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Showing posts from October, 2020

Leeches are babies too!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications Not all babies born or hatched at Woodland Park Zoo are warm, cuddly, furry and feathered. Adding to this year's baby boom, the zoo is proud to announce its newest hatching: approximately 30 medicinal leeches (they’re very difficult to count!)! It will take about two to three years for the new leeches to reach their adult size of approximately 6 inches. The leech hatchlings are the offspring of multiple adults the zoo rescued four years ago. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confiscated the adult leeches from an individual traveling from Russia to the U.S. who attempted to smuggle more than 40 adult leeches in water bottles. Woodland Park Zoo accepted all the leeches into its care. Watch: Leeches are babies too! Earlier this year, the zoo received 22 more adult leeches from a U.S. breeder; the adult leeches from Russia immediately started breeding with the new additions. “Woodland Park Zoo works closely with wildl

Farewell, Mr. Sea: Our beloved, oldest penguin passes away

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications Woodland Park Zoo said goodbye to Mr. Sea, a male Humboldt penguin. Due to a decline in health, he has been humanely euthanized. The geriatric penguin was two months shy of his 32nd birthday. Mr. Sea was the oldest penguin at the zoo and one of the oldest of his species in North America. Forty penguins remain in our zoo’s colony. Mr. Sea was not only our oldest penguin, he was one of the oldest of his species in North America. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo Because of his advanced age, our dedicated penguin keepers and animal health team members have been closely monitoring Mr. Sea for some time. They noticed during the last several weeks, that his appetite and activity level were down. The median life expectancy for Humboldt penguins that survive their first year is 17.6 years for both males and females. Mr. Sea has been part of our penguin colony for 11 years. He fathered nine offspring at his former home and at the zoo; he lea

Woodland Park Zoo honored with awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications Woodland Park Zoo was honored with awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) at its annual conference which was held virtually in 2020. The areas of achievement include Volunteer Engagement, Diversity, Species Survival Plan Sustainability and Research. We're very proud of each of these honors and are excited to tell you a little more about the work behind them! Our Volunteer Inclusion Program received two awards this year: Top Honors in the Volunteer Engagement Award category, which recognizes achievement by an AZA member institution in volunteer program development, and a Significant Achievement Award in the Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award category, which recognizes significant achievement in the workforce and audience diversity by an AZA member institution. Photo: John Loughlin/Woodland Park Zoo The Woodland Park Zoo Volunteer Inclusion Program supports individuals with disabilities who are interested in vo

Signs of Wildlife — Signs of Hope

Posted by Rebecca Whitham, Vice President of Engagement with Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, WPZ  A female proboscis monkey and her baby in Borneo’s Kinabatangan region. The boat driver cuts the engine. We slowly bob and drift along the river toward the direction of what has caught the observation team’s eyes—a sight found nowhere else in the world: the improbably proportioned proboscis monkey. Researchers with HUTAN’s primate observation unit have spotted a small family group. With the aid of binoculars and a clipboard, they take note of juveniles playing, female adults nearby at rest. A dominant male on a branch all his own watches over us, potbelly flopped over almost as characteristically as his nose.  Our team recognizes a male proboscis monkey by his signature nose. That signature nose is meant to signal his attractiveness, and possibly act as a sound enhancer for better group management. It also has given the proboscis monkey its name and its prominence in the eco-story of Bo

Meet the Raptors: Superheroes of the Skies!

 Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications and Susan Burchardt, Animal Keeper We'd like to introduce you to a few of Woodland Park Zoo’s own Superheroes. No capes needed here because these particular heroes are already expert fliers. We’ll take a closer look and examine some of their unique superpowers, investigate what threats they face in nature—their “Kryptonite” so to speak—and fill you in on how you can visit with them at Woodland Park Zoo or in some cases, see their cousins around the wild spaces of our Pacific Northwest! Read all about them, then take our raptor quiz and find out which Superhero you are most like!  Modoc, the handsome turkey vulture. Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo Superhero: Modoc the Turkey vulture Superpower: Iron stomach! Vultures have strong stomachs that can neutralize all kinds of dangerous germs and bacteria—which helps minimize the spread of disease to other animals and to people. Kryptonite/Threats: Toxins in their (and our) environment. E

Tiny Egyptian tortoises teach us a big lesson in hope

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications Egyptian tortoises are critically endangered. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo Every now and then, the world’s tiniest creatures show they have something big to teach us, if we’re willing to listen. Such is the case for the Egyptian tortoise. This critically endangered species, one of the world’s smallest tortoises, faces intense pressure in the wild. They’re native to the desert bordering the Mediterranean Sea and were once found in Libya, Egypt and Israel. Now, they’re isolated to small patches of territory in Libya and are considered extinct in the rest of their territory. Habitat destruction and human encroachment, including the illegal pet trade, are to blame. But there is hope, in the form of tiny hatchlings that weigh about as much as a couple nickels.  Woodland Park Zoo is proud to be a leader in the successful breeding and rearing of Egyptian tortoises. We work under the direction of the Species Survival Plan (known as t

Shower Hasani with love: famed giraffe heading to new home

Posted by Gigi Allianic, communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/ Woodland Park Zoo In May 2019, we proudly announced the birth of a little giraffe . This month, the giraffe darling of the community, Hasani, will reach another milestone: he’ll be leaving Seattle for a new home.  The last day to visit Hasani and show some love will be Sunday, October 18. Giraffe fans can also see the other members of the herd: Olivia and Dave, the parents of Hasani; and Tufani, the younger sister of Olivia.  Hasani will move to a new home in Merkel, Texas. It is a facility and breeding center that has been vetted by Woodland Park Zoo animal care experts, is affiliated with Hemker Park & Zoo in Freeport, Minn. and is well-regarded by the AZA community. The center does not have a name because it is not open to the public, but the organization that owns it is licensed for animal welfare by the USDA. To learn more, see our editor’s note below. The 155-pound newborn was diagnosed just hours after

A baby gorilla is on the way: Nadiri is expecting!

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications Nadiri, a 24 year old western lowland gorilla, is expecting her second baby—a younger sibling for Yola. Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo Oh baby... we have some exciting news to share! Nadiri, the mom of little Yola, is eating for two once again! We are announcing today that Nadiri has safely completed the first trimester of pregnancy and is expecting her second baby in late January or February 2021. The gestation period for gorillas is eight to nine months, similar to humans. The new baby sister or brother for Yola, who turns 5 in November, will be the first offspring between 24-year-old Nadiri and 20-year-old Kwame. Kwame is also the father of Kitoko, a boy born earlier this year to female Uzumma, so Nadiri's new baby will be a younger sibling for him too! Kwame is the silverback of this gorilla family and the father of Nadiri's baby. This will be the second child for each of them at Woodland Park Zoo, and the first for them together