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Animal Care and Husbandry



Animal care and husbandry

Woodland Park Zoo employs state-of-the-art veterinary care and expert staff to care for the animals at the zoo and help animals in the wild.


Our animal care professionals are experts in their field and national leaders in providing the highest quality care for our animals every day. Zookeepers, curators and veterinarians manage scientific nutrition, animal husbandry and behavioral enrichment programs to ensure that all animals on zoo grounds thrive.

The zoo cares for approximately 1,100 animals, the largest live collection in Washington State, representing nearly 300 species including more than 40 of which are endangered or threatened.

The finest veterinary care

Ensuring animal welfare is a 365-day responsibility. From preventative check-ups to emergency medicine, our vets provide the finest state-of-the-art care to our animals in an on-site animal hospital.

The zoo's animal health staff set national standards, provide in-house medical care and work with multiple partners, including the University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Children's Hospital.

Bringing new animals to the zoo

From the shortest insect to the tallest giraffe, each year we bring new animals large and small to Woodland Park Zoo from other zoos across the country to balance out our numbers or to ensure genetic diversity for breeding endangered species.


Education Programs

Woodland Park Zoo provides children with essential lessons in environmental education.


Students across Washington state need a gateway to nature.

  • More than 65,000 students visit the zoo on school- sponsored trips each year.

  • The zoo reaches more than 19,000 students through classroom visits around the state, educating them about wildlife and the preservation of habitats.

  • Subsidized entrance fees and transportation costs enable 13,000 students from underserved communities to visit the zoo.

  • Hundreds of educators participate in zoo-sponsored teacher institutes that provide in-depth curriculum development for programs across the state.


Up-close encounters with animals leave lasting impressions.

  • The zoo features numerous nationally award-winning exhibits exclusively designed to give visitors “nose-to-nose” experiences.

  • Zoo Corps, our educational program for teens, provides hands-on conservation experience and teaches social skills and confidence.

  • Early childhood learning programs throughout the region can visit Woodland Park Zoo free of charge, providing our youngest students with their first encounters with animals.

  • The zoo’s innovative and interactive play area, Zoomazium, teaches more than 500,000 children annually through exploration and nature play.


Woodland Park Zoo is a “living classroom,” reaching more than 1 million people every year.

  • The zoo’s award-winning exhibits simulate wildlife habitats and feature nearly 300 species of animals from around the world, many threatened or endangered.

  • Nearly 40,000 tickets are distributed to nonprofit and charitable organizations throughout King County, providing seniors, low-income and handicapped individuals the opportunity to visit the zoo.

  • Keeper talks and docent presentations provide important and intimate learning experiences for visitors.

  • Hundreds of educational signs present information on wildlife natural history, behavior and conservation projects.

  • The zoo’s 92 acres feature thousands of trees, plants, shrubs and flowers representing the wide diversity of plant life around the world, building appreciation and knowledge about the world’s habitats.



As resources become increasingly scarce, the zoo is taking action to preserve and sustain our natural environment.


Zoomazium roof -2

We practice sustainability as we preserve the planet’s wildlife and habitats.

  • Zoomazium is the nation’s first LEED Gold certified building in a zoo, utilizing a green “living” roof, and sustainable and recycled materials.

  • The Zoo Doo composting program creates more than 1 million pounds of compost and saves $60,000 in disposal costs every year.

  • Woodland Park Zoo practices sustainable purchasing, waste-free events and recycling, saving more than 1 million pounds of materials in 2007.

  • The zoo incorporates “green” practices into daily work, including energy efficient lighting, wise paper purchasing and use, and inter-office composting.


From our backyards to our back country, Woodland Park Zoo protects the environmental health of the Pacific Northwest.

  • “Green infrastructure” improvements in the new Humboldt penguin exhibit saves 3 million gallons of water and reduces energy consumption by 75 million BTUs, or the equivalent of 24 million pints of drinking water and heating five two-bedroom houses, each year.

  • The zoo’s local conservation has brought Washington state’s native western pond turtle population back from near extinction.

  • New conservation programs are aimed at preserving Oregon spotted frogs and northern spotted owls.

  • Woodland Park Zoo’s tree canopy has more than quadrupled in the last 50 years, creating habitat for urban wildlife and absorbing millions of pounds of greenhouse gases.

hutan elephant conservation

Woodland Park Zoo supports wildlife and habitat preservation through conservation leadership around the world.

  • The zoo supports 37 field conservation projects, ranging from butterflies to elephants, in more than 50 countries about the world.

  • The Partners for Wildlife program supports field research, habitat preservation and community involvement to protect species as diverse as gorillas in Africa, elephants in Asia, and the rare silverspot butterfly in the Northwest.

  • The zoo participates in Species Survival Plans for 35 endangered animals.

  • Of the 300 species represented at Woodland Park Zoo, of which more than 40 are endangered or threatened.

  • The zoo connects with hundreds of wildlife scientists, veterinarians, zoos and universities, creating a global network of conservation professionals.