Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Zoo wins elephant conservation award

Woodland Park Zoo's presitigious education award from AZA is in good company--AZA also awarded the zoo and its partners "Significant Achievement in International Conservation" for our support of the Tarangire Elephant Project.

The Tarangire Elephant Project is one of 35 conservation programs supported by Woodland Park Zoo in over 40 countries. For 15 years, the Tarangire Elephant Project has been studying and protecting the elephants in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park and the surrounding area—as well as other iconic wildlife there including zebra, wildebeest and buffalo.

Having documented a gradual increase in the target elephant population over the years (linked to a decline in the massive ivory poaching of the 1970s and 1980s), other threats now loom including intense competition and conflict with a burgeoning human population. However, in an exemplary, long-term conservation partnership of zoos, governmental and non-governmental actors, and local communities, the Tarangire Elephant Project uses sound science, heartfelt appreciation of this unique ecosystem, and ongoing capacity-building to lead a model conservation program.

When you support Woodland Park Zoo, you in turn help us support many wonderful conservation programs like the Tarangire Elephant Project out in the field!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Look up in the sky

At the zoo today you may have seen this type of crane:


And also this type of crane:

This 250-ton crane using a 160-foot boom was on hand today to lift three 30-foot tall trees into the gorilla exhibit for silverback Vip’s group. You might not guess it, but gorillas are adept climbers, often building nests in trees in the wild. And though you’ll find lots of other trees and vegetation already in the gorilla exhibit, these trees are a bit different—they are made of steel pipes with reinforced concrete. Skillfully built, painted and installed by our talented exhibits crew, the new trees will serve as safe climbing structures for the gorillas’ enrichment, and they’ll resist rot and damage for years to come.

Check out the trees’ creation and installation:


Pete’s group in the adjacent gorilla exhibit will likely be back out this week, but Vip’s group will remain off view while the installation crew puts the finishing touches on the tree installation.

We’ll report back on how the gorillas take to the new structures soon!

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's the 10th annual Bug Blast!

Hey zoo members! Our partners over at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture are offering you a special 2-for-1 rate for Burke admission on September 28 for their 10th annual Bug Blast event! Just be sure to show your zoo membership card at the Burke admissions desk for the discount.

Learn yummy bug facts from “The Bug Chef,” David George Gordon, at Bug Blast. An author and chef, Gordon will be sharing facts about bug-eating cultures from around the world and demonstrating recipes from his Eat a Bug Cookbook. Yum!

Lots of hands-on activities for all ages and fantastic bug collections for you to see up close. For more details on the event, visit the Burke Museum's Bug Blast site.

If you know a kid who’s buzzing for more bugs, be sure to check out Woodland Park Zoo’s Bug Club for kids ages 5-12.
Photo: The Bug Chef, photo by Barbara Kinney.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Zoo wins national award for Maasai Journey

Every year, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums holds its national convention in order to allow zoo professionals to network, learn from one another and hold award ceremonies for the best exhibits and educational programs created during the previous year. This year's convention, held in Milwaukee, is no exception and we were pleased to just be awarded top honors for our Cultural Interpreter Program for last year's Maasai Journey. This program brought four Maasai gentlemen from Kenya to teach zoo visitors about their lives, and how they intertwine with African wildlife, on the savannas of Kenya. Thousands of people took part in their various programs, learning about the importance of water, thrilling to stories of their interactions with giraffes, zebra, and dozens of other wildlife species. We can't thank these four men enough for their contributions to this program: Kakuta Ole Hamisi, Sokoine Ntalamia, Kobole Partisan Ole Parsala, and Sammy Kiako Sipoi. They were able to bring to life the power, beauty and importance of the land, animals and people of the East African savanna for our visitors like no one else could! (Sokoine and Kobole teach kids about hippos with a real hippo tusk during 2007's Maasai Journey. Photo by Ryan Hawk).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hey, isn't that...?

Maybe you’ve spotted your best jaguar portrait flashing in our blog sidebar, or perhaps a photo of your kids enjoying the historic carousel. Wonder how it got there?

We’re now sharing your zoo photos on our blog! To join in, all you have to do is upload your best zoo photos to flickr.com and tag them with the phrase “woodlandparkzoo.” They’ll be automatically added to our photo slideshow.

Not a flickr user? You can also add your zoo photos to our Facebook fan page!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Crawling to the U.K.


Well, not crawling actually, but 50 of our Partula snails headed off on a British Airways jet to London Zoo on Tuesday. The reason? To be part of a study prior to a planned 2010 release back into their native Tahiti. Partula nodosa, a species of tree snail, have been extinct on their South Pacific island habitat for the last 25 years. But fortunately, several were saved by scientists and have since been raised in captivity. Four U.S. zoos currently breed Partula (St. Louis, Detroit, Akron) and the program is based here at Woodland Park. The international program, based at London and working with the Imperial College, will be examining the 50 snails shipped over to ensure they are healthy and do not contain any pathogens or parasites that may be harmful once they are released.

Evening Magazine covered the momentous occasion with Partula program coordinator Ric Brewer and we hope to see the program air sometime in October or November. London reports the snails arrived safe, sound and slimy.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Primate 101

Orangutans and other animals enjoyed back-to-school themed treats this weekend to help say goodbye to summer and see the kiddies off to school.

Sack lunches, textbooks loaded with surprise treats, and other clever enrichment items were used to not only give our animals a tasty snack, but to also stimulate them with new experiences and to encourage their natural behaviors.



Credit goes to our keepers and volunteers who work so hard to create new and engaging enrichment for the animals. The "textbook" covers the orangutan keepers and volunteers decorated (Primate 101, Sign Language, etc.) delighted visitors but were also a hit with the orangutans, who ripped off the paper to use as a shade from the sun.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Kermit says it's the Year of the Frog

This "green" Public Service Announcement debuted this week on the Disney Channel featuring Kermit the Frog and Selena Gomez:



The Association of Zoos and Aquariums launched 2008 as the Year of the Frog to build awareness for amphibian conservation. Frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibians are in danger. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) predicts that at least one-third of known amphibian species are in danger of disappearing from the earth for good.

What happens to amphibians today may harm other species in the future. But there’s good news: You can help!
  1. Create a frog friendly backyard habitat
  2. Conserve water at home--it's as easy as shortening your showers
  3. Reduce your dependence on fossil fuels
  4. Visit the Year of the Frog website or your local zoo for more tips and ideas

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Get a load of this!

It’s time for the Fall Fecal Fest—your chance to get your hands on our highly coveted Zoo Doo.

Why would you want to do that? Garden enthusiasts know that Zoo Doo, made from the manures of the zoo’s non-primate herbivores, is the richest, most exotic compost in the Pacific Northwest. Also available is Bedspread, a composted mulch that is like Zoo Doo but contains higher amounts of wood chips and sawdust.

Zoo Doo is so popular, we have to hold a lottery to decide who gets it. If you want to enter the lottery, send a postcard—postmarked from September 5 through September 20—to: Zoo Doo, Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th St., Seattle, WA 98103.

Include the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Day/evening phone numbers
  3. Preference: Zoo Doo or Bedspread
  4. Amount of Zoo Doo or Bedspread you’d like to purchase (anything from a garbage bag to a full-size pick-up truck load)
  5. Weekday or weekend preference for pick-up
Pick-up dates begin October 4 through October 19. The lucky winners load the compost, using shovels provided by the zoo.

Only one postcard per person is eligible for the drawing. Phone orders will not be taken.

For more information and prices, call the poop line at 206.625.POOP.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Watch the turtle release

Now you can watch the western pond turtle release from earlier this summer on YouTube. Turn up the sound so you can hear from the biologists and zookeepers behind the program, then see a turtle take its first dip in the waters.



You can catch all of our newest YouTube videos by subscribing to our channel: http://www.youtube.com/woodlandparkzoo.