Monday, June 30, 2008

Seattle Pride Parade

This Sunday, more than a dozen zoo staff, volunteers, Zoo Corps teen interns and friends participated for the first time in Seattle's Pride Parade. Despite the 90 degree temperatures, everyone was decked out in their finest pink duds to promote the zoo's new Chilean flamingo exhibit. We received an overwhelming response from parade-goers with nearly a dozen people asking if they could march along with us! Our contingent grew to nearly 50 people as we made our way through an estimated crowd of 400,000 people to Seattle Center. We want to express our appreciation for everyone who turned out for the parade, both those who marched and those who cheered us on. Hopefully we'll return next year with a penguin-themed group to celebrate Pride and our new Humboldt penguin exhibit!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Red, White...and Zoo! June 28 and 29

Even the animals at the zoo are getting into the act, including our Ossabaw island hogs making "pigs" of themselves, and celebrating the upcoming Fourth of July with picnic-themed treats. Watermelons, star-shaped popsicles, corn on the cob and more will be the featured enrichment items this Saturday and Sunday. Novel, but healthy, items will be given to a variety of the animals to chop, nosh and otherwise enjoy.

Visit our Red, White and Zoo page for a complete schedule. (Photo by Ryan Hawk)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Silver lining in the gray

Don't let the gray skies get you down. Overcast skies can mean great lighting for animal portraits!

Fancy yourself an animal photographer? Here are some helpful tips from Woodland Park Zoo's own staff photographer Ryan Hawk to make your photos really pop.

Tip 1:
Go gray. Clouds act like giant softboxes, providing bright, diffused light. Animals with light faces and/or dark fur, like Uzumma the gorilla above, photograph best under overcast skies.

Tip 2:
Early is best. Animals like the lion above explore their exhibits for food in the morning and many are most active at that time of day.

Tip 3:

Get eye level. Shoot from the same level as the eyes of the animal for more intimate portraits, like the one of Hadiah the tiger above.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lion love match?

Single 340 pound South African lioness seeks male companion. Must love napping, have interest in mating. Big mane a plus.



The two new lions on the Savanna block met for the first time this week and zoo staff are hoping for the sparks to fly.

Nine-year-old male krugeri lion Hubert, from Knoxville Zoo, and nine-year-old female krugeri lioness Kalisa, from Virginia Zoo, have up until now been rotating their time since joining the Woodland Park Zoo's award-winning African Savanna exhibit.

But for the first time ever, the zookeepers allowed the lions to meet each other in their exhibit this week, now that they are comfortably adjusting to their new home. Watch them interact here:



The meeting went well, if a bit cautious at first. They checked each other out, even flirted a little. Kalisa has been seen rolling around on her back, “tempting” Hubert. They have also been roaring at each other, the ultimate cat-call.

Keepers will continue to slowly introduce the lions to each other, increasing the time they spend together daily, until the felines are comfortable. With Kalisa in estrus, we hope the two will find enough interest in each other to consider breeding. For now, we’ll just watch and see how the flirtation develops.

Photos by Dale Unruh, Dennis Dow and Ryan Hawk.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Grizzly wrestling

It's not all fun and games at Woodland Park Zoo. Sometimes there's drama!

Behold the clash of the grizzly titans... (turn the sound up for maximum effect)



The snow was purposefully added into the exhibit as enrichment for the bears. Introducing novel objects and materials (which can be anything from smells to food and even toys) or making a change to their habitat kicks the bears’ natural instincts into high gear and keeps them mentally and physically stimulated.

What other kinds of enrichment for the animals have you noticed around the zoo?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Unbelievable wild snow leopard photos


In this month's National Geographic Magazine, there is a gorgeous spread of the most intimate portraits of wild snow leopards ever seen. These elusive animals are hard to spot and even harder to get close to, so seasoned wildlife photographer Steve Winter had to set up a series of camera traps that snapped photos whenever an animal appeared.

You can meet the photographer at Woodland Park Zoo this Thursday, June 5, at 7:00 p.m. Come hear about his adventures tracking snow leopards in the daunting Himalayas and see a presentation of these stunning snow leopard photos, many of which were not included in the National Geographic article. Tickets are $10 adults; $5 for children (under 3 free). This event is hosted by Seattle-based Snow Leopard Trust and co-sponsored by Woodland Park Zoo.