Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New baby! Southern pudu born

Few people have heard of this diminutive deer species hailing from South America, but once you've seen these adorable deer, you won't forget them! Southern pudu inhabit dense, temperate forests containing thick bamboo understories from sea level to 5,500 feet (1,676 m). Adult pudu weigh around 14-30 pounds and stand 14-18 inches high. The babies weigh only about 1-1.5 pounds at birth and about 8 inches tall!

This weekend we were delighted with the birth of this endangered species here at the zoo. The pudus are exhibited adjacent to our brand new Chilean flamingo exhibit, a bird species that share their habitat in the wild.

For more information about this species, which is disappearing in the wild due to illegal logging, habitat loss and hunting, visit our Southern Pudu Fact Sheet.

View a short video of these little deer below (note this video does not have sound):

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Opening day photos

With beautiful weather and beautiful birds, Saturday's flamingo exhibit opening day brought in over 10,000 visitors!



Thanks to everyone who came out to welcome the flamingos to their new home.

Photos by Dennis Dow, Ryan Hawk, and Adria Saracino.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Operation Flamingo Flock

Are you seeing pink? Operation Flamingo Flock is underway! Look for hundreds of pink plastic flamingos flocking together at your favorite parks and shops throughout Seattle. These plastic ambassadors are out there to brighten your day and to brighten the way for the real flamingos’ premiere at their new exhibit, opening this Saturday, May 24.

Flock Alert: if you spot a flock somewhere in Seattle, post a comment to let our readers know where!

As for the real birds, they are settling into the exhibit well as we gear up for Saturday’s opening event with live music, flamingo-themed giveaways, cupcakes, a keeper talk and more.

Photo by Dale Unruh.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The zoo's aflutter

Flamingos are getting all the attention these days, but there’s another exhibit opening this weekend that you don’t want to miss…

The always popular Butterflies and Blooms exhibit re-opens for the summer season on Fri., May 23 (now free with zoo admission). You’ll be surrounded by nearly 1000 free-flying butterflies representing 15 North American species. If you’re lucky, you may even get one to land on you. Here’s a tip: butterflies are attracted to bright colors!

Zebra longwing butterfly, photo by Dennis Conner.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Feed a giraffe!

Last summer, the zoo introduced a new up-close animal experience for visitors---Giraffe Feeding! More than 16,000 people took advantage of this special encounter, feeding the giraffes leafy browse from an elevated platform.

We're again offering this unique experience, a favorite for both kids and adults to be close to these amazing giants of the African savanna. Participants get to see the giraffes' purplish-black nearly two-foot long tongues as they wrap around a branch to strip off their favorite leaves and witness their luxurious eyelashes. Keepers are on-hand to help out and reveal the fascinating details about giraffe natural history and how they are cared for here. So ask lots of questions!

Giraffe feedings will be held twice daily until September 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $5.00 per person; free for kids 2 years and under.
Photo by Ryan Hawk

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Flamingos on their way

Q: What's the fastest way to move a flock of flamingos from one place to another?

A: Carry them!

The 27 members of the zoo’s flock of Chilean flamingos were carried one by one to their new exhibit today. They won’t make their public premiere until Memorial Day weekend, but we’ve moved them in a bit early to let them get acquainted with their (still off-view) new home.

After settling in their holding area for a few hours, the birds paraded into their new exhibit and have begun to explore their surroundings. The keepers are watching the birds closely to see how they adjust to the new space -- several birds have already been observed drinking from the pool.

Want to see them for yourselves? Don't miss the opening day celebration on Sat., May 24, filled with South American music, flamingo programs and giveaways, stilt walkers and pink cupcakes from Cupcake Royale. See you there!

Photos by Melissa Wheeler.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

WPZ and PAWS work together for wild black bear

A wild, male, juvenile black bear that was captured in an area around Renton by the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife had suffered a dislocated hip and a fractured femur and the Progressive Animals Welfare Society based in Lynnwood (otherwise known as PAWS) was asked to help care for the bear's injuries. With help from the zoo's Animal Health team, the PAWS veterinarians and animal health care members, and surgeons from Seattle's Animal Surgical Clinic, a full exam was performed and surgery to repair the damaged leg.

Dr. John Huckabee with PAWS reports that the surgery was successful and the bear is now on the mend and recovering his mobility in his cast. PAWS has a long-time, and very successful, wildlife rehabilitation program and the zoo was delighted to be able to help provide professional support and facilities for the procedure. PAWS and the zoo have collaborated on several projects in the past, including the state laws banning private ownership of potentially dangerous exotic animals and the removal of Ivan the gorilla from a Tacoma shopping mall to Zoo Atlanta.

After time to mend, the bear will be examined to ensure that he can safely be released back to his place in the wild---far from people! This is also a prime example of the increasing conflict that is occuring between people and wildlife as we encroach further and further into their territory. Washington state has designated May 12-18 as Bear Awareness Week. Our forests and coastlines harbor one of the largest populations of black bears in the United States. Washington is one of only five lower 48 states that is still wild enough to harbor a small number of grizzly bears, a federally protected threatened species, both in the North Cascades and Selkirk Mountains. It is in the public interest to understand the ecology, behavior, and conservation of bears.

There is an ongoing need for widespread education and outreach concerning their welfare to enable peaceful coexistence with people who live or spend time in bear country. The zoo proudly partners with the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project in helping to protect and conserve the grizzly bears in our region. Visit GBOP's website for details about local events for Bear Awareness.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A gift your mom will go APE over!

Towan, the 40-year-old orangutan at the zoo, has done it again. One of his preferred pastimes is the creation of beautiful (at least to our eyes and who knows, maybe his, too!) abstract artworks. Just in time for Mother's Day, he's painted two colorful masterpieces. We've put the paintings on Ebay in order to help raise funds for the 2009 International Congress of Zoo Keepers (ICZK) conference, to be held here in September 2009. ICZK joins keepers from around the globe in order to meet, network and learn valuable new insights into their profession and to help them share new techniques in order to care for the animals in their institutions in innovative new ways.
The bidding is on now until May 8, so bid early...and often!
Click here to read more about the ICZK and make your bid.

Year of the Frog!

Who doesn't love a frog? From Kermit to the to aural symphony provided each spring by peepers and chorus frogs, frogs play an important role in the environment.
In honor of frogs and our other amphibian friends, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the accrediting body for more than 210 zoos and aquariums around the U.S., has declared 2008 the Year of the Frog. Globally, amphibians are in decline due to habitat loss, pollution and the deadly effects of the chytrid fungus, a fungus that kills the majority of animals it infects. Local frog populations are now beginning to see the effects of chytrid. Woodland Park Zoo, in association with the Alliance of Zoos & Aquariums, a Northwest regional consortium of zoos and aquariums, and the Washington Fish & Wildlife Department, are banding together to help in a recovery project for the Oregon spotted frog, a native species which has declined significantly in 78 percent of its historic range from southern B.C. to northern California.

Learn more about the global amphibian crisis and our part in the Oregon spotted frog recovery project by visiting our Year of the Frog website. (Pacific chorus frog photo by Katie Remine)