SEATTLE – Is losing some extra pounds a New Year’s resolution for you? Woodland Park Zoo carefully monitors the weight of its animals and has acquired a new scale to weigh its hippos. Here’s your chance to guess the weight of the graceful 33-year-old Water Lily and 12-year-old Guadalupe, and win the opportunity to meet the hippos up close.
Beginning today, Washington state residents are invited to guess the COMBINED WEIGHT of both hippos. The entry forms can be found online at www.zoo.org/hippocontest and will be accepted through midnight, January 27, 2012. The winning entry will be the closest to the combined weight.
The prize for the winning entry will be: a meet ‘n’ greet with the zoo’s hippos behind the scenes in the hippo barn, a 4-gallon bucket of Zoo Doo, six single-day passes to the zoo, and a ZooParent hippo adoption with a hippo plush toy.
To be eligible for the prize, entrants must be legal Washington state residents and 18 or older, or have guardian approval. Employees and volunteers of Woodland Park Zoo and members of immediate family are not eligible to participate and win.
A weight-monitoring program is important to help ensure the health of the animals at Woodland Park Zoo and is a part of the zoo’s exemplary animal care program. “The new scale allows us the ability to get an accurate weight on these giant pachyderms and modify their diets if necessary,” said Pat Owen, a collection manager at the zoo. “Our zookeepers have been working diligently to train the girls to step on the scale and hold still for a weight. While most folks balk at hopping on a scale, our hippos can’t read the numbers so the weigh-in shouldn’t be too embarrassing for them,” joked Owen.
Water Lily was born at Houston Zoo and has lived at Woodland Park Zoo since 1979. Lupe arrived in 2003 from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Visitors can enjoy viewing the hippos at the zoo’s award-winning African Savanna where they are often in or near the pool or eating browse on the beach area. Other animals in the African Savanna include giraffe, zebra, ostrich and lions.
Hippos live in western, central, eastern and southern parts of Africa, and are one of the most iconographic species on the African savanna. Excellent swimmers, they prefer to amble along the bottom of slow-moving or stagnant water. An adult hippo can stay under water for up to five minutes. Hippopotamuses are listed as a vulnerable species, primarily because humans have excessively hunted hippos for their meat, fat, ivory teeth and hides.
Zoo winter hours through April 30: 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. daily. Admission fees through April 30: Adult (13-64) $11.75; Child (3-12) $8.50. Free for children 2 and under year round. Active and retired U.S. military and their families, seniors and people with physical disabilities receive an admission discount. Zoo members receive free zoo admission year round. Parking: $5.25. Parking is limited. Consider taking the bus, biking, walking or carpooling. Conserving resources is one more way to help animals. For bus service to the zoo, visit: www.metro.kingcounty.gov.
For more information or to become a zoo member, call 206.548.2500 or 548.2599 (TTY), or visit the zoo’s website at www.zoo.org.