a waste audit is to measure our current waste and increase compost and recycling diversion while simultaneously reducing/eliminating contamination. The last zoo-wide waste audit was conducted in 2013, which occurred before the roll-out of public tri-sorting stations and before Seattle’s food packaging ordinances were implemented.

To understand how to help keep more waste out of landfills, the zoo’s Green Team organized a zoo-wide waste audit in 2019 to assess our waste streams. The waste audit was possible through the sponsorship of Waste Management and Cedar Grove as well as the zoo staff and volunteers who sorted through 95 bags of garbage, recycling, and compost!

Meghan Sawyer, a member of the public relations team here at …

Farewell Chinta: Our Beloved, Eldest Orangutan

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications
Our sweet Chinta passed away peacefully this morning, just one day shy of her 52nd birthday. She was the oldest animal currently living at Woodland Park Zoo and one of the oldest orangutans in North America. We will miss her presence immensely. 
The red-haired beauty was the last remaining animal born at Woodland Park Zoo in the 1960s who had lived at the zoo her entire lifetime. Chinta and her late twin brother Towan were born here in February 1968. Towan passed away in 2016.
Worldwide, the twin orangutans gained instant celebrity status as the first-known twin orangutans born in a zoo. Photos of the pair as infants appeared around the globe, including in “Life” magazine. While other twins have since been born, twin orangutan births are a rare occurrence.
Chinta, who was easily recognizable by ragged bangs over her eyebrows, was a geriatric orangutan and in her sunset years. The median life expectancy for orangutans is 28 years although orang…

You're the Swan for Me

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a beautiful trumpeter swan is getting a second chance at life, and at love. Meet Sarah and Cygmond. Sarah, who is estimated to be 6 or 7 years old, was rescued after flying into power lines. Cygmond is 8 years old and recently came to Seattle from Kansas City Zoo to be a companion for Sarah. Together, they’re making their debut in a pond in the Temperate Forest habitat.


Sarah's rescue and recovery is a conservation success story—and it was a team effort. Wildlife rescuers came to her aid on Whidbey Island last summer. The Northwest Swan Conservation Association headed up her rescue along with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Puget Sound Energy’s Avian Protection Program. A veterinary exam found the swan had a broken wing, was dehydrated, underweight and tested for low levels of lead poisoning.

Though they could treat her and help her heal, wildlife experts at Whatcom Humane Society’…

Meet Olive and Clover just in time for Galentine's Day!

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications
Say hello to the newest, most beautiful warthogs—Olive and Clover. These 2 ½ year old sisters made their debut in the warthog habitat last week after coming to Seattle from Jacksonville, Florida late last year. For now, the girls are getting comfortable on the public side of their new home—while behind the scenes, they’re slowly being introduced to Dennis, our resident male warthog who will be 9 years old this spring. Eventually these three not-so-little piggies will all have access to their yard together.

Common warthogs—as the species is called—are wild members of the pig family, which are related to boars and hogs. They’re native to the grasslands, savannas, and woodlands in sub-Saharan Africa. The species name comes from the thick growths of skin that pad their wide, flat faces. They look like warts but it’s believed they actually function as padding to protect their faces during mating season battles. Since the males are the ones that d…

A Big Decision for Hippos Lupe and Lily

For all the animals in our care, we’re committed to their daily wellbeing. But we also dedicate ourselves to assuring they will continue to thrive through all the ages and stages of their lives still to come. That’s why after much discussion and consideration, zoo staff will begin the process of seeking new homes for our beloved hippos, Lily and Lupe.

Lily and Lupe have been part of our zoo family for decades, and while we will be sad to see them move, we feel that this decision is the very best thing for two of our favorite hippos in the world.

Lupe is at an appropriate age for breeding at 20 years old. Based on Lupe’s genetic makeup, she is recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) so that she can help sustain a genetically healthy population. Our current hippo exhibit was designed 40 years ago to house two hippos. It was not intended as a breeding facility, and therefore the space does not allow for a male and female to be separated or have offspring…