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


Zoo’s newborn sloth bear cub dies

December 30th, 2015 by Doree

Two day ago Woodland Park Zoo announced the birth of a sloth bear cub. Sadly, today the zoo announced the cub died sometime last night.

Born December 19 to first-time mother, 3-year-old Kushali, the cub died of unknown causes overnight under the care of its mother in a private maternity den. This is the second cub to pass from Kushali’s December 19 litter—the first cub was not viable and did not survive past the first 48 hours.

“Kushali and her cub were being monitored closely by staff using cameras with microphones mounted in the maternity den,” said Martin Ramirez, Woodland Park Zoo mammal curator. “Observations indicated that the mother was attentive and nursing. Unfortunately, sometime between 9:00 p.m. and midnight on December 29, the cub passed away while the mother slept. She was observed on the cameras trying to wake it and could be heard calling it but the cub was unresponsive.”

It is not uncommon for first time sloth bear mothers to lose their litter. Sloth bears are born extremely small and blind at birth. They open their eyes at between 3 to 4 weeks old and can walk shortly after their eyes open. The first 72 hours is very critical for a cub, though it is important to monitor cubs the first few months to ensure they continue to grow and remain healthy.

“Because it is a defense mechanism in this species to consume any dead offspring so as not to attract predators, we may never know the cause of death of either cub,” said Ramirez. “It was clear that Kushali, a first time mother, was attentive and showing all the appropriate maternal behaviors, so the cubs may have been born compromised in some way but that is speculation at this point. While we’re saddened by the loss of the cubs, we were encouraged to have seen Kushali doing everything she could to care for them. She will have other opportunities to breed in the future.”

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Woodland Park Zoo cancels WildLights tonight due to storm and high wind warnings

December 3rd, 2015 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo has canceled tonight’s WildLights because of warnings of a storm bringing strong winds. WildLights is scheduled to resume tomorrow evening. All tickets purchased in advance are valid for entry on all nights through Jan. 3 (closed Dec. 24-25).

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Balconies and windows needed for holiday monkeys

October 19th, 2015 by Doree

Last year, 200 lighted monkeys hung around in local businesses and public spaces like the library as a way to promote our neighborhood business district. Even more monkeys are planned for this year.


Businesses and community members can “foster” a monkey from Thanksgiving through New Year’s for just $25. The first 75 household sponsors will receive a pair of tickets to Woodland Park Zoo’s WildLights preview night on Nov. 24.

New this year, community members living along Phinney-Greenwood avenues from North 59th to 87th streets or on 85th Street can hang a monkey in their window or from their upper balcony if it faces Phinney Avenue, Greenwood Avenue, or 85th Street.

The Phinney Neighborhood Association Business Group dreamed up the monkeys as a way to tie in with WildLights, to draw even more visitors to the neighborhood and generate funds to maintain the monkeys and support other community activities, from the GloCone lighting to Summer Streets.

If you’d like to foster a monkey, all you need is $25, a guardrail to which a monkey can be attached with plastic ties, and an electrical receptacle – monkeys stay lit 24/7 but each draws less than two watts of power. In return, you’ll receive two complimentary tickets to the zoo’s WildLights preview on Monday, November 23.

Interested? Please email biz@phinneycenter.org or call 206.783.2244.

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Second community meeting for Woodland Park Zoo Sensory Garden design is Oct. 21

October 7th, 2015 by Doree

The second meeting for community input on Woodland Park Zoo’s new Sensory Garden is from 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6552 Phinney Ave. N.

Seattle Parks and Recreation staff will present a preferred design that was developed from community input, and will gather additional ideas to be incorporated into the final design.

This community-initiated project develops a garden for the senses by adding enhanced sight, touch, smell and sound elements with the intent to increase accessibility and provide a welcoming atmosphere and experience for all. The Sensory Garden is an expansion of Woodland Park Zoo Rose Garden on .7 acres of existing zoo property. The new garden will be located adjacent to the Rose Garden at Woodland Park Zoo at 700 N 50th Street.

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Help design new Seattle Sensory Garden at Woodland Park Zoo

September 4th, 2015 by Doree

The community is invited to help design the new Seattle Sensory Garden at Woodland Park Zoo. The first public meeting is from 7-8:30 p.m. next Thursday, Sept. 10, at the Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave N., in the downstairs Red Room of the Blue Building.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s project manager and the design team of Fischer Bouma Partnership, Richard Hartlage of Land Morphology and Mark Epstein of Hafs Epstein, will provide project information and gather community input for the garden’s design.

The goal of the project is to develop a garden for the senses by adding sight, touch, smell and sound elements to increase accessibility and provide a welcoming atmosphere and experience for all. The Sensory Garden is an expansion of the Rose Garden at Woodland Park Zoo.

This community-initiated project is funded by the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund. Seattle Parks and Recreation has been coordinating with Woodland Park Zoo, the Lions Club, Hearing, Speech & Deafness Center, Lighthouse for the Blind, ARC of King County and the Phinney Neighborhood Association.

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Woodland Park Zoo’s ‘Hoot for the Hood’ event celebrates neighbors

June 20th, 2015 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo is hosting its annual “Hoot for the Hood” neighbor event from 6:30-8 p.m. Friday, June 26, to thank neighbors in Phinney Ridge, Wallingford, Fremont and Green Lake.

Chat with your neighbors, make new friends and hang out with our new maned wolves. We encourage neighbors to bring friends and family to enjoy this exclusive evening.

Entrance is free and so is evening parking. Enter through the West Plaza on Phinney Avenue North between North 55th and 56th streets.

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Woodland Park Zoo elephants arrive in Oklahoma City

May 13th, 2015 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo’s elephants, Chai and Bamboo, have arrived at their new home in Oklahoma City, after being diverted to San Diego last month.

KING 5 had a crew on scene when the elephants’ caravan arrived about 3 a.m. at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

The elephants left Seattle after a years-long fight with animal activists over the elephants’ well being. Activists fought for the elephants to be moved to a sanctuary instead of another zoo. The elephants left for Oklahoma City hours after a judge gave the okay, but the caravan was diverted to San Diego due to severe weather.

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ZooTunes tickets go on sale Friday

April 20th, 2015 by Doree

Tickets for Woodland Park Zoo’s ZooTunes concert series go on sale at 8 a.m. Friday, April 24.

Here’s the lineup:

  • June 19 – The Doobie Brothers with special guest Pat Simmons Jr.
  • June 28 – The B-52s
  • July 12 – Indigo Girls
  • July 21 – Melissa Etheridge & Blondie
  • July 22 – Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
  • July 26 – “Sweet Harmony Soul” featuring Mavis Staples, Patty Griffin & Amy Helm
  • July 29 – Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
  • August 9 – Ziggy Marley
  • August 16 – Trampled By Turtles & The Devil Makes Three
  • August 19 – Kenny Loggins

One child (12 and under) is free with each paid general admission ticket. Online tickets are available through a new system this year via Ticketfly. You can also buy tickets at zoo gates during regular zoo hours.

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UPDATED: Woodland Park Zoo elephants on the road to Oklahoma City Zoo

April 15th, 2015 by Dale

Update Thursday: Woodland Park Zoo posted an FAQ on its website with answers to questions about the move, including why it happened without advanced notice, and what keepers packed for the elephants on their 40-hour journey.

Update 6:25 p.m.: We just saw the flatbed truck with the elephants in climate-controlled crates leave Woodland Park Zoo, heading north on Phinney Avenue with an escort of police cars.

Earlier: The Woodland Park Zoo elephants are being prepared for their move to Oklahoma City, according to KING 5 news, which has a story being updated here.

You can also see live video of the preparations.

That’s the reason for the news helicopters hovering over the neighborhood. The noise from them is causing some consternation, say commenters on the PhinneyWood Facebook page.

Update 5:30 p.m.: Plenty of camera crews and reporters are stationed at the zoo’s South Entrance, waiting for the trucks carrying Chai and Bamboo to begin their journey to Oklahoma.


Today the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied an appeal for a federal preliminary injunction by the Elephant Justice Project (which is affiliated with Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants), which has been trying to have the elephants sent to a sanctuary rather than another zoo. Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants has spent years highlighting what it says are unbearable conditions for zoo elephants. The group even hosted a press conference with actress/comedienne (and animal rights activist) Lily Tomlin in 2009.

The zoo had resisted calls to shut down its elephant exhibit for years, and in 2013 a task force had even recommended it expand its elephant program, but in November 2014 the zoo decided to close down its elephant program. In February the zoo announced it would send its remaining two elephants to Oklahoma City. The Seattle Times published a story on April 10 with details about the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Here’s today’s official statement from the zoo’s president and CEO, Dr. Deborah Jensen, posted on the zoo’s website.

SEATTLE – United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit today denied an emergency motion for injunctive relief. Following is a statement released by Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO Dr. Deborah Jensen:

“We are grateful to the federal Ninth Circuit for denying the emergency motion for a preliminary injunction that would have delayed the move of our two elephants to Oklahoma City Zoo.

“Today’s decision clears the way for us to proceed with moving our elephants, Bamboo and Chai, to join their new family at Oklahoma City Zoo. Focusing on the welfare of our elephants remains our top priority and it is important for us to move them now while the weather conditions are favorable.

“For the safety and security of Bamboo and Chai, we are unable to announce the exact timing of departure but will inform our zoo family and community once they have safely left the grounds of Woodland Park Zoo.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, I want to thank the community for your continued support during this complicated time. We will keep everyone updated when the elephants are on the road.”

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