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Happy World Health Day from the Tropical Rain Forest!

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

Today is World Health Day and we want to thank all of our visitors, members, staff, volunteers and our community for keeping health a top priority––not only for people, but for the animals too.

We've asked you to visit your zoo with timed tickets (which helps spread folks out), to social distance (if you need help remembering how far six feet is, just imagine an adult tapir, from tail to snout, or our boa, Anahi, stretched all the way out!) and to mask up. You've been patient and kind as we've navigated the challenges of a new zoo experience and we want to acknowledge just how grateful we are for your understanding and willingness to go with the flow. We still have these precautions in place, but you can get a refresh on how to safely visit at  as spring and summer heat up!

For over a year now, much of the indoor space at Woodland Park Zoo has been closed to keep staff, visitors and animals healthy and safe during the pandemic. As vaccinations roll out and Washington's Phase 3 reopening plan begins to expand visitor capacity, we look forward to being able to open these spaces once again. For now, high touch buildings such as Zoomazium, Tropical Rain Forest and Bug World (among others) remain closed... but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot going on inside!

Animal keepers are dedicated to providing outstanding care, creative enrichment and spending time with all of the creatures inside and out. Our incredible staff have increased health and safety measures while continuing to be there for animals big and small.

We know you miss the Tropical Rain Forest, so here is a little update from the team on a few of your favorites. If we could bottle up the scent of petrichor, wet and rich soil, orchids and tropical leaves we would!

Salvador the ocelot moves to a new home, update from keeper Shannon: If you were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the elusive Salvador you were no doubt captivated by his beautiful markings and large pink nose. Ocelots are naturally shy and secretive, and Salvador is no exception. This trait serves them well as they patrol the dense understory of their tropical forest habitats on the search for prey while avoiding larger predators like the jaguar. 

At the zoo we have offered Salvador food items that are similar to the diet of ocelots in their natural habitat. Keepers have enjoyed hiding his food to encourage foraging behavior, and offering whole prey items like fish. One of his favorite foods is something you might feed your cat at home- Fancy Feast pate! Building a bond through trust and respect with this sensitive cat has been a privilege for his keepers. 

Salvador recently left for his new home at Feline Conservation Center in Rosamond, CA and while we were sad to say goodbye to our friend, we are excited for his future in California and what it means for ocelot conservation!

Red-rumped agouti, update from keeper Kayla: We welcomed two new agouti pups at the beginning of October 2020 (a boy and a girl!). Pepita and Pecan are almost as big as their parents now and the female is very bold like her dad, John Agouti, while the male is more cautious like his mom, Nutella.

All the herps are doing great! update from keeper Alyssa: All the herps (herpetology refers to reptiles and amphibians) at TRF are doing well! The emerald tree boas are currently getting some extra keeper time while their space is being updated. The dart frogs are enjoying the privacy of a quieter building, and have been exhibiting some reproductive behaviors. We have also taken in some juvenile dart frogs so there will be plenty of activity in their new habitat!

Golden lion tamarins, saki monkeys and tarantula updates by keeper Linda:

Pular and Kaylee, our golden lion tamarin pair, are great at finding their food items hidden in hanging enrichment feeders. Our keeper staff are staying busy coming up with new ways to keep these two curious and engaged.

Our white-faced saki monkey pair, Snuggle and Babs, snack on a variety of fruits and veggies, and enjoy cracking nuts open with their strong teeth. Peanuts in particular are a treasured treat. These arboreal monkeys also spend time up on high branches, grooming each other.

Bella, our pink-toed tarantula, recently completed a successful molt, which lets us know that she is growing and developing properly. She is doing well and is often seen relaxing in her tunnel-shaped web.

(Bella is really good at hiding for photos)

Aracari and toucans, update by keeper Catherine:

Keepers recently started training the green aracari pair to come down to a scale so that they are able to obtain routine weights on both birds. The aracaris were rewarded with blueberries and grapes for approaching and eventually sitting on the scale. Our female, Freya, took it a step further and is learning to catch blueberries in the air!

Our toucan pair Patrick and Lola are busily excavating their nest box! In the wild, toucans nest in tree cavities, but here at the zoo we use a custom-designed box that allows keepers to access the box if needed. Keepers add wood shavings to the box to stimulate interest in breeding, and are able to remotely monitor the box via a camera.

It's no mistake we chose the Tropical Rain Forest to wish you a happy World Health Day––rainforests are the lungs of our planet––this incredible biome absorbs carbon dioxide, creates global rainfall and stabilizes our climate as well as provides a home to half of the world's species of plants and animals. With 20% of our oxygen coming from tropical rainforests, it's no wonder communities around the world are fighting to protect this resource. 

Protect the rainforest:
Choose Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper and wood products to protect forest habitat and wildlife and shop from companies committed to deforestation-free, sustainable palm oil.

Expanding routes and reopening more of your zoo:
Over the coming weeks, you may see some changes at the zoo as we expand path routes. We will continue to require facial coverings and social distancing, encourage advanced timed-ticket and member reservations online, and will expand our enhanced cleaning and sanitization for the health and safety of people and animals alike. For updated information about ways we can all assure safety together, visit

Plan ahead this season: As the weather warms up and more folks are heading to the zoo, our reservations may be filling up sooner. While we do have some walk up availability, we highly recommended making a reservation in advance since timed entries are sure to go quickly throughout spring and summer. Members and visitors can make reservations for a timed entry at