Woodland Park Zoo

Help Name Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla Baby


This past December, ZooBorns introduced our fans to a lovely female Western Lowland Gorilla that was born November 20, 2015 at Woodland Park Zoo, in Seattle, Washington.

(See the original article: "Woodland Park Zoo's Gorilla Baby Needs Hands-On Care".)

Now, the Zoo is seeking your help in naming its new baby. The winner of their naming contest will receive a variety of great gifts from the Zoo, including a chance to visit the sweet girl up-close!

To enter, participants must choose a female name from the African languages of Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo, and submit an entry form via mail, online at www.zoo.org/babygorilla or by dropping it off at any ballot box located on Woodland Park Zoo grounds between Tuesday, February 16, and Monday, February 29, 2016.

One winner will be selected by a judging panel of Zoo staff to take home the Grand Prize:

One 1-year annual Woodland Park Zoo membership for one family

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 (arranged at a mutually agreeable time)

One framed photograph of the newly-named Gorilla infant

(For official rules and terms of participation or to submit an entry online, visit www.zoo.org/babygorilla.)



4_12301644_10153732087917708_9054078194204293205_nPhoto Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo


The baby Western Lowland Gorilla was born on November 20 to mom Nadiri and dad Vip. “Nadiri is a first-time, inexperienced mom,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Knowing that, we planned for different outcomes while she was pregnant, including the need for human intervention.”

Nadiri gave birth naturally but did not show strong maternal skills initially; as a result, staff immediately stepped in for the safety and welfare of the baby and to allow the new mom to rest. Since her birth, the zoo’s Gorilla and veterinary staff have been providing 24/7 care for the unnamed baby Gorilla, behind the scenes in the Gorillas’ sleeping quarters, in a den next to Nadiri.

Multiple times a day, the mom and baby Gorilla spend time together in the same den. “During recent sessions, the two have lain just inches apart, played and eaten together. The close proximity is a good sign they’re comfortable together and getting to know each other,” said Ramirez.

The baby Gorilla remains off view, where she is growing and thriving. “She’s developing normally; introductions are progressing slowly but steady,” said Ramirez. Currently, there is no time frame for when the baby will be on exhibit.

In the meantime, zoo staff are excited to officially give the baby a name. “As an ambassador for her species, an authentic regional name helps share the story of her counterparts in the wild,” said Ramirez.

Continue reading "Help Name Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla Baby" »

Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla Baby Needs Hands-On Care

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Attempts to introduce a first-time mother Gorilla to her new baby continue every day at Woodland Park Zoo, in Seattle, Washington. For the next three months, the Zoo will keep providing hands-on care for the newborn female Gorilla before evaluating next steps.

The unnamed baby Western Lowland Gorilla was born November 20 to 19-year-old Nadiri (NAW-duh-ree).

After giving birth naturally, Nadiri did not pick up her baby and, instead, walked away. Staff immediately stepped in for the safety and welfare of the baby and to allow the new mom to rest.

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4_15_12_2 Gorilla Baby JDL-3Photo Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/ Woodland Park Zoo

Because Nadiri does not have experience with motherhood, the Zoo prepared for different eventualities while Nadiri was pregnant, including human intervention.

The Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla and veterinary staff are providing 24/7 care for the baby, behind the scenes, in the Gorillas’ sleeping quarters in a den next to Nadiri. Here, the mom and the other two members in her group can see the baby; and the baby is immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of Gorillas.

“The baby is strong and healthy, and has a hearty appetite,” said Harmony Frazier, Woodland Park Zoo’s senior veterinary technician and an animal infant specialist. “We bottle feed her human infant formula on demand so she’s eating every couple of hours. She’s steadily gaining weight and currently weighs 5.8 pounds, a healthy weight for a 2-week-old Gorilla [as of December 3],” said Frazier.

“The best outcome for the baby Gorilla is to have her mom raise her, so, several times a day Nadiri is given access to her baby,” said Martin Ramirez, Woodland Park Zoo’s mammal curator. “Nadiri consistently enters the den for each introduction session. While she still hasn’t picked up her baby, she remains next to her. When the baby cries, she sometimes touches her in a calming manner. When Nadiri is in her own den, she watches her baby and grunts contentedly,” explained Ramirez. “It isn’t strong maternal behavior yet, but we’re encouraged by these positive sessions and gestures of interest.”

The zoo closely monitors and evaluates each introduction session. “As long as the sessions remain positive, we’ll keep moving forward with providing opportunities for Nadiri and her baby to bond. If Nadiri shows any inappropriate behaviors, we will discontinue the sessions and assess other options,” added Ramirez.

After the holidays, the Zoo has plans to name the baby Gorilla.

Continue reading "Woodland Park Zoo’s Gorilla Baby Needs Hands-On Care" »

Lion Triplets Get Cuter Every Day

2014-11-01RHawk018LionCubsWoodland Park Zoo’s triplet Lion cubs are doing what cubs are supposed to do:  grow, play, and get cuter every day.

The African Lion cubs, all males, were born at the zoo on October 24 to 5-year-old mother Adia and 7-year-old father, Xerxes--the first litter between the parents and the first for the father.


Photo Credit:  Ryan Hawk 

The cubs and mom remain in an off-view maternity den where they can bond in comfortable, quiet surroundings, and continue to be under the watchful eyes of zookeepers via a den cam. “Adia was an attentive mom to her first litter of 2012,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “It’s very encouraging to see her demonstrating good maternal care for this litter as well.”

The cubs’ eyes are now fully open, and the little Lions have more than doubled their weight since birth. According to Ramirez, the cubs currently weigh in at 6½ pounds for the smallest cub and nearly 8 pounds for the largest cub.

“It’s always fun to watch Lion cubs growing up and discovering their world. They’re a little clumsy walking around, they’re frisky and they’re playing with one another. Our cubs are doing what Lion cubs naturally do at 2 weeks old," added Ramirez.

The cubs will remain off public view until they are a bit older and demonstrate solid mobility skills. In addition, outdoor temperatures need to be a minimum of 50 degrees.

Xerxes arrived in the spring from El Paso Zoo to be paired with Adia under a breeding recommendation by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for African Lions. Adia arrived in 2010 from Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, in Ohio. SSPs are a complex system that matches animals in North American zoos based on genetic diversity and demographic stability. Pairings also take into consideration the behavior and personality of the animals.

Woodland Park Zoo’s Lions belong to the South African subspecies,Panthera leo krugeri. Known as Transvaal Lions, they range from the southern Sahara to South Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest belt, in grassy plains, savanna and open woodlands.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed listing the African Lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As few as 32,000 African Lions are estimated to remain in the wild and their future remains uncertain. The three main threats facing African Lions at this time are habitat loss, loss of prey base, and increased human-Lion conflict.

See more pictures of the cubs below.

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Trio of African Lion Cubs at Seattle Zoo

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Woodland Park Zoo’s lion pride just got bigger.Three African Lions were born, at the Seattle zoo, on Oct. 24th!

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DDow_June 13, 2014__Xerxes and AdiaPhoto Credits: Dr. Darin Collins/Woodland Park Zoo (1,2); Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo (3); Ruaha Carnivore Project (4)

The cubs represent the first litter between the mother, 5-year-old ‘Adia’ (ah-DEE-uh), and 7-year-old father, ‘Xerxes’. This is the first offspring for the father. The last birth of African Lions was in 2012 when Adia gave birth to four cubs with a different male.

Zookeepers moved the cubs into the off-view maternity den where the new family can bond in comfortable, quiet surroundings. Before reuniting the cubs with mom, the animal health team did a quick health assessment of the cubs and determined that all three are males. The father remains separated from the cubs and mother. Zookeepers are monitoring the new family round-the-clock. The mother and cubs are bonding and nursing, according to Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. 

The first 48 hours are critical, and animal care staff will be monitoring each of the cubs closely for signs of normal behavior and development over the next several weeks. “Animal management staff are closely monitoring the litter via an internal cam to ensure the mom is providing good maternal care and the cubs are properly nursing. The mom and cubs will remain off public view until they are a bit older and demonstrate solid mobility skills. In addition, outdoor temperatures need to be a minimum of 50 degrees,” said Ramirez.

“The birth of the lions is very exciting for all of us, especially for Xerxes who was not represented in the gene pool for the lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) conservation breeding program,” said Ramirez.

Lion cubs typically weigh about 3 pounds at birth. They are born blind and open their eyes within a week or two after birth. As part of the exemplary animal care and health program for the zoo’s thousand-plus animals, zoo veterinarians will perform health check-ups every couple of weeks for weight monitoring, vaccinations, and critical blood and fecal sampling.

Xerxes arrived in the spring from El Paso Zoo, to be paired with Adia, under a breeding recommendation by the SSP for African Lions. Adia arrived in 2010 from Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, in Ohio. SSPs are a complex system that matches animals in North American zoos based on genetic diversity and demographic stability. Pairings also take into consideration the behavior and personality of the animals.

Woodland Park Zoo’s lions belong to the South African subspecies, Panthera leo krugeri. Known as the Transvaal Lion, it ranges in Southern Sahara to South Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest belt, in grassy plains, savanna and open woodlands. These lions range in weight from 260 to 400 pounds.

Continue reading "Trio of African Lion Cubs at Seattle Zoo" »

Shy Porcupette Gets a Treat at Woodland Park Zoo

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The smallest new arrival at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is a female North American Porcupine, born April 4 in the zoo's Northern Trail exhibit. The baby porcupine, called a porcupette, was born to Molly and Oliver, both three-year-old residents of Northern Trail. This is their second offspring. 

Porcupettes are born with a soft coat of quills that begins to harden within hours of birth. This immediately protects them from predators. Keepers handle the baby carefully, using thick gloves to avoid a handful of quills. She has doubled her weight the past couple of weeks, currently weighing just over 2 pounds. 

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5 porcupettePhoto credits: Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo

Deanna Ramirez, a collection manager at the zoo, explained that the porcupette has access all day and night to the porcupine exhibit in the Northern Trail but prefers spending most of her time exploring in a den behind the scenes.

“She grooms herself a lot and is experimenting with different solid foods, such as leafeater biscuits and different types of browse (plant materials). I think our visitors will begin seeing her more frequently on exhibit as she becomes more active and curious.” 

Porcupettes become active quickly and, as natural tree dwellers, their climbing instincts take hold within weeks of delivery. Climbing makes foraging easier for the young, and they exercise these skills early in their development as they wean themselves from mom and transition to an herbivorous diet of leaves, twigs and bark. 

Otter Pups Take It Outside!

1503310_10152275027462708_1912724229_nFour Asian Small-clawed Otter pups born at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo in January have finally taken their first steps outdoors – despite the protests of their overprotective dad, Guntur.

The four pups—three females and one male—have had only a few tiny adventures outdoors so far. Though the pups step outside their den for only a few minutes at a time, the good news is that dad seems to be getting more comfortable each time. 


Photo Credit:  Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

You first met the pups on ZooBorns a few weeks ago. Now two-and-a-half-months old, the Otter pups have a lot to learn about the world outside their den.  Luckily they have their 4-year-old mom Teratai, 8-year-old dad Guntur, and four older brothers to show them the ropes.  In these photos, you can see the pups getting help scaling walls, navigating waterways, and getting a friendly nuzzle on the neck.

Asian Small-clawed Otters are native to waterways in Southeast Asia.  The smallest of the world’s Otter species, they weigh only about 11 pounds (5 kg) as adults.  They feed on small crustaceans and mollusks.  Due to habitat destruction, Asian Small-clawed Otters are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the Otter pups below.


First Check-up for Otter Pups at Woodland Park Zoo

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Four new otter pups at Woodland Park Zoo in Washington just received a clean bill of health during their first hands-on wellness exam. The Asian Small-clawed Otter pups—three females and one male—were born to 4-year-old mother Teratai (pronounced tear-a-tie) and 8-year-old father Guntur (pronounced goon-toor) on January 20.

The zoo’s newest additions underwent a thorough neonatal exam to check their ears, eyes, mouths and overall development. Each of the otter pups just barely tipped the scales at 1.2-1.5 pounds (about .5-.7 kg), a healthy size for their 8-week-old frames. Exam results indicate all four pups are growing healthily as expected.

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5 otterPhoto credit: Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo

See a video of the pups' first swimming lesson:


“Since their birth, the parents and four brothers, born last summer, have all pitched in to build their den nest, provide support and, most recently, teach the pups to swim in a behind-the-scenes pool,” said Pat Owen, a collection manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “The family has been busy introducing the pups to their new environment, and the pups are adjusting very well.”

See more photos and story after the fold.

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UPDATE: Woodland Park Zoo Otter Pups Are Boys!


First time Asian Small-Clawed Otter parents Guntur and Teratai have their hands full! After their first vet exam, the Woodland Park Zoo has learned that their four pups are all boys. First seen here on Zooborns, the 9-week old quadruplets are healthy and hitting all of their developmental benchmarks. Still, the pups spend most of their time eating, sleeping and playing. Like most brothers, their play consists of pouncing and chewing on each other.


Behind the scenes, swimming lessons have began for the pups. With mom's help, the pups are slowly beginning to feel comfortable around water. They've started to dip their mouths in a small, shallow tub. Mom dips her mouth, then touches the pups’ mouths with hers. Once the pup's have learned to swim, they will be introduced to the outdoor exhibit. The pups will also begin weaning from mom in late August. Mom and dad have began to share food. Soon they will be on a solid diet of smelt, capelin and soaked cat food. 




Photo Credit Woodland Park Zoo

Seattle's Tallest Baby Born at Woodland Park Zoo


Few species can boast a 6-foot tall week-old infant, but the Rothschild's Giraffe is certainly one of them! Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo welcomed the addition of a towering Rothschild's Giraffe calf on the evening of August 6. Born to first time mom Olivia, the calf was already 5 and a half feet tall at birth. The calf, who is male, can expect to grow to between 16-18 feet by the time he reaches adulthood.


The calf and its mother are off view in a barn to allow a quet environment for maternal bonding and nursing. Giraffe's have a 14- to 15- month gestation period, which allows for calves to grown so large in size. Mom's give birth standing up, and calves are typically able to stand within a few hours of birth.. “The first 24 to 72 hours are critical for giraffe calves,” said zoo curator Martin Ramirez. “So far, mother and calf are bonding and nursing sessions appear to be normal. We will continue to keep a close eye on the new family over the next several weeks.”


Olivia and the calf's father, Chioke, were paired under a breeding recommendation made by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, which ensures genetic diversity and demographic stability in North American zoos. The natural population of giraffes has declined by more thant 40% over the past 15 years. Among the 9 subspecies of Giraffes, West African and Rothschild's are endangered. Fewer than 670 individuals of Rothschild's Giraffes remain in the wild.


Continue reading "Seattle's Tallest Baby Born at Woodland Park Zoo" »

Woodland Park Zoo Otter Quadruplets Learn to Jump, Run and Whistle!

Otter trio

Woodland Park Zoo’s four Asian Small-clawed Otter pups, born on June 11, mark the first offspring between 8-year-old father, Guntur, and 4-year-old mother, Teratai. Each pup's weight currently teeters around 1 pound. They are still nursing and will begin the weaning process around late August. Once they are weaned, their solid diet will consist of chopped smelt, capelin, and soaked cat food. In the meantime, the quadruplets are learning to walk, run, and jump -- and they whistle, squeal, and chirp while they do it!  Their sexes have not yet been determined.

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is the smallest among the 13 Otter species. It ranges throughout southern and southeastern Asia, including areas of India, the Indonesian islands, Malaysia, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, southern China, and Palawan in the Philippines.

With rapidly declining habitat, range, and population, it was moved from Near Threatened to the more serious Vulnerable status in 2008. The population in the wild is unknown, with some estimates at 5,000 and others at far fewer. While all Otter species have protected status under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and killing is prohibited in most range countries, enforcement remains very limited. Poaching and water pollution remain the largest threats.

Otter nose

Otter nape

Photo Credit: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

According to Pat Owen, a collection manager at Woodland Park Zoo, the pups are beginning to play with each other and their parents. “They’re chewing on each other and wrestling. Their attempts at jumping result in poorly executed pounces but it’s downright adorable,” said Owen. “Our guests are going to have a wonderful time watching these little critters play outdoors once they reach a level of comfort and build their muscles and motor skills.”

Read more after the fold:

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