Woodland Park Zoo

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.


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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.

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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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Woodland Park Zoo's Trio of Jaguar Cubs Full of Personality


On March 22, these three Jaguar cubs were born at the Woodland Park Zoo to parents Junior and Nayla. First-time mother Nayla demonstrated natural maternal care and instincts, protecting the cubs so much that keepers couldn’t get their hands on the cubs for their first vet check until late last week! Once they did, it was determined that the triplets are healthy and that there are two girls and one boy, all exhibiting very different personalities.

The first born was a girl, the smallest of the cubs - but that does not stop her from being the most independent of the three. She also tends to lead her siblings in their mischief and play. The second born was a male who is also the largest cub. He is the shyest around keepers and a mama's boy, sticking close to mom's side, and yet he's the most vocal of the three. 

Jaguar births are rare, and as a “Near Threatened” species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the jaguar triplets are a major milestone for Woodland Park Zoo’s jaguar conservation efforts. Third born is the other female, who regularly follows her older sister and playfully roughhouses with her big brother. 

Jag duo


Photo Credits: Photo 1: Jamie Delk/Woodland Park Zoo, Photos 2-5: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo's blog, which you can read HERE, states, "Keep in mind, habitat loss and fragmentation of wild areas, hunting by ranchers, and loss of wild prey due to overhunting by humans are major threats facing jaguars in the wild. Each year, Woodland Park Zoo’s Jaguar Conservation Fund supports field conservation projects dedicated to preserving wild jaguars and their habitat. The fund has given awards to 19 projects in 12 North, Central and South American countries for a total investment of $113,806. Currently, the zoo supports three projects in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua that all aim to find ways for both people and predators to share Earth’s ecosystems."

Look for more pictures of the cubs after the fold. Before that, watch this series of three videos from the zoo's closed circuit cameras, which allow Mom the privacy to nurture and bond with her cubs. The first is the video announces the cubs' birth:

The cubs at three days old:

The most recent video of mom nursing and playing with her babies.

See more pictures after the fold:

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Tawny Frogmouth Chick Emerges at Woodland Park Zoo

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Last week Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle welcomed a fluffy white Tawny Frogmouth chick. One day after its birth, the little chick weighed in at just over half an ounce. While the parents have been doing an excellent job caring for it thus far, keepers will keep a close eye on the chick's development and provide the family with additional food if they aren't satisfied with its progress.

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Photo credits: Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo

The chick's parents are held off exhibit at as part of a nationwide breeding program for Tawny Frogmouths. Woodland Park coordinates this Species Survival Plan for the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, which includes 125 individuals at 48 facilities. The zoo is also home to a second breeding pair and is known for having a great track record of breeding this species. In fact, this chick's parents have another fertile egg in their nest which keepers expect to hatch soon.

Tawny Frogmouths are native to the Australasia region and are found on the Australian mainland, Tasmania and New Guinea. They are nocturnal carnivores that feed primarily on insects and other small prey. While adults have dark mottled coats to bled into tree bark, young are born fluffy and white as you can see with this little chick. When full grown this little chick will weigh around one and a half pounds.