Woodland Park Zoo

Red Panda Cubs Get Their Third Checkup

Unnamed

Woodland Park Zoo’s veterinary team recently performed a third neonatal exam on the zoo’s twin Red Panda cubs. The 5-week-old female cubs, born on June 19, have opened their eyes and weigh just under two pounds each. At birth, they weighed about five ounces each. The parents of the cubs are two-year-old mom Hazel and 13-year-old dad Yukiko.

Unnamed (1)
Unnamed (1)Photo Credit: John Loughlin/Woodland Park Zoo

We first introduced the twins on ZooBorns shortly after their second neonatal exam last month.

As a first-time mom, Hazel continues to provide attentive care in an indoor, climate-controlled den where she can nurse and bond with her cubs in a quiet environment; the den is off view to zoo guests. Yukiko does not yet have contact with his new family, but introductions will be planned in the near future.

The zoo anticipates putting Hazel and her cubs in their exhibit habitat by mid-October and the community will be invited to participate in a public naming later this summer.

Red Pandas share a name with Giant Pandas, but recent studies suggest they are closely related to Skunks, Weasels and Raccoons. An endangered species, fewer than 10,000 Red Pandas remain in their native habitat of bamboo forests in China, the Himalayas, and Myanmar. They share part of their range with Giant Pandas. Their numbers are declining due to deforestation, increased agriculture and cattle grazing, and continuing pressure from growing human populations.

Woodland Park Zoo supports the Red Panda Network, whose multi-prong approach aims to conserve this flagship species in Nepal.


Zoo Celebrates Birth of Red Panda Twins

Unnamed (1)
Woodland Park Zoo’s three-week-old Red Panda cubs had their second neonatal exam this week and the female twins are healthy and thriving. The cubs were born on June 19 to two-year-old mom Hazel and 14-year-old dad Yukiko. The last successful birth of Red Pandas at the zoo was in 1989.

Unnamed (2)
Unnamed (2)
Unnamed (2)Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

The exam was performed by the zoo’s veterinary team as a part of the zoo’s exemplary care program for its 1,200 animals. Born at about five ounces each, the cubs now weigh just over a pound. “We’re pleased with this weight gain, which means both cubs continue to nurse and have healthy appetites. Their eyes are not open yet but they are quite vocal as cubs should be,” said Dr. Darin Collins, Woodland Park Zoo’s director of animal health. 

Hazel, a first-time mom, lives in a private indoor, climate-controlled habitat, which provides a quiet environment where she can bond with her cubs. Because Red Pandas normally live alone, except for mothers with cubs, the dad remains separated from the new family. 

“We continue to monitor mom and cubs via a den cam to ensure they are thriving and we have minimal physical contact with the family,” said Mark Myers, a curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “The cubs are crawling and are capable of rolling over to upright positions. In another week or so, we should begin seeing continued motor skill development. This first month for newborn Red Pandas is an important time and our twins are on target with important developmental milestones.”

The zoo anticipates putting Hazel and her cubs on exhibit for guests to see by mid-October. “Timing will depend on their ability to safely navigate elevated branches, trees and other exhibit features. Because Red Pandas live in high-altitude temperate forests with bamboo understories in the Himalayas and high mountains, they are very comfortable in the coldest of conditions throughout the winter,” explained Myers. The community will be invited to participate in a public naming later this summer. 

Red Pandas share the name of Giant Pandas, but recent studies suggest they are closely related to Skunks, Weasels and Raccoons. An endangered species, fewer than 10,000 Red Pandas remain in their native habitat of bamboo forests in China, the Himalayas and Myanmar, and share part of their range with Giant Pandas. Their numbers are declining due to deforestation, increased agriculture and cattle grazing, and continuing pressure from growing human populations. 

Woodland Park Zoo supports the Red Panda Network, whose multi-prong approach aims to conserve this flagship species in Nepal.


Meet Daisy the Baby Mountain Goat

35760907_10156692218932708_2054802832187457536_n

A 2-year-old Mountain Goat, Bluebelle, gave birth Saturday, June 16, to a female kid at Woodland Park Zoo. The last birth of a Mountain Goat at the zoo was in 1995.
  
The zoo’s animal health staff performed a neonatal exam Sunday on the new Goat, which was named Daisy by the zoo staff. According to Dr. Tim Storms, associate veterinarian at Woodland Park Zoo, Daisy weighed 10 pounds and appears healthy, with good body condition and a strong suckling reflex. Lab tests indicate that she has been successfully nursing and received colostrum from Bluebelle.
  
“So far we’re seeing attentive maternal care by first-time mom Bluebelle. Nursing sessions are regular and mom and her newborn are bonding,” said Deanna DeBo, an animal care manager at Woodland Park Zoo.

35671494_10156692218997708_1856944224415514624_n
35671494_10156692218997708_1856944224415514624_n
35671494_10156692218997708_1856944224415514624_nPhoto Credit: Woodland Park Zoo

The new kid is the first offspring for Bluebelle and dad Albert. Albert moved in April to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs to help increase genetic representation of the species in accredited zoos.

Bluebelle and Daisy’s zoo habitat replicates the rocky crags and ledges that these animals would encounter in their native range in the mountainous northwestern United States and Canada.  The zoo’s award-winning Northern Trail exhibit features other animals that have adapted to the cold, rugged regions of the north including Grizzlies, Snowy Owls, Wolves, Elk and Steller’s Sea Eagles.

Rocky Mountain Goats naturally range from southern Alaska, Canada, Washington, Idaho and Montana. Transplanted populations now live in Colorado, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, South Dakota and Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Remarkably adapted for life on steep mountain ledges, Mountain Goats live, sleep, and eat at elevations of 10,000 feet and up. They are well-adapted to extremely harsh conditions such as snowy slopes with pitches above 60 degrees, winds up to 100 mph, snow drifts of 30–60 feet high and temperatures reaching minus 50 degrees F.
 
A Mountain Goat’s incredible adaptations allow it to live high above potential predators such as Mountain Lions, Bears or Wolverines. The only predator that lives above the timberline is the Golden Eagle which might attack a newborn or very young Goat.
 
Woodland Park Zoo supports the conservation of Mountain Goats and other Cascadia wildlife through the Living Northwest suite.


Papú the Owl Chick Has An Important Job

RS34754_2018_05_25 owlette-6

Back in April, an egg barely the size of a ping-pong ball arrived at the Woodland Park Zoo from the Sacramento Zoo, where its parents were not able to incubate it.

On April 17, a feisty little Burrowing Owl chick pipped its way out of that egg. The chick, a male, was named Papú. His name, which is pronounced like paw-POO, with emphasis on the second syllable, means “Burrowing Owl” in the dialect of the Yakama tribes of eastern Washington. Little Papú, who also goes by the nickname Pippin, was at hatching barely a few inches long, covered in white downy plumage, and his eyes were not open yet.

2018_05_17 owlette-5
2018_05_17 owlette-5
2018_05_17 owlette-5

Because Papú will be reared by his keepers, it was decided that he will become an ambassador animal at the Woodland Park Zoo. In this very important role, Papú will meet zoo guests to help build a strong connection between people and wildlife. Right away, Papú captured the hearts of the animal keepers who will feed him, raise him, train with him throughout his life, and generally just let him become his best little Owl-self.

Papú is now nearly two months old and already adult-size, although he still has some of the downy plumage of a chick. Most baby birds are the same size as their parents by the time they’re ready to leave the nest—and Papú is just at that age. Adult feathers, which are mottled brown and white, are already starting to grow in, including those all-important flight feathers.

At this point, his flights are limited to practice take-offs and soft, but not always graceful, landings on his keepers’ laps or the ground. Within another week or so, he will probably take his first real flight, and by early autumn Papú will have his adult plumage and his eyes and beak will start turning yellow.

Burrowing Owls are small, long-legged Owls found throughout open landscapes of North and South America. These tiny predators—they’re only 8 to 11 inches tall and weigh between 5 to 8 ounces when fully grown—can be found in grasslands, rangelands and throughout the Great Plains.

They nest and roost in underground burrows that might have been dug out by prairie dogs or ground squirrels, although they can create their own burrows if needed. Unlike most Owls, Burrowing Owls are active day or night hunting for beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, mice and small lizards. The Burrowing Owl is endangered in Canada and threatened in Mexico. Although still common in much of the U.S., its population numbers are in decline and they are listed as threatened in several states due to the eradication of prairie dogs and loss of habitat.

See more photos below, including several of Papú right after he hatched.

Continue reading "Papú the Owl Chick Has An Important Job" »


Screamer Chicks Hatch at Woodland Park Zoo

1_WPZScreamerChicks-203

A pair of female Crested Screamer chicks hatched in early March at Woodland Park Zoo. The little birds represent the first offspring between the 15-year-old mother and 23-year-old father. The last successful hatching of this species at the Seattle, WA, zoo was in 2002.

At just a few weeks old, the chicks are fluffy and downy and currently weigh about 6 ounces.

“So far, we’re pleased to report the chicks are experiencing good weight gains,” said Mark Myers, bird curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “They’re eating well and the parents are very attentive. The chicks need lots of food and exercise to grow. Based on how they’re doing, we’re optimistic they’ll continue to thrive under the care of their parents and our animal care staff.”

According to the Zoo, Crested Screamer parents do not regurgitate food for their chicks. Instead, they lead the chicks to food and drop tasty treats as a lesson on how to peck for food. Myers said the Zoo’s family dines on a blend of game bird, waterfowl pellets, lots of fresh romaine, and broccoli florets.

2_WPZ_JLoughlin_ScreamerChicks-47

3_WPZScreamerChicks-25

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

The Crested Screamer (Chauna torquata) is aptly named for its loud, distinctive call, making it among the loudest of any bird. Native to Bolivia and southern Brazil, to northern Argentina, these large goose-like birds are common in tropical and subtropical wetlands, including marshes, estuaries and lowland lakes.

Another distinctive feature of the species is a large, sharp spur on each wing, which the birds use to defend themselves against predators. Adults reach and average size of 81–95 cm (32–37 inches) long and a weight of around 3–5 kg (6.6–11.0 pounds).

Screamers form monogamous relationships, and both adults take part in incubation and caring for the chicks. The female lays between two to seven white eggs, and incubation takes 43 to 46 days. Chicks leave the nest as soon as they hatch, but the parents will care for them for several weeks. The fledging period takes 8 to 14 weeks.

Although the Crested Screamer population is not threatened in their home range, Screamers and many other species of waterfowl are threatened by habitat loss due to human-imposed activities.

The new family at Woodland Park Zoo is currently off-exhibit, to allow animal keepers to monitor the chicks closely and weigh them regularly to ensure acceptable weight gains.

Continue reading "Screamer Chicks Hatch at Woodland Park Zoo" »


Baby Sloth Bears Are Tiny Adventurers

DDow_3-25-18-SlothBearCubs-8

After months of cozying up with mom Tasha in the den, the Woodland Park Zoo’s 13-week-old Sloth Bear cubs took their first steps outdoors. The tiny adventurers explored all around, trying to climb on everything. The best perch of all? Mom's back!

Until now, fans have only been able to see the two male cubs via cameras installed in the maternity den. 

DDow_3-25-18-SlothBearCubs-6
DDow_3-25-18-SlothBearCubs-6Photo Credit: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

“We’re very excited to see Tasha and her cubs out on exhibit,” said Pat Owen, animal care manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “The fact that they’ve started to go outside the maternity den and explore is a good indicator the cubs are healthy and thriving. At this time, the cubs and mom are still exploring and adjusting to their new surroundings. They will still have access to the off-view maternity den as they make this transition.”

The two male cubs, born December 27, 2017, are the offspring of 13-year-old mother Tasha and 17-year-old father Bhutan.
 
Sloth Bears are native to the lower elevations of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. There are currently less than 10,000 remaining in the wild. Their survival is challenged by fragmented populations, competition with other animals (particularly humans) for space and food, deforestation, and the illegal trade in Bear parts, which are used in traditional Asian medicines.

For more than 400 years, Sloth Bears were targeted for human exploitation to perform as “Dancing Bears;” in 2009, the last Dancing Bear in India was released. Woodland Park Zoo is a participant in the Sloth Bear Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program under the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) that ensures genetic diversity and demographic stability among Sloth Bears in North American zoos. Prior to the birth of these cubs, Woodland Park Zoo had five Sloth Bear births; two sets of twins and one cub which did not survive.
 
Woodland Park Zoo supports Wildlife SOS in their Sloth Bear maternal and day denning research project focused on Sloth Bears in the wild and in zoos. The project aims to learn more about day dens (used by Sloth Bears as a place to rest in safety during daylight hours), and the maternal dens used to give birth to and raise cubs.


 


Snow Leopard Cub Takes It Outside

2017_09_19 Aibek snow leopard 900-10wm

When Woodland Park Zoo keepers opened the door allowing Aibek, a 2-month-old Snow Leopard, to leave the maternity den for the first time, the cub zipped outside so fast that he beat his mom into the outdoor habitat.

2017_09_19 Aibek snow leopard 900-5wm
2017_09_19 Aibek snow leopard 900-1wmPhoto Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Aibek immediately began pouncing, climbing, and stealthily sneaking around the enclosure amid a light drizzling rain. He climbed to the top of the habitat’s rocky hill and promptly found a spot that was nearly out of sight to the crowd that had gathered to greet him – typical of Snow Leopards, which are elusive in the wild, too.

You first met Aibek, who was born July 6, on ZooBorns when he was just a few weeks old. Like all wild Snow Leopards, he spent the first two months of his life snuggled in a cozy den with his mother, feeding exclusively on her milk. While mom Helen and her cub were bonding in the den, keepers were able to conduct occasional wellness checks and observed that Helen was providing excellent care for her cub. Now a healthy 10 pounds, Aibek has started eating meat but still nurses from his mom.

Aibek is the first single cub to be born at the zoo. Snow Leopards typically have litters of two or three cubs, so keepers expected Aibek to be rather timid since he had no siblings to wrestle and play with. But so far, Aibek has demonstrated confidence as he explores the outdoors, and Helen is an experienced mother who knows how to keep her cub safe.

Snow Leopards are listed as a Vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. These cats live in the high mountain ranges of Russia and several Central Asian nations, including in Afghanistan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal and Pakistan. According to the Snow Leopard Trust, the wild population of Snow Leopards is estimated to be between 3,920 and 6,390 individuals.

More photos and info below!

Continue reading "Snow Leopard Cub Takes It Outside" »


Lulu the Giraffe Calf Frolics on Her First Day Out

Unnamed (3)
Last week marked a big milestone for Lulu, Woodland Park Zoo’s baby girl Giraffe. For the first time, the 1½-month-old Giraffe ventured onto the vast African Savanna exhibit with mom Tufani and the herd.

“Lulu’s adventurous spirit and self-confidence were on full display during her first introduction on the savanna. She crossed out to the savanna cautiously, but once she was out there, she explored, galloped, and met our Gazelle, Guinea Fowl and a few Ducks,” said Katie Ahl, a lead keeper at the zoo. “Lulu is very independent but you could tell mom and Lulu were keeping an eye on each other and it was good to see them check in with each other throughout the introduction.”

2017_08_01 Lula savanna intro DD 900-1
2017_08_01 Lula savanna intro 900-12Photo Credits: Dennis Dow/WPZ (2); Jeremy Dwyer-Lundgren/WPZ (1,3,4,5,6,7); J Loughlin/WPZ (8)

Lulu’s aunt Olivia and dad Dave also joined Lulu on the savanna, their first time since Lulu’s birth.

Like human parents who “baby-proof” their homes, keepers prepared the Giraffe exhibit for Lulu’s arrival. “Giraffe-style baby bumpers were added to the exhibit in the form of branches and logs laid along steeper slopes. We also closed up any gaps where she could potentially wedge herself. The baby bumpers and the watchful eyes of her mom and aunt are a great safety net as she explores her new surroundings,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator.

Lulu was born June 20 to first-time parents Tufani, age 9, and 4-year-old Dave. Born  5’9” tall, Lulu currently stands at 7’6” and weighs 267 pounds. Her birth marked the second viable birth of a Giraffe at the zoo since 2013 and the third in 20 years.

Dave and Tufani were paired under a breeding recommendation made by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP), a conservation breeding program across North American accredited zoos that seeks to ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of Giraffes.

Giraffes are widespread across southern and eastern Africa, with smaller isolated populations in west and central Africa. New surveys estimate a 36-40% percent decline in Africa’s Giraffe population in the last 30 years. Numbers fell from about 160,000 Giraffes in 1985 to just over 97,000 in 2015. Of the nine Giraffe subspecies, five have decreasing populations, while three are increasing and one is stable.

See more photos of Lulu below.

Continue reading "Lulu the Giraffe Calf Frolics on Her First Day Out" »


Sweet Snow Leopard Cub Born at Woodland Park Zoo

1_20292672_10155605929792708_6373236653220527571_n

On July 6, a 12-year-old Snow Leopard named Helen gave birth to a male cub at Woodland Park Zoo.

The new cub is the first offspring for mom and her 12-year-old mate, Dhirin (pronounced as dir-in). Helen has given birth to two previous litters, with a different mate.

The mom and cub are currently in an off-view maternity den, to allow bonding and proper nursing, in a quieter setting. Zoo staff has been monitoring the mother and cub through a closed-circuit system to watch for normal behaviors.

The Zoo anticipates putting the cub and mom in the outdoor exhibit in late September. Woodland Park Zoo will be providing updates about the cub and will host a public naming via their blog and Facebook page.

As part of the exemplary animal care and health program for the Zoo’s thousand-plus animals, animal health staff performed a neonatal exam on July 20, the first time the newborn cub was handled. At that time, the cub weighed 2.6 pounds.

“Our overall assessment is the cub appears to be healthy. His eyelids are beginning to open—one eye is already open and one remains closed—the eyelids normally open around two weeks. His belly was full of milk, which means the cub is nursing and being nourished,” said Dr. Darin Collins, Woodland Park Zoo’s director of animal health.

Veterinarians will perform health check-ups every couple of weeks for weight monitoring, vaccinations, and critical blood and fecal sampling.

“Helen’s track record of providing excellent maternal skills to her past cubs continues with this cub. She’s nurturing her cub very well, they’re bonding and the cub appears to be progressing normally,” said Deanna DeBo, an animal collection manager at Woodland Park Zoo.

2_20292667_10155605929777708_3588059852179432380_n

3_2017_07_20 snow leopard kitten-1wm

4_2017_07_20 snow leopard kitten-5wmPhoto Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

The cub’s parents, Helen and Dhirin, were paired under the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP), a conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of Snow Leopards. Helen has lived at Woodland Park Zoo since 2008, and Dhirin arrived from Oklahoma City Zoo in 2014.

Continue reading "Sweet Snow Leopard Cub Born at Woodland Park Zoo" »


Landmark Penguin Chick Hatches at Woodland Park

1_RS32573_2017_03_23 penguin chick #60-1-phi (1)

The 60th Humboldt Penguin has hatched at Woodland Park Zoo’s new penguin exhibit.

The Zoo’s first breeding season began in 2010, and the latest chick hatched on March 17. Although keepers don’t yet know the sex of the chick, a naming contest was organized.

The community has been invited to vote on one of the following Spanish names: Sesenta (means 60), Diamante (diamond = for 60th anniversary), and Amor (love). The poll began March 30 and voting concludes today, April 3. Vote through the end of today via the Zoo’s special facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/WoodlandParkZooSeattle/

The chick’s parents, 9-year-old dad, Mateo, and 4-year-old mom, Mini, have raised chicks with other mates but the new chick is the first offspring between the pair.

To date, a total of six chicks have been produced in the current breeding season, with a couple more chicks anticipated to hatch. All the chicks are off exhibit, in nesting burrows, where they are under the care of the parents. Staff minimizes intervention to allow the parents to raise their chicks and gain parental experience. To ensure the chicks are achieving growth milestones staff regularly weigh them as they develop.

2_RS32576_2017_03_23 penguin chick #60-4-phi

3_RS32575_2017_03_23 penguin chick #60-3-phi

4_RS32574_2017_03_23 penguin chick #60-2-phiPhoto Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Before new chicks reach fledging age and go outdoors on exhibit, they are removed from the nest so keepers can condition the birds to approach them for hand feeding and other animal care activities. Chicks also are given round-the-clock access to a shallow pool where they can swim in a more controlled and less crowded environment. New chicks join the colony in the outdoor exhibit sometime in early summer.

People do not usually think of penguins as a desert species. Unlike their ice and snow-dwelling Antarctic cousins, Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) inhabit hot, dry coastlines in Peru and Chile. They live on rocky mainland shores, especially near cliffs, or on coastal islands.

Humboldt Penguins have a body made to swim. Using their strong wings, they “fly” underwater, usually just below the surface, at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. They steer with their feet and tail.

Classified as a “Vulnerable” species by the IUCN, approximately 30,000 to 40,000 Humboldt Penguins survive in their natural range.

Woodland Park Zoo is committed to conserving Humboldt Penguins by supporting the Humboldt Penguin Conservation Center at Punta San Juan, Peru*. They also help preserve the species by breeding the birds through the Species Survival Plan and by encouraging visitors to choose sustainable seafood options.

*Punta San Juan is home to 5,000 Humboldt Penguins, the largest colony in Peru.