Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo
This turtle-y awesome class of 2023 gets a head start on life!

Washington state’s population of endangered western pond turtles will be bolstered when Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Woodland Park Zoo release close to 29 turtles next month to the wild at local protected sites.

The turtles are a part of the collaborative Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project, a head start program initiated in 1991. It is Washington state’s longest-running species reintroduction project.
Each spring, WDFW biologists go in the field to attach transmitters to adult female western pond turtles and monitor them every few hours during the nesting season to locate nesting sites; the nests are protected from predators with wire exclosure cages. A portion of the eggs are collected in late summer and the hatchlings are given a head start on life under the care of Woodland Park Zoo and Oregon Zoo where …
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Baby boom continues with new tawny frogmouth chick

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

We've had a very productive spring and summer here at Woodland Park Zoo with the births and hatchings of so many little ones. The newest addition to our baby boom is a tawny frogmouth chick! The new chick represents the 38th frogmouth hatched at the zoo since the species’ first hatching in 2009. The zoo is currently home to seven adult tawny frogmouths.

Tawny frogmouths are nocturnal birds native to Australia. During the day, they perch on tree branches, using their cryptic camouflage to blend into their environment. The plumage of the tawny frogmouth is silver-gray, slightly paler below, streaked and mottled with black and rufous. Frogmouths are often mistaken as owls; although they have many habits similar to owls, they are actually more closely related to nightjars and whip-poor-wills, and do not have the strong, curved talons of owls. 

The new tawny frogmouth chick hatched to first-time parents, both 2 years old. The parents were paired …

Floof alert: First-ever spur-winged lapwing chicks hatch at Woodland Park Zoo

Posted by Elizabeth Bacher, Communications

Say hello to the newest members of our zoo family. These young birds that look like cotton balls on stilts are spur-winged lapwing chicks. The name is quite a big mouthful for such little cuties … and their hatching is a first for this species here at Woodland Park Zoo. Their sexes haven’t been determined yet.

Spur-winged lapwings are wading birds that can be found on the shores of a variety of habitats including marshes, mudflats and lakes. In nature, this species is native to the sub-Saharan belt across central Africa but are also found in some Middle Eastern and east Mediterranean countries, including Turkey. While not endangered, this species does face threats from loss of their wetland habitats related to human development and climate change.

Our four new chicks, which hatched the last week of June, are only inches tall—with legs that make up half that height—but their parents stand about one foot tall. While adults have distinct brown…


Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

This spring, we asked you all to show your love for Uzumma's baby gorilla by sending a wish as part of our gorilla baby wish book project. We received more than 100 digital entries, which we'll share with gorilla keepers, Kitoko's animal health care team and zoo staff. There were so many wonderful entries, and heartfelt wishes for little Kitoko and all endangered gorillas. 

Kitoko update: The little gorilla is back with his troop and spending some time outdoors. Depending on your luck, you may see him during your next zoo visit and you can share your wishes for endangered gorillas with Kitoko himself.
Winners of the gorilla wish book coloring contest are... 
Please show these artists some love!
Adult (13 years or older)

Grand Prize Winner is Camryn, age 14, with an incredible painting of Kitoko and Uzumma. Camryn, you absolutely outdid yourself! 
Runner up is Dallas with a delightfully colorful and detailed gorilla and fruit landscape we&…

Zoomazium to You: Welcome Back!

Posted by Janel Kempf, Learning and Innovation

By now, you and your early learners have heard the exciting news—Woodland Park Zoo reopened on July 1! We’ve missed all of you, and can hardly wait to welcome you back. Now that we’re all busy with the newly reopened zoo, we’ll be hitting the pause button on the Zoomazium to You blog, most likely for the summer. For this last entry (for now) let’s talk about the changes you and your youngsters will notice when you first visit us.

The ongoing health precautions means the zoo will be different than you and your little ones remember. All the differences you’ll find are important ones, carefully planned to keep you, our staff and volunteers, and all our beloved animals safe. But, as we all know, the young children in our lives are not necessarily big fans of change!

And that’s okay! In fact, it’s important for young children to be exposed to things that aren’t dangerous or out-of-control, but also aren’t completely easy for them. Reasonable …

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Posted by Janel Kempf, Learning and Innovation

Close your eyes, and ask your early learner to do the same. Now, imagine together a few of your favorite animals in their habitats.

What are you both seeing in your mind’s eye? There are so many options! An emerald tree boa draped over a branch in the steamy Amazon rainforest, an impala grazing on the vast plains of the African savanna, or a gray wolf and her family trotting through the cold forests of northern Canada—each one perfectly a part of their own environment.

But what if they were in an environment that didn’t meet their needs? A bright green boa unable to hide in the dry grass of the savanna, or an impala freezing cold without a wolf’s thick coat in below-zero temperatures? It just wouldn’t work.

At the zoo, we have lots of animals who wouldn’t naturally call the Pacific Northwest home. To keep them healthy and thriving, we make accommodations for them in their zoo habitats. Some of the things we do for animals are easy to s…

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Posted by Janel Kempf and Sofia Garcia, Learning and Innovation

Hello again, friends! And may we add, ¡Hola de nuevo, amigos!

People here in the Pacific Northwest and all around the world speak many different languages—and very few things build the brain power of early learners more than learning more than one language from the very beginning. This week’s activity helps your early learners discover fun facts about their favorite animals, and learn a few words in a different language of your choice!

Animals communicate with their voices, too. Even some you wouldn’t expect! Owls are very stealthy hunters, who rely on silence to catch their prey. But they can make sounds, and among owl species, the champions of using their voices are burrowing owls, like the zoo’s own Papú. They have more distinctly different calls than any other owl species!

Burrowing owls are different from other owls in a lot of ways. They have extra-long legs, and do a lot of their hunting by running instead of…
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