Woodland Park Zoo: From Dragons to Bears

The Woodland Park Zoo is sectioned into regions; African Savanna, Tropical Asia, Australasia, Northern Trail, Tropical Rain Forest and Temperate Forest.  In this post you’ll discover the animals and exhibits that call the zoo’s Australasia and Northern Trail exhibits home.

snow leopardOne of the most endangered and majestic animals of Asia, the snow leopard, also calls the Woodland Park Zoo home.  In another large, forested enclosure you’ll find the reclusive snow leopard who was elegantly curled up on a rock asleep during my visit.  To know how rare it is to see one of these amazing cats in the wild it was an honor and pleasure to stand and watch him sleep peacefully, knowing here he’d be safe.

Komodo dragonIn the Australasia region you’ll meet Komodo dragons, a large adult and a few young.  I’m always amazed by these bulky reptiles with saliva that is teeming with over 50 strains of bacteria.  They might be dangerous but they are so cool to watch as they prowl around with their 300 plus pounds and strong pigeon-toed gait.

Other animals you’ll encounter here are emus, wallaby, the lowland anoa that is sadly endangered like many other species due to habitat loss and hunting.  Also within the Australasia region you’ll find a plethora of birds, from kookaburra to masked lapwing and blue-faced honey eaters.  It’s here you can also visit the Willawong Station, home to over a 100 birds, where visitors can feed a variety of parrot species found in Australia like parakeets, cockatiels and the beautifully coloured eastern rosella.

gray wolfRoosevelt elkJust past Australasia you’ll find the Northern Trail home to North American species that inhabit northern habitats like the Tundra, Taiga and Montane.  The Northern Trail is also one of Woodland Park Zoo’s award-winning exhibits and is home to arctic foxes, mountain goats, the stunning Steller’s sea eagle and the snowy owl.  I first encountered the still thick coated Roosevelt elk who are endemic to Washington, some sitting down while others grazed the rich green grass but I was struck by their neighbours on the adjacent hillside – a pack of gray wolves!  Now this is probably a strategic placing for predator and prey for enrichment, but don’t worry the prey is safe here.

In another fantastic exhibit, with a large pool of water, river running through over a small waterfall, full of dense forest and vegetation I found two brown bears play fighting in their pool, much to the amusement of visitors who packed in to watch.  It really is amazing to see these 700 pound animals open their mouth wide and see their massive teeth and catch sight of their strong powerful claws up close with nothing but a glass viewing window between you.

brown bearsNext door to the battling brown bears were the river otters.  Yet another great exhibit with grass to romp in and waterfalls dropping into a large pool where I watched as they dove with their stream lined bodies like torpedoes into the depths of the water to catch fish to bring up to the rocks to munch on as they held it between their front paws.

One thing is for sure there seemed to always be action going on in many of these enclosures which to me showed the health and happiness of the Woodland Park Zoo’s animals.

For more photos from my visit to Woodland Park Zoo check out Lady of the Zoos on Facebook

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