Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More baby tapir photos


Due to her popularity (apparently her videos are a very popular discussion in the local clubs!), here are more photos of our new tapir calf. Right now, we are in contact with the zoo's Director of Animal Health, Dr. Darin Collins, who is in Indonesia working on the avian flu situation. He is going to hook the zoo up with a school in Sumatra to have the kids help us name the tapir. We hope to accomplish this in the next few months. - Photos by Ryan Hawk

Friday, July 27, 2007

Snow Leopard Day is coming - August 18!


The zoo is celebrating 25 years of partnership with the Snow Leopard Trust, the Seattle-based organization dedicated to the preservation of snow leopards and snow leopard habitat. By working with the people living in snow leopard areas, SLT has influenced a number of programs including anti-poaching initiatives and creating opportunities for indigenous people in Tibet and other countries in snow leopard range countries to earn money from sources other than poaching.


Join us and the Snow Leopard Trust on Saturday, August 18 to celebrate Snow Leopard Day at the Zoo! Lots of crafts, entertainment and information on how you can help snow leopards.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tapir makes public debut!



Our little female tapir calf, born July 3, made her unofficial public debut with her mother today in the Tropical Asia exhibit. Now weighing in at a hefty 61 pounds, the baby stuck close to her mom, but soon ventured up to the glass viewing area to the delight of zoo visitors (and staff, too!).


With the nicer weather, we hope to have her out daily (weather permitting, of course). Tomorrow she will hopefully be on public view with her mom beginning around noon.

You'll notice the spots and stripes on her--very different from the black with white "belt" on the adults. This is used as camouflage---much like the spots on a deer fawn---until they start to fade and turn black and white similar to their parents. Malayan tapirs are endangered in their range due to hunting and habitat loss.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A flurry of wings


Butterflies & Blooms is one of the zoo's most popular exhibits. Because the butterflies are native species to the U.S., the exhibit is seasonal, operating in the summer months when these species would normally be breeding and flying. With several dozen species, from the striped zebra longwings to even an occasional dramatic-looking luna moth, the B&B tent is a nice respite from walking around the zoo's 92 acres!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Turtles hit the ponds!


The release of 50 western pond turtles went well into a protected pond in Pierce County. Due to our headstarting program, their population has grown from a low of around 150 to more than 1,500! Here, zoo staff member Walter English paints a tracking number on one of the juvenile turtles shells. Thanks for the zoo's curator of reptiles, Dana Payne, for sending this photo.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pond turtles get released into the wild


Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 17, the zoo will be releasing endangered western pond turtles (Clemmys marmorata), some with tiny radio transmitters glued to their shells, into the wild in Pierce County. A portion of the group of 50 turtles will be released in Mason County. The 10-month-old turtles were collected from the wild as hatchlings and “head started” at Woodland Park Zoo to improve their chance of survival in the wild. Invasive bull frogs often eat the young hatchlings, so the headstarting provides a way for the young turtles to grow to a size that is too large for the frogs to consume. The turtles currently weigh about 2 ounces.


Woodland Park Zoo, along with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon Zoo have collaborated for more than a decade, raising turtles and letting them loose in protected ponds in Washington. From an all-time low of only around 100 turtles left in the state, this headstarting has swelled their population to more than 1,200!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hadiah in the big world


Today was the perfect day for Hadiah to make her first forays out into the outdoor tiger exhibit. She rambunctiously played, sniffed and rolled around in the bushes while visitors looked on. Only around 400 Sumatran tigers still exist in the wild; each birth is cause for celebration to help keep genetically viable populations intact. How can you help tigers? Watch what you buy (for example, plam oil, which is in thousands of products, comes primarily from Indonesia where forests are being destroyed to plant palm oil plantations, so look for foods and products that do not contain it); don't buy exotic wood products that aren't from certified sustainable forestry practices; donate to organizations helping to conserve tigers and their habitat.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hadiah enjoys the sun


Hadiah, our 7-month-old Sumatran tiger, will make her outdoor debut on Wednesday, July 11. She and her mother, Jo Jo, will romp and play (and probably do a lot of sleeping in our recent heatwave!). She will be out daily from around 11:00 a.m. to around 2:00 p.m.

Come and visit them!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

First exam


On July 4, the new tapir calf received her first neo-natal exam by associate veterinarian, Dr. John Ochensreiter. A quick weigh-in, a blood sample and some other tests and she's checks out well. Neo-natal exams are important in order to make sure that all the vital signs are normal and that the calf's overall health is good. Exams happen very quickly so that the calf can be returned to her mother. But mom received snacks while the baby was being looked over so she didn't even miss her!

Stripes for the 4th!



After eagerly being anticipated for weeks, we were pleased when our female Malayan tapir, Kelang, gave birth to a healthy calf on July 3 at around 7:20 p.m. The 26-pound, female Malayan tapir calf marks the fourth birth for the 12-year-old parents. Striped and looking not unlike a four-legged watermelon, Malaysian tapirs only number somewhere between 900-3,000 in the wild.

The calf will be off-view for awhile while the mother bonds with her, but a "tapir cam" is at the exhibit where zoo visitors can see them inside their indoor barn.
Tapir gestation is approximately 13 months and an average birth weight is 22 pounds. A newborn tapir has a reddish-brown coat dappled with white and cream-colored spots and stripes. The unique coat pattern helps provide excellent camouflage in bamboo or reed jungles. The striped pattern begins fading after a few months and adult coloration appears by 5-8 months old.

Tapirs are among the most primitive large mammals in the world, changing little in appearance in the past 15 million years. At first glance this prehistoric-looking animal looks like a massive pig with a long snout. However, its closest relatives are the horse and rhinoceros. The average weight for adult Malayan tapirs is 750 pounds, although they can weigh up to 900 pounds. The front half of an adult’s body and its hind legs are black and the rear half above the legs is white.