A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


6th annual Auction for Animals is this afternoon at Woodland Park Zoo

June 1st, 2014 by Doree

Lucas Engles-Klann, now just 8 years old, is hosting his 6th annual Auction for Animals from 1-3 p.m. today (Sunday) at Woodland Park Zoo. The event is free and open to the public (zoo admission not required). The auction is in the Education Center by the South Gate 750 N. 50th St.

Auction for Animals was started by in 2008 amidst plans for his 3rd birthday party. When asked how he wanted to celebrate, his reply was “I want to save all the animals”, and his annual fundraiser was born. The event has taken many different forms over the years, including benefit dinners, raffles, and auctions, and has raised over $15,000 to support the Woodland Park Zoo, the National Audubon Society and Point Defiance Zoo. Money raised this year will go towards preservation of Woodland Park Zoo’s gorillas, snow leopards, and jaguars.

Special features at this year’s event will include a bake sale, games, a live auction (hosted by Lucas) for kids, and a silent auction for the grown-ups. Items up for grabs this year include unique pieces from local artists and amazing wines.

Now eight years old, Lucas’ passion for animal preservation has grown with him, and he now assumes much of the responsibility for planning and overseeing every aspect of the event. His excitement has not gone unnoticed…over 150 people attended last year’s event and raised over $3200.

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Zoo’s grizzly bears to play in the snow on Tuesday

April 14th, 2014 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo’s grizzly bear brothers Keema and Denali are getting a 20th birthday treat on Tuesday when Crystal Mountain will truck in fresh snow from the Cascades for the bears’ exhibit. The bears actually turned 20 in January but were hibernating and slept right through it.

The snow will be delivered at 9:30 am. Tuesday. The 835-pound bears will start playing in the snow around 10 a.m.

The zoo will live stream the snowy experience on its “bear cam,” as well as inside Zoomazium and the grizzly bear viewing shelter.

The ski resort also trucked in snow in 2004 when the grizzlies turned 10.


Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.

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Woodland Park Zoo plans to improve elephant exhibit, replace Watoto with a new Asian elephant

March 31st, 2014 by Doree

On Friday, Woodland Park Zoo quietly released its final plan to improve its elephant exhibit. (The zoo did not send out a press release, but posted it on its blog.)

The plan calls for the zoo to spend up to $3 million to send its African elephant, Watoto, to another zoo, and replace her with a new Asian elephant, and improve the indoor and outdoor elephant habitats.

The Elephant Task Force released its final report last October. The zoo’s Board of Directors and staff reviewed it and came up with the final plan.

The group Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants slammed that plan on its website.

The Seattle Times had an in-depth story on the plan on Saturday.

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Zoo’s Spring Fecal Fest begins Friday

February 25th, 2014 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo’s highly anticipated Spring Fecal Fest begins this Friday, giving gardeners the opportunity to purchase prized compost made from zoo animal droppings. Fecal Fest runs Friday, Feb. 28 through Monday, March 17.

Composed of species feces contributed by the zoo’s non-primate herbivores such as elephants, hippos, giraffes and more, Zoo Doo is perfect to grow your veggies and annuals.

Bedspread, the zoo’s premium composted mulch, is a combination of Zoo Doo, sawdust, and large amounts of wood chips. Bedspread is used to cushion perennial beds and woody landscapes including rose beds, shrubs and pathways.

Since this special fertilizer is limited, you have to enter a lottery for the chance to purchase. Online entry forms will be available beginning on Friday. Only one entry per person is eligible for each drawing (there are separate drawings for Zoo Doo and Bedspread). Entries will be selected randomly and only selected entries will be contacted. Phone and mail orders are not accepted.

Zoo Doo steaming with vent tubes Ryan Hawk-resized

Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.

Pick-up dates are April 5-19. You provide the truck and labor, the zoo provides the shovels.

Prices for both Zoo Doo and Bedspread are:

  • Pick-up truck 8×4 bed: $60
  • Pick-up truck 6×4 bed: $45
  • Pick-up truck 6×3 bed: $35
  • Garbage cans: $8 to $10 depending on size
  • Bags: $4 to $6 depending on size
  • Two-gallon and pint-sized buckets are available anytime at the ZooStore for $12.95 and $4.95, respectively.

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Memory loss brings them together, but the memories keep them coming back

November 26th, 2013 by Doree

By Shelby Ehlert, University of Washington News Lab

Most of us can remember a time in our childhood when we visited the local zoo, giddy with excitement to explore the exotic sights, sounds and smells. For one group of people, it’s memory itself that brings them to the Woodland Park Zoo in Phinney Ridge every Monday.

Since its inception in early 2011, the Memory Loss Walk has drawn individuals diagnosed with early-stage memory loss and their caregivers to partake in a morning zoo walk followed by coffee and conversation.

The program is sponsored by several organizations that partnered “because they wanted to offer individuals with mild memory loss the opportunity to join a supportive program that emphasizes socialization as well as the importance of living a healthy lifestyle,” according to Liz Rhine of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The groups involved are the Alzheimer’s Association’s Western and Central Washington State Chapter, Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Lifelong Recreation Program, the Phinney Neighborhood Association and Greenwood Senior Center, Rhine said in an email.

It was a chilly but sunny autumn morning when we met in the Woodland Park Zoo parking lot before heading out for the Northern Trail tour of the zoo.

As soon as the walk began I quickly forgot the environment we were in and became so enthralled in the conversation that it was easy to miss the many animals we passed, as these were clearly not the focus of the walkers.

This was much more than a community activity for individuals with early-stage memory loss and their caregivers – this was a family. They are united by a common experience unique to their group.

“ I think what I benefit most from is the time we spend together,” said Roger Stocker, a participant of the walk since early 2011. “It’s nice to see the stuff we see going around the zoo and I wouldn’t discredit that at all, but I think the big part of it is…the existence and presence of these people. What makes it different from other people is that we have something that we share.”


Memory Loss Walk participants take in the zoo’s bear exhibit.

As Rhine noted, the walk “offers participants an opportunity to hold conversations in a safe and stimulating environment around others who can relate and offer support.”

“You can talk about Alzheimer’s in this group,” said Ruth Mulligan, who has been participating in the walk for a year. “That’s one big difference (compared with other social settings.”

Charlie Reidy, a participant who is affected by Alzheimer’s, said there is a stigma around the disease: People are afraid of it. Because of this, the Alzheimer’s Association provides programs to bridge the gap between individuals with Alzheimer’s and the public. Reidy attends another program that helps people with early-stage memory loss learn to improvise when communicating because the struggle to recall specific words is one of the first symptoms of memory loss.

Reidy said that people react very uncomfortably if they’re talking to someone with memory loss who stops cold in the middle of a sentence. They don’t know how to respond. However, the discomfort can be avoided or at least mitigated if the individual with memory loss can learn to keep talking — even out of context — rather than dwell on the word they’re attempting to recall, Reidy said.

It’s small programs like this that the Alzheimer’s Association, along with its partners, work to provide for individuals with early-stage memory loss that are truly making a difference.

“What we’ve kind of taken as a reminder is that it is what it is,” Stocker said. “What we’ve decided is the only way we can really deal with this is take it one day at a time and live life at the moment.”

“And to the fullest,” added Myriam Marquez, another participant in the walk and an active Alzheimer’s advocate.

For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association’s programs and services and ways to get involved, please contact the 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900 or visit them online at www.alzwa.org.

Shelby Ehlert is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.

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Task force to release final report on Woodland Park Zoo’s elephants tonight

October 22nd, 2013 by Doree

The task force that’s been evaluating Woodland Park Zoo‘s elephant program will present its final report at 6 p.m. tonight (Tuesday) at the Central Library downtown, 1000 4th Ave, 4th Floor, Meeting Room 1, Seattle.

The WPZ board appointed the Task Force to evaluate the zoo’s elephant program and exhibit, the health and care of its three elephants, and the value of the exhibit and program to the zoo’s education and conservation objectives.

At the meeting, Task Force co-chairs Jan Hendrickson, co-founder of Denny Hill Capital, and Jay Manning, an environmental attorney and former chief of staff to Gov. Christine Gregoire, will publicly present the Task Force’s key findings, recommendations and management options for the WPZ Board to consider for the elephant program and exhibit.

More information can be found at www.elephanttaskforce.org. Written questions from the public in attendance will be addressed by the Task Force.

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Protesters plan to demonstrate before 5th Elephant Task Force meeting today

August 28th, 2013 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo’s Elephant Task Force meets again today to discuss the health and well-being of the zoo’s three elephants: Bamboo, Chai and Watoto. The task force meeting is from 4-8 p.m. downtown at the US Bank Center, 1420 5th Ave., 4th Floor Conference Room.

Task force meetings are open to the public. You can see past meeting summaries and video on the task force website.

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants plans to demonstrate before that meeting, beginning at 3 p.m., claiming task force members are too close to the zoo and not objective.

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Still time to enter lottery for prized Zoo Doo

August 19th, 2013 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo’s Fall Fecal Fest is underway. Anyone wanting to purchase some special compost for their garden has until Sept. 6 to enter the lottery drawing.

Zoo Doo steaming with vent tubes Ryan Hawk-resized

Pick up where the animals left off. Zoo Doo is the richest, most prized compost in the Pacific Northwest. Composed of species feces contributed by the zoo’s non-primate herbivores such as elephants, hippos, giraffes and more, Zoo Doo is perfect to grow your veggies and annuals.

Bedspread, the zoo’s premium composted mulch, is a combination of Zoo Doo, sawdust, and large amounts of wood chips. Bedspread is used to cushion perennial beds and woody landscapes including rose beds, shrubs and pathways.

Do you use Zoo Doo to keep your garden growing green? Submit a photo of your Zoo Doo-grown garden on zoo.org/fecalfest and the zoo may feature it on its website!

The ability to purchase Zoo Doo is controlled by lottery, due to the overwhelming demand. Enter online by Sept. 6. Only one entry per person is eligible for each drawing. Postcards are also accepted (separate postcards for Zoo Doo and Bedspread): Dr. Doo, Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th St., Seattle, WA 98103.

Include the following information:

  • Name
  • Day and evening phone numbers
  • Mark postcard: Zoo Doo or B.S.
  • Amount of Zoo Doo or Bedspread you’d like to purchase (anything from a garbage bag to a full-size, pick-up truck load)
  • Weekday or weekend preference for pick-up

Dr. Doo will notify winners only after Sept. 6. Pick-up dates are Sept. 21 through Oct. 6. Winners load their own compost.

Prices for either Zoo Doo or Bedspread: Pick-up truck 8×4 bed – $60; 6×4 bed – $45; 6×3 bed – $35. Limit one full truck per person. Garbage cans: $8 – $10 depending on size; bags: $4 – $6 depending on size. Two-gallon and pint-sized buckets are available anytime at the ZooStore for $12.95 and $4.95, respectively.

For more information, call 206-625-POOP or visit the zoo’s website at www.zoo.org/fecalfest.

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Woodland Park Zoo Jungle Party raises $1.65 million

July 22nd, 2013 by Doree

More than 900 people helped the Woodland Park Zoo raise $1.65 million for animal care, education and conservation programs at its July 12 “Jungle Party.”



Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.

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Neighbors invited to Woodland Park Zoo’s ‘Hoot for the Hood’

June 20th, 2013 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo is hosting its free “Hoot for the Hood” for neighbors from 6:30-8 p.m. on Friday, June 28.

(T)he zoo invites neighbors to join an after-work mix and mingle. Chat with your neighbors, meet some new faces, and hang out with a penguin or two! Then, explore the zoo’s new Bamboo Forest Reserve exhibit. Woodland Park Zoo encourages neighbors to bring their friends and family to enjoy animal encounters, face painting, and conservation crafts.

Enter through the Zoo’s West Plaza. Parking also will be free during the event.

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Zoo’s jaguar cubs are healthy 10 pounds each, getting ready for summer debut

May 28th, 2013 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo’s three jaguar cubs received their first comprehensive exams last week. The 3-month-old cubs each weighed about 10 pounds. They’ll make their debut at Jaguar Cove this summer.


Photo by Jamie Delk, Woodland Park Zoo.

The trio — born in March to the zoo’s jaguar pair, 7-year-old mother Nayla and 14-year-old father Junior — have been under the watchful eye of Nayla since birth. Jaguar births are rare, and as a “near threatened” species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the jaguar triplets are a major milestone for Woodland Park Zoo’s jaguar conservation efforts.

Health updates were put on hold while first-time mother Nayla demonstrated natural motherly care and protection, so much that keepers and veterinarians couldn’t get their hands on the cubs until late last week. Zoo staff has determined the healthy triplets include two girls and one boy, all exhibiting curiously different personalities.

With steady growth and development, the keepers are beginning to introduce the cubs to enrichment items such as boxes, paper towel rolls and small balls. Nayla and the cubs also have access to an outside yard, in addition to their indoor rooms.

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Woodland Park Zookeepers will go “Bowling for Rhinos’ on May 18 to save endangered black rhinos

May 7th, 2013 by Doree

Woodland Park Zookeepers and other members of the Puget Sound chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (PSAAZK), will raise money for endangered black rhinos at the annual “Bowling for Rhinos” on May 18 at Lynnwood Bowl and Skate.

Matt Mills, giraffe keeper at WPZ, says they hope to raise $13,000. The money will be used for rhino conservation projects in Kenya and Indonesia.

Did you know that in 1970 it was estimated that there were approximately 65,000 black rhinos in Africa – but, by 1993, there were only 2,300 surviving in the wild, a 96% decrease? Intensive anti-poaching efforts have had encouraging results; but because the growing purchasing power of many Asian countries, and the existence of organized gangs of poachers who sell rhino horn to black market syndicates in some range countries, the poaching threat remains great and anti-poaching efforts must be continued and accelerated.

100% of all proceeds go directly to support Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) in Kenya, and Ujung Kulon, Bukit Barisan Selatan, and Way Kambas National Parks in Indonesia. LWC is a 65,000-acre sanctuary that protects black rhinos as well as other species from orchids to elephants residing within the sanctuary. Ujung Kulon National Park is home to the last 47 Javan rhinos in the entire world!! Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park is a 3,500 square kilometer lush, lowland tropical rainforest where the Sumatran rhino, tiger, and Malayan sun bear live.

Registration is $25 and includes three hours of bowling, shoe rental and pizza. If you don’t want to bowl but would like to watch and eat pizza, the cost is $15. They will also have a party with trivia, games and a raffle. Bowlers are required to raise a minimum of $30 in donations.

Check out the Bowling for Rhinos Facebook page for more information, and a link to donate directly.

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