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Showing posts from May, 2020

Farewell to our sweet Amanda: Loving, eldest gorilla passes away

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications


We are mourning the great loss of Amanda, our 50-year-old female gorilla, who was humanely euthanized today due to a severe decline in health. During the last couple of weeks, the geriatric gorilla’s appetite and activity level were declining.

Amanda was the grandmother of the zoo’s newest baby gorilla, Kitoko, born in March. She was the oldest western lowland gorilla living at the zoo and among the oldest in North America. At 50 years old, Amanda was well into advanced geriatric age, practically double in human years.

Amanda was raised at Toronto Zoo. In 1994 she moved to Woodland Park Zoo where she successfully raised three daughters, including Uzumma, the mother of Kitoko.

“For 26 years at Woodland Park Zoo, Amanda offered a window into the magnificent world of gorillas for our zoo family and community,” says Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Known for her sweet disposition and being an exceptionally good mom, Amanda showe…

Baby gorilla injured during scuffle: Kitoko is recovering at hospital under 24-hour care

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

Editors note: UPDATE 5/25/20
Kitoko was returned to his mom the evening of May 24th. Uzumma picked him up right away and began nursing. Kwame, silverback and father of Kitoko, was also reunited with the pair that evening. As of May 25, Kitoko and Uzumma are doing well and under the watchful eye of the animal health team and their dedicated keepers who are showering them with lots of TLC.


Woodland Park Zoo’s 2½-month-old male gorilla, Kitoko, sustained injuries yesterday, May 23, during a skirmish among his six-member family group.

Zoo animal health staff immobilized Uzumma, the mother of Kitoko, in order to separate the baby and take him to the zoo’s veterinary hospital for an examination, including diagnostic radiographs and a surgical repair of the wound.


“The infant sustained serious injuries to the head including a laceration from a bite wound, resulting in a bone fracture to the skull,” says Dr. Darin Collins, director of animal health at Woo…

World Turtle Day: Show your love for these mighty heroes

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

On World Turtle Day 2020, we are more committed than ever to protecting vulnerable turtle, tortoise and terrapin species at home and around the world. #TurtlePower


For western pond turtles, recovery is possible thanks to a collaborative effort between Pacific Northwest stakeholders determined to give these local gems a head start. Knocked out by predators, loss of habitat and invasive species, the western pond turtle population hit a devastating low of 150 turtles in Washington by 1990. But now, this native species is poised for a comeback. For more than two decades, Woodland Park Zoo has partnered with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Zoo and others to give these turtles a fighting chance. Today, successful reintroduction has brought that population up to more than 1,200.

Without the collaborative efforts of Woodland Park Zoo and the Oregon Zoo’s head starting programs, it is very likely that the Western pond turtle would be e…

Zoomazium to You: Scavenger Hunt Weekend!

We're Going on a Bear Hike...!

Did you know May 24th is National Scavenger Hunt Day? This long weekend, join us for a short virtual scavenger hunt with our Going on a Bear Hike singalong video! Look for the animals who sing, stretch, sneak, hop and swim along as we take you on a hike through the zoo in search of grizzly bear brothers Keema and Denali!


Watch: Going on a bear hike: https://youtu.be/NuK-w2DLUgM

As you watch, practice stretching, sneaking and swimming with your young learners! You might even pause the video to ask them to show you their biggest hop and quietest sneak!

Now that you've enjoyed a virtual bear trek at the zoo, it's time to get outdoors for your own neighborhood scavenger hunt!

Zoomazium to You: Scavenger Hunt Weekend!

Posted by Janel Kempf, Early Childhood

It doesn’t matter where you look, there’s always something worth seeing.

It’s easy to think of wildlife and habitats as living far away—a pride of lions on the African savanna, a pair of white-n…

Welcome spring babies! A pudu and mountain goat are born

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo
We are teeming with new babies this spring! The newest members of the family are a male pudu fawn and a female mountain goat kid. The new babies join the burgeoning population of other babies born or hatched at the zoo since March including a gorilla, a pair of agoutis, a couple of penguins, two scaly-sided mergansers, and a wallaby and wallaroo.
Pudus are the smallest deer species in the world and are native to South America. The new pudu fawn was born May 14 to first-time parents Maggie and Ted. The last pudu birth at the zoo was 10 years ago.

“The new mom is providing good maternal care to her fawn. We’re pleased he’s nursing and mom and fawn are bonding,” says Mark Myers, an animal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “We’ll continue to monitor the new family closely.” The pudus live in the zoo’s Temperate Forest habitat.

The pudu parents were paired under the Pudu Species Survival Plan, which is a …

Darling ducks: A precious pair of scaly-sided mergansers have hatched!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

A precious pair of scaly-sided mergansers have hatched at Woodland Park Zoo. Also known as Chinese mergansers, this species of diving ducks is very rare in zoos and in the wild. This is the first time this type of duckling has hatched here, so experienced members of our animal care staff will be hand-rearing the pair.

Animal keeper Joanna Klass tells us that this is a very sensitive and endangered species, so it's no wonder we’re taking every precaution necessary to give these ducklings the best possible start in life. By hand-rearing the chicks, Joanna and her colleagues can make sure each duckling gets all the food it needs without having to compete with other larger adult birds that share our wetlands habitat. Once the ducklings grow to adult size and their juvenile feathers grow in, they'll be introduced to the other birds in the zoo’s Temperate Wetlands area.



These ducklings were hatched under the Scaly-sided Merganser Species Survi…

A bundle of joey! Meet our precious wallaroo and wallaby babies!

Posted by Meghan Sawyer, Communications
Photos by Amanda Dukart, Animal Keeper


We are jumping for joey! Two adorable joeys, born last fall, are just starting to venture into the world and out of their mamas’ pouches. Wallaroo mom Tinga gave birth to a joey last November, and wallaby mom Poppy gave birth to her joey last September. The sex of each of the joeys is not confirmed yet.

Each joey—the name of a baby kangaroo, wallaroo or wallaby—starts as a tiny blind and hairless newborn, only about the size of a lima bean! Even without sight to navigate, these babies must crawl their way up into their mother’s pouch where they will be able to stay safe and warm in the pouch while growing and getting all the nutrients they need from mom

At around 5 or 6 months old, the joey starts peeking their head out of the pouch. Then at about 7 months old, the joey will hop out entirely—just for a few moments—to get a taste of the outside world before returning to the safety and security of the pouch. …

Zoomazium to You: Growing Green

Posted by Janel Kempf, Early Childhood
When the month of May rolls around in the Pacific Northwest, the earth feels completely alive. Flowers are in full bloom, Douglas-fir trees are decked out in new light green branch tips, and some of those invasive weeds like Himalayan blackberry are growing like... well, weeds. As they do.

We work hard on our gardens to get just what we want growing there, but there are lots of plants that grow just fine without our help. That doesn’t mean they don’t need any help from anyone, though. Plants all around the world rely on animals to help them thrive, whether by creating fertile soil, pollinating flowers, or even planting seeds.

Planting seeds? Absolutely!

Herbivores (plant-eaters) and omnivores (everything-eaters) eat a dizzying array of plants and plant parts. And some of those plant parts are there specifically to be eaten! Just as flowers are a plant’s way of attracting pollinators, fruits are a plant’s way of attracting seed dispersers—animals…

Hope has a name: Kitoko

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

Today in honor of Endangered Species Day, we are excited to announce the name of Uzumma's baby boy: Kitoko (ki-TOE-koh), which means beautiful or handsome in the African languages, Lingala /Kikongo.




The opportunity to name the baby gorilla was given to Woodland Park Zoo Board member Rosemarie Havranek and her family, Nathan, Cameron, and Conor Myhrvold, as a small token of gratitude for their long-time, generous support of Woodland Park Zoo’s mission to save wildlife and inspire everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.


“Our family has supported the zoo for many decades and the opportunity to name the newest baby gorilla is an honor. We have spent many hours at the zoo as a family, observing the wildlife and teaching our sons about the important work of animal conservation,” says Rosemarie Havranek. “Woodland Park Zoo's mission of animal conservation locally and globally reminds us that we need to take care of the world ar…

Meet Jibini the adorable milky eagle owl

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications



We’d love to introduce you to the newest, and youngest member of our Ambassador Team—although he is certainly not the smallest! At least not anymore. This is Jibini. He is a Verreaux eagle owl, more commonly known as a milky eagle owl—the first of his species at Woodland Park Zoo. Anytime you hear of a species that is called an ‘eagle owl,’ it immediately begs the question “is it an eagle or an owl”? The ‘eagle’ part is a size reference. This bird is technically a very large owl—one of the largest in the world actually!

After arriving as an egg from Zoo Atlanta, where his parents live, Jibini hatched on January 28th under the watchful eye of our dedicated keepers. He was smaller than a tennis ball at the time and, like many bird species, he was mostly featherless except for some fuzzy down, and his eyes hadn’t opened yet. For the first few weeks, Jibini spent most of his time in an incubator to help keep him warm. Our keepers checked on him…

What did you see? Five fav pics from the Carnivore Spotter Tool

Posted by Kodi Jo Jaspers, Community Conservation Liaison
Photos courtesy of Seattle Urban Carnivore Project / Woodland Park Zoo and Seattle University.
On August 12th, 2019, the online carnivore reporting tool, Carnivore Spotter, was launched. Carnivore Spotter is part of the larger Seattle Urban Carnivore Project, a collaboration between Woodland Park Zoo and Seattle University. Over the last ten months many of our community members from across the greater Seattle area have shared their carnivore sightings. You have uploaded coyote sightings in Queen Anne, black bear reports in Issaquah and everything in between. Many of these reports also included media, such as videos or photos. We are especially excited when we receive reports with media, as it lets us see the exciting sightings you all are seeing in our city, and also allows us to verify the report. Each report is individually reviewed, and those that do include photos, video or audio are verified to ensure that these observati…