Friday, October 31, 2008

Video: Ocelots at 5 weeks

Watch the 5-week-old ocelots during their weekly exam with their zookeepers:


As you can imagine, these early weeks are critical to the ocelots’ growth, so they remain quietly and safely off view with their mother. But thanks to the great work of our keepers, vets, and staff photographer, you get to watch the kittens grow behind-the-scenes as we post more photos, videos and stories.

Want to be the first to see new videos? Subscribe to our popular YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/woodlandparkzoo.

Improving human-elephant relations

Posted by: Jona Jacobson, Conservation Department

In the wild, human-elephant conflict has become one of the major challenges in elephant conservation, as loss of habitat and fragmentation forces elephants and humans into competition for the same, limited space and resources.

To combat human-elephant conflict, a number of conservation programs have sprung up in Asia and Africa to educate communities about these animals and help shift perspectives on their interactions.

One such program is the Biodiversity & Elephant Conservation Trust, which conducts—with support from Woodland Park Zoo—the Schools Awareness Program in rural schools in Sri Lanka, where human-elephant conflict is an ongoing threat to elephant welfare. The program has been ongoing for the last seven years at the rate of around 150 schools per year, seeking to reach as many school children as possible.

The objective is to create an awareness of the elephant and its conservation among the children, by way of lectures with slides and video, Q&A sessions and discussions. At the end of each session, the Schools Awareness Program donates a set of books to the school library. In 2007, funds given by WPZ helped carry out 40 sessions, reaching 4,784 students and 417 teachers. Through these sessions, the Schools Awareness Program has given children a clear understanding of the elephants and their habits and behaviors. With this knowledge will hopefully come a shift in attitude toward the elephants; perhaps even to the extent that some of the students will play a proactive role in elephant conservation in the future.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ocelot snapshot

Here's the latest snapshot of the two ocelot kittens--now 5 weeks old--taken Tuesday at their weekly weigh-in.


The ocelots are doing well behind-the-scenes with their mother. Their father is out on exhibit now in the Tropical Rain Forest building.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Little climber















Uzumma, who turned one year old this October, has been boldly venturing away from her mother and exploring the new trees recently installed in the gorilla exhibit.

Many of us have spotted her playing around the base of the trees before, but this weekend, one of our photographers caught Uzumma testing her climbing skills on the 30 ft tall trees.

Word is she made it about half way up several times!

Have you seen her go higher? Let us know!

Photos by Dennis Dow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Post-Pumpkin Prowl

Last weekend's Pumpkin Prowl was a howling success with three nights of spooky fun (and some pretty great treats, too!).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Smashing pumpkins

Today TV camera crews and some lucky guests got a sneak peek at what this weekend's annual Pumpkin Bash has in store for visitors.


The zoo's three hippos were treated to some pumpkin bobbing. The hippos hilariously lined up with their mouths gaped wide open, waiting patiently for the keepers to toss the pumpkins right in!

But our keepers wanted the hippos to work for their snack, so the huge pumpkins were tossed into the pool and the hippos swam after them, chasing them around like they were bobbing for apples!


Watch them in action--and turn up the sound for full, spooky Halloween effect!





You can catch the hippos plus many, many more animals smashing, stomping, and chomping on pumpkins at Pumpkin Bash this Sat. and Sun., Oct. 25 & 26, 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.



Photos by Tianna Klineburger. Video by Ryan Hawk.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin time!

Halloween is almost here and Woodland Park Zoo is getting in on the action early with this weekend’s Pumpkin Prowl event, Oct. 24-26.

Pumpkin Prowl is three nights of ghoulishly good times with trick or treating for kids, live entertainment and Zoomazium transformed into Boomazium!

We’re getting ready now for the event, unloading hay bales, carving HUNDREDS of pumpkins, and decorating the zoo!

Want in on the fun? Tickets are on sale now at zoo gates, or buy them at any Bartell Drugs location and save $2.

If you just can't get enough of Halloween, check out these other great happenings:

Pumpkin Bash at Woodland Park Zoo – Oct. 25-26, 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Watch the zoo’s animals smash, chomp, and stomp on pumpkins!


Mysteries of Ancient Egypt at Burke Museum – Oct. 26, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Meet Nellie, Seattle’s only Egyptian mummy, making a rare appearance out from behind the scenes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Galago twins born!

We are celebrating the birth of twin galagos, an African primate also known as a “bushbaby.” The galagos were born October 11. Pictured here, the galagos received their first vet check-up on Fri., Oct. 17. All is well!

The large eyes on this small creature are an adaptation to their nocturnal lifestyle in their native African habitats.

The galagos are on view in the Night House exhibit, but the babies are staying close to their mother near their nest box, so it may be difficult to spot them in the dark!

In the meantime, get your fix of images from behind the scenes at that first vet exam here:

Photos by Ryan Hawk.


Friday, October 17, 2008

New western pond turtle hatchlings pop out of their shells!

Some tiny new pond turtles hatched today, just the start of their journey being raised here at the zoo until large enough for release back into the wild. Welcome, little turtles! View the slideshow of their "break-through"!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Emerald City Search is back!


The Search is on, Seattle!

The UW and The Seattle Times are back with a 3rd year of the popular Emerald City Search. This year, the search is sponsored by Woodland Park Zoo with a special Year of the Frog theme, to help promote our amphibian awareness campaign.

The first clue to help you find the hidden Emerald City Search medallion was revealed in The Seattle Times today, and an additional clue will be printed each day for 10 consecutive days.

The clues, written by UW experts, are tricky, so consider working with a friend to solve the riddles and find the location of the medallion. First contestant to find a medallion hidden somewhere in the city wins $2,500 in cash and prizes.

Official rules here.

Good luck!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Calaya's treetop adventure

Here's video of six-year-old western lowland gorilla Calaya mastering the new upright trees and vines recently installed in the gorilla exhibit. This footage was taken at the very first moment Calaya encountered the new structures, and as you can see, she wasted no time in checking them out!



The new artificial trees and vines installed in the exhibit will stand up to the rough and tumble of playful (and heavy!) gorillas for years to come.

Come check them out!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ocelot kits doing well


The ocelot kittens got their first neonatal exam and were given a clean bill of health by their vets!

Looks like both kittens are female. And it's official--they are as cute as can be. Case in point:


You can even watch the behind-the-scenes footage of their first exam:



Newborn ocelots are blind at birth and are helpless for several weeks, relying solely on their mother for care and nutrition. Staff continue to have minimal physical contact and monitor the mother and kittens in the birthing den via a web cam only.
We hope to have them out on exhibit in 6-8 weeks. Until then, stay tuned for more video and photos!
Photos by Ryan Hawk.

Monday, October 6, 2008

High in the air with the greatest of ease!

Calaya took to the trees last week as our gorillas were treated to their newly "decorated" exhibit. Two custom-made metal and concrete trees were the main reason for the exhibit makeover. Created by our talented Exhibits crew, the trees--one weighing more than one ton--were installed both for safety and durability. As you can imagine, a 300-pound gorilla jumping on a rotting tree branch can have consequences, so these realistic trees were made to allay any fears of gorillas raining from the trees!

Part of the funding for this project came from 3-year-old Lucas Engles-Klann, who, with the assistance of his mom, held a vegetarian meal fundraiser and brought in $1,200 for our gorillas. We were fortunate to have Lucas here when the gorillas first were let into the newly renovated exhibited. Despite his shyness, Lucas seemed to enjoy the fruits of his generosity almost as much as Calaya enjoyed swinging in her new playground! (Photo by Tianna Klineburger)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ocelot kittens born

For the first time in 15 years, we are celebrating the birth of endangered ocelots! Two kittens were born last week. They are the first offspring of mother Bella, 7 years old, and father Brazil, 12 years old. The gender of the kittens is unknown at this time.

To minimize disturbance, staff have minimal physical contact with the new family and are monitoring the mother and kittens in the birthing den via an internal web cam only (from which these screenshots were taken). Things are going well with this first-time mother. She is providing round-the-clock care and demonstrating excellent maternal skills. The kittens are active and nursing regularly.

It’s critical at this time to give the mother and kittens their time and space to bond and develop healthily, so the kittens will not be on public view for at least six to eight weeks. We hope to be able to update soon with photos and/or video.

You can still catch the father, Brazil, on view in the award-winning Tropical Rain Forest exhibit.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Conservation gone batty

Posted by: Jona Jacobson, Woodland Park Zoo Conservation Department

Did you know in the 1970s, only 75 Rodrigues fruit bats were left on the island of Rodrigues, a district of Mauritius? But thanks to concerted conservation efforts, those numbers are now approximately 5,500. This number can drop, however, by as much as 50% during a major cyclone, which occurs every 5 to 6 years.


The Rodrigues Environmental Educator Project (REEP) was formed in 1998, and for the first two years the emphasis was on the bats themselves. Starting in 2000, REEP expanded their focus to include environmental issues and school programs. REEP visits 13 schools about every two weeks to conduct lessons with 5th and 6th grade children. The lessons are interactive and hands-on to bolster the teachers' standard curriculum. REEP teaches the scientific, English and Creole names for plants and animals, and takes students out on field trips: 1 to 2 trips per student, per year, during which time the students visit the nursery and the reserves, where they help plant the species started in the nursery. They also learn field journaling. Future goals include: creating endemic gardens at each of the school sites, conducting teacher workshops, expanding to secondary schools and creating a Fruit Bat Day.

You can see the Rodrigues fruit bat at Woodland Park Zoo in the Night Exhibit. Look for the nocturnal megabats climbing around or hanging upside down in the darkness.

Photos:
Left: REEP school outing in Grande Montagne nature reserve. Photo by Kimberly Lengel.
Right: Rodriguez fruit bat in Night Exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Milan Trykar.

Gorilla exhibit construction

UPDATE:

Our exhibit crew is putting the finishing touches on the new upright trees recently installed in silverback Vip’s gorilla group. They are adding deadfall and hanging vines and hammocks to make the trees more accessible and usable for the gorillas. Then the horticulture team will bring in soil and finish planting the area.

We hope to have the gorillas back out and exploring these exciting new environmental enrichment items within the next few days.

If you catch any photos of the gorillas checking out the new trees, please share! You can add them to our flickr slideshow by uploading them to flickr.com and tagging them with the phrase “woodlandparkzoo” or you can email them to us at webkeeper@zoo.org.
Photo by Ryan Hawk.