Zoo to host after-work mixer, ‘Hoot for the Hood’

Who said the zoo is just for kids? Woodland Park Zoo is taking advantage of its prime location amongst some of the hippest neighborhoods in town and is hosting an after-work “mix and mingle” for neighbors to meet one another, eat ice cream, and check out the zoo.

“Woodland Park Zoo is nestled between some of the hippest and most active neighborhoods in Seattle, and the zoo is excited to pay tribute to its supportive neighboring communities,” the organizers write.

The zoo will open up the Molbak’s Butterfly Garden and Microsoft Pollinator Patio exhibits for the mixer, to be held on Friday, June 23 from 6:30 to 8pm. To RSVP, register at zoo.org/neighbors. Evening parking for the event is free. For more info call  206-548-2500.

Woodland Park Zoo names baby penguin

Woodland Park Zoo celebrated its 60th Humboldt penguin chick birth since 2010 and the newest little resident finally has a name.

The public had the choice between three Spanish possibilities, Diamante (diamond), Sesenta (which means 60) and Amor (love). After much decision making the chosen name has been revealed as Diamante.

At the moment, little Diamante is gaining weight by eating a good amount of herring and trout and is getting plenty of sleep. Check out the video of Diamante below:

Humboldt penguins are native to the coast of Peru and Chile. Woodland Park Zoo confirmed that it has one of the most successful and productive Humboldt breeding programs in the country.

To learn more about Humboldt penguins click here.

Otter pups receive first veterinary exam at WPZ

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Four Asian small-clawed otters born at Woodland Park Zoo received their first veterinary examination today. The zoo’s animal health team assessed their overall health, measured and weighed the pups, and administered vaccinations.

The wellness exam is a part of Woodland Park Zoo’s exemplary animal care program. The exam revealed the pups to be three males and one female. They currently weigh between 0.6 to 0.7 kilograms (1.3 to 1.5 pounds).

Dr. Darin Collins, Woodland Park Zoo’s director of animal health, gave the pups a clean bill of health. “We’re pleased to report all four pups are robust and healthy. They have fully round bellies and are within normal growth range at this age,” said Collins. “All pups have healthy appetites, are gaining increased mobility and are socializing with their family members, all good signs they’re thriving.”

The pups were born December 9 at Woodland Park Zoo to 7-year-old mother Teratai (pronounced tear-a-tie) and 11-year-old father Guntur (pronounced goon-toor). The birth represents the third litter for the parents.

The new pups currently live off view in a maternity den with their parents and three older sisters. Raising otter pups is a family affair—the whole family plays a role in raising the pups. Mom nurses the newborns, and dad and older siblings provide supportive care. Occasionally, the adults go outdoors for short periods in the public exhibit but primarily spend their time indoors to focus on caring for the pups.

Pat Owen, a collection manager at Woodland Park Zoo, said, “The pups are exploring their surroundings, pouncing and chewing—the first signs of playing. They’re very similar to puppies at this age. They mostly eat and sleep but will start running and chasing each other fairly soon.”

The parents and sisters will soon teach the pups how to swim in the safety of a shallow tub. After they master the tub, the pups will be given access to the outdoor exhibit where they will learn how to dive a few inches deep in the large pool, with their family keeping a close watch. “The pups will make their debut to zoo-goers when we’re confident they can swim and safely navigate the outdoor exhibit. This could potentially happen by early March,” said Owen.

Otter fans interested in receiving updates on the pups, other animal and conservation news, upcoming events and special offers, can sign up for MyZooNews at http://zoo.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=595a55739611c1b9dcbe0024b&id=6076528c4b&e=9e8b2e11ef.

Zoo winter hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Click here to find out more information.

Photo courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo.

SFD officers respond to fire at Woodland Park Zoo

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SFD Firefighters were dispatched to respond to a fire at Woodland Park Zoo at approximately 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, December 15.

Firefighters arrived to find flames coming from the Night Exhibit building, where Zoo staff had evacuated guests and had a plan to evacuate the animals.

The first arriving SFD units laid hose lines to the interior of the exhibit and to the main floor, quickly extinguishing the fire where it had initiated. Firefighters were also able to successfully contain and extinguish all extended flames in the attic by 4:30 p.m.

The Seattle Fire Department worked closely with Zoo employees to evacuate animals and coordinate a team that moved live animals during the process. Upon extinguishing the fire, Firefighters checked for hot spots and were on the scene until 7:30 a.m. on Friday, December 16, to monitor the area.

According to a report by our news partners at The Seattle Times, six small turtles are believed to be dead after the fire where they were hibernating for winter.

According to the zoo, the turtles were in the basement of The Night Exhibit, which formerly housed nocturnal animals, when the fire started around 3:15 p.m. No other animals are known to be hurt. Two firefighters were temporarily hospitalized for minor injuries. Zoo staff believe the turtles died but have been unable to get inside the building to confirm.

“Any loss of life is hard, but this loss is especially heartbreaking given the tireless work of our staff to evacuate all of the animals they could reach,” Woodland Park Zoo staff wrote in a blog post.

The turtles that are believed to have perished include two black-breasted leaf turtles, a male and a female, were 26 years old, according to zoo spokeswoman Gigi Allianic. Of the four Indochinese box turtles, two males were 16 years old; one male was 4 years old and the youngest, of undetermined sex, was 2 years old.

Unfortunately, Woodland Park Zoo staff have been unable to enter the building as of yet to confirm the state of the turtles as the building conditions remain too dangerous.

Two firefighters were injured in the incident, one with minor burns and the other from possible contact with an electrical panel while firefighting. Both were transported to Harborview Medical Center where they were treated and released.

Fire Investigation Unit members arrived to investigate the exhibit building designed to display nocturnal animals. However, due to structural instability and partial collapse, Fire Investigators were unable to determine a specific cause.

The damage of this incident is estimated at $1.5 million dollars.

The cause of the blaze continues to remain unknown.

WildLights now on at Woodland Park Zoo

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It’s that festive time of year when Woodland Park Zoo lights up for the holiday season with its annual WildLights extravaganza. The special event is on now through January 1 from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. nightly.

Over 600,000 energy-efficient LED lights can be seen throughout the zoo recreating wild animals and exotic destinations from across the globe,  including “Northern Lights,” “The Water Hole” and “Jungle Lights.”

There are both indoor and outdoor illuminated displays for guests of all ages to enjoy. Festive snacks will also be available as will the zoo’s decorated Historic Carousel for a festive ride.

While most of the zoo’s residents will be tucked in and fast asleep, the Day Exhibit, a showcase of reptiles and amphibians, and a portion of the Adaptations Building, featuring animals such as sloths, Indian flying foxes and meerkats, will be open for guests.

The zoo’s many birds of prey will also make periodic visits at the Raptor Barn throughout WildLights.

WildLights tickets cost $9.95 for adults (13+), $7.95 for children (3-12) and toddlers (2 and under) are free. Tickets can be purchased online or at zoo gates during regular zoo hours.

Night-of-event tickets will also be for sale at the zoo’s West Entrance, if not sold out.

WildLights ticket does not include admission to the zoo prior to 5:30 p.m. Parking is free. The event will happen rain or shine.

Fecal Fest starts next week at Woodland Park Zoo

It is nearly that special time of year again where locals can get their hands on some of the famous Zoo Doo (a.k.a compost from Woodland Park Zoo) during the much anticipated Fall Fecal Fest.

This year the zoo is celebrating 31 years of offering, as they put it, “the richest, most prized compost in the Pacific Northwest.”

In case you weren’t aware, Zoo Doo is composed of species feces contributed by the zoo’s non-primate herbivores such as hippos, giraffes, mountain goats, tapirs and more, and is perfect to grow veggies and annuals.

Locals can now pick up the prized doo in 5, 32 and 50 gallon amounts with a maximum of 100 gallons per recipient. Unfortunately, Woodland Park Zoo reports that truck loads are not available this fall.

Bedspread, however, (the zoo’s premium composted mulch) will be available by the truck load. Bedspread is a combination of Zoo Doo, sawdust, and large amounts of wood chips and is used to cushion perennial beds and woody landscapes including rose beds, shrubs and pathways.

The annual spring and fall Fecal Fests always attract local gardeners to enter a bid to purchase the exotic, highly-desired Zoo Doo and Bedspread that Dr. Doo, also known as the “Prince of Poo,” the “GM of BM” or the “Grand Poopah,” has been piling all winter.

Dr. Doo’s private reserve of Worm Doo, usually reserved for the zoo’s greenhouse, will also be sold this spring. Worm Doo is worm castings made from Woodland Park Zoo’s Zoo Doo compost and zoo coffee grounds.

According to Woodland Park Zoo, it is an exceptional rich soil and microbial diverse soil amendment recommended for seedlings, potted plants or in the garden. It’s been pooped once by exotic herbivores and pooped again by compost loving worms.

Worm Doo will be sold in pint sized containers at the ZooStores for $10 starting August 22 with limited supply.

How do you get your hands on some Zoo Doo you may ask? Locals must enter the online lottery for their chance to purchase the prized doo. Entries will be accepted from August 22 through September 14.

Entries will be selected randomly for as many entrants possible, and only selected entries will be contacted for pick up between September 24 – October 15. Phone and mail orders are not accepted. Click here to check out prices for the different types/amounts.

Zoo opens new Butterfly exhibit

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The Woodland Park Zoo team is excited to announce the opening of the new Molbak’s Butterfly Garden exhibit.

Inside the new exhibit, Zoo goers have the chance to take a walk through the Pacific Northwest’s gardens and engage with native North American butterflies in the immersive Butterfly Garden.

The exhibit is an arching tent structure that encloses a landscape of approximately 3,000 square feet. Inside the exhibit features nearly 500 free-flying butterflies representing at least 15 species native to North America.

Attendees can learn about the biology, behavior and threats facing these winged beauties, and be inspired to take local and global conservation action for butterflies and other pollinators during an immersive journey through the varying habitats where these North American species are found.

Molbak’s Butterfly Garden is located inside the zoo next to Zoomazium and will be open from 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.through Sunday, October 2.

Photo courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo.

Woodland Park Zoo reveals name of baby gorilla

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Woodland Park Zoo’s baby gorilla has been named by a member of the public after nearly 3,500 locals weighed in to name her.

The little one was named Yola, which means firefly in the African language, Hausa.

Yola, who was born last November, was named by Bruce Erhardt of Orting, Washington. Erhardt has taken home a bunch of fantastic prizes for his naming efforts including a one-year annual Woodland Park Zoo membership; one ZooParent gorilla adoption; one opportunity to join a gorilla staff member for a private meet and greet for up to five people at the public viewpoint of the gorilla exhibit once the baby is on view; and one framed photograph of the newly-named gorilla infant.

Woodland Park Zoo held a naming contest where community members submitted female names from the African languages of Hausa, Yoruba or Ibo.

“We chose Yola because this infant has been a spark that has solidified the bonds within her mom’s group,” said Hugh Bailey, lead gorilla keeper at Woodland Park Zoo. “Also, as the only grandchild of Congo (deceased), she keeps the ‘fire’ of his lineage alive.”

Yola is the offspring of 20-year-old mom Nadiri and 37-year-old dad Vip, who has sired six other offspring with three different females at the zoo. He currently lives at the zoo in another group with two females.

The other gorillas currently living at Woodland Park Zoo are: females Amanda, 46; Jumoke, 30; Akenji, 14; Uzumma, 8; and males Pete, 48, and Leonel, 38.

Welcome baby Yola!

Photo courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo.