Dear Zoo Community,

As we write to you, the unprecedented global Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic continues. The zoo has been closed to the public since March 12. With so much uncertainty, our zoo is taking extraordinary measures to remain resilient and resolute defenders of our conservation mission. We are also committed to be a green oasis that connects people with wildlife and with each other. Our 2019 Impact Report explores how we made a difference for animals in profound ways because of you.

With your partnership, Woodland Park Zoo continues to set new standards in North America and around the world. In 2019, efforts to make the zoo more accessible and inclusive earned us the University of Washington’s Haring Center Champion for Inclusion Award. We brought backyard scientists into our movement for wildlife through the unveiling of the Seattle Urban Carnivore Project. Mobile Zoo launched, bringing ambassador animal experiences to every corner of our community. The passage of the King County Parks Levy ensured that tens of thousands of King County students will continue to experience wild animals up close every year. Further, we were honored by the distinction of being the only zoo or aquarium to be named one of Time Magazine for Kids’ “Coolest Places in the World” late last year.

We are the people who would do anything for animals. When our baby giraffe, Hasani, was born with leg abnormalities that required special shoes and braces, our around-the-clock care and animal health innovations resulted in his full recovery. As we shared Hasani’s journey, his story garnered international media attention, sparking connections around the world with new friends, fellow animal lovers and people who have overcome exceptional odds.

The 2020 coronavirus crisis presents unprecedented challenges for each one of us. We will deliver on our commitment to our community by providing best-in-class animal care. We continue preparations to welcome our community back to our green oasis as soon as we are able to resume normal operations. If this year returns to some semblance of normalcy, we aim to reopen our Northern Trail exhibit as the Living Northwest Trail. Our beloved grizzly bears, wolves, elk and mountain goats will remain. New to the zoo will be the exciting additions of Canada lynx and Western pond turtles. The Living Northwest Trail will be our first-ever exhibit to immerse visitors in the extraordinary ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest and serve as a beacon of community, hope and optimism of how all of us can come together.

From all of us at Woodland Park Zoo, thank you for your partnership. We could not achieve our mission without your generosity and commitment to be All for Wildlife.

Alejandro Grajal, PhD
President and CEO

Matthew Rosauer
Chair, Board of Directors



Highlights of a few of the year’s many successes YOU made possible


Hasani Inspires the World

Our community collectively held its breath last summer as we witnessed the birth of giraffe Hasani. Hasani had rear leg abnormalities that hindered his ability to stand and walk. Woodland Park Zoo’s expert team of animal health and care specialists worked with a team of international experts. Custom-fashioned therapeutic shoes and leg casts allowed Hasani to stand tall enough to nurse and take his first steps outside. Hasani’s story of recovery and spirit reached 744,250,000 news impressions around the world and inspired all of us to work even harder to protect these majestic creatures in the wild. Today, Hasani can be found on our African Savanna, chasing after zebras under the watchful eyes of dad Dave, mom Olivia and aunt Tufani.

Growing Up Gorilla

Yola, our baby gorilla born in late 2015, has lived a momentous life in her four years at Woodland Park Zoo. This year, author Clare Meeker published “Growing Up Gorilla,” a chronicle of Yola’s life as she helped form a durable family unit among Woodland Park Zoo’s western lowland gorillas. When she was first born, Yola’s inexperienced mother walked away instead of nurturing the baby. “Growing Up Gorilla” tells the story of Woodland Park Zoo animal keepers and our gorillas working together to help mom and baby form a lasting, nurturing bond. Yola’s story is a learning experience for children within their own multi-generational families. “Growing Up Gorilla” can be purchased at our ZooStores or wherever fine books are sold.

Bridging an Ocean with the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program

Two Pacific Rim nations came together when the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) launched a cultural exchange between the people of the YUS-region of Papua New Guinea and the Lummi Nation. Woodland Park Zoo hosted Papua New Guinea partners as they joined the traditional Salish Sea canoe journey of Pacific Northwest Tribal Nations. The zoo also hosted a reception featuring our TKCP partners, the acting-Ambassador of Papua New Guinea to the United States, representatives from state government and members of the Lummi Nation. Through this cultural exchange, indigenous communities deeply invested in the health of environments and peoples are now connecting and combining efforts to protect wildlife, ancient forests, and educating youth to create intergenerational leaders.

Access for All

Making Our Mission Accessible

Woodland Park Zoo knows that our mission of conservation and inspiration requires everyone. In 2019, we introduced Sensory Friendly Fridays at Zoomazium, provided our polylingual staff and volunteers with buttons to assist non-English speakers on grounds and expanded our $35 memberships to foster families. We also created the Volunteer Inclusion Program to be as accessible as possible for individuals with disabilities. Our Zoo for All Initiative added a day to celebrate the incredible diversity of cultures in our state. And we hosted the 23rd Annual Puget Sound Buddy Walk with Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound. With help from Microsoft and other corporate partners, the zoo also launched our first bi-annual Women of Color Creating Change Symposium.

Toss the Tusk

End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Ending demand for illegally harvested wildlife items would save the lives of millions of animals from thousands of species. In 2014, Washington voters passed a landmark initiative prohibiting the sale of ivory and other “trophies” harvested from endangered and threatened species. 2019 brought the first prosecutions under our state’s landmark wildlife trafficking ban. In conjunction with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Woodland Park Zoo hosted Toss the Tusk, encouraging individuals to surrender any wildlife products with no questions asked. More than 500 wildlife items were turned over to WDFW to keep them permanently off the market. Some of the items will be used for training purposes so that our law enforcement partners can sharpen their efforts to end the global black market for endangered species.

Prop 1 Parks Levy

King County and the Zoo Protect Green Spaces

In August, King County voters overwhelmingly supported the Parks Levy which provides crucial support to Woodland Park Zoo’s education and conservation efforts. This means the zoo will continue to provide environmental science education for the tens of thousands of students who receive free transportation and admission to the zoo through the levy. We cannot thank our community enough for their support of thousands of new acres of protected green space, important and major maintenance projects, and the zoo’s efforts to save the western pond turtle and Oregon silverspot butterfly from extinction, two important species that indicate the health of our Northwest ecosystems.

Mobile Zoo

Coming to a Neighboorhood Near You!

Getting to the zoo can be a challenge for many in our community. So we’re bringing the zoo to you! Woodland Park Zoo’s Mobile Zoo is a specially retrofitted van that transports our ambassador animals and their animal keepers to neighborhoods and events throughout King County with ease and comfort. Featuring reinforced crates for animal safety, running water, and a suite of treats for our ambassador animals, Mobile Zoo has introduced audiences at El Centro de la Raza, East African Community Service, and Seattle Housing Authority (among many others!) to our conservation mission. Mobile Zoo was made possible thanks to generous contributions from Sound Credit Union.

Seattle Urban Carnivore Project

Getting to Know the Neighbors

In partnership with Seattle University, Woodland Park Zoo researchers launched the Seattle Urban Carnivore Project. Using motion-activated cameras installed in a network around Seattle-area green spaces, we are learning how local wildlife behave and move through neighborhoods. This data will help inform policies and guidelines to ensure safe, thriving communities of people and wildlife throughout our region. The zoo also launched, which allows anyone to post a wildlife sighting of the coyotes, black bears, raccoons, mountain lions, river otters and other carnivores that share our region. This treasure trove of data will provide crucial insights to aid conservation efforts at the local, state and federal levels.

Empathy Project

When You Care for Something, You Want to Protect it

In January, Woodland Park Zoo launched the First Annual Empathy Symposium as part of the Advancing Change through Empathy for Wildlife (ACE for Wildlife) Learning Network. In collaboration with 19 other zoos and aquariums and an international team of experts, our zoo is leading the first-of-its-kind network devoted to researching and applying empathy to wildlife conservation. We know that a zoo experience can create indelible memories and spark compassion for non-human animals. Now we are investigating how that empathy for animals can be turned into action. Using measurement tools developed at Woodland Park Zoo, we are helping zoos and aquariums around the world to transform the guest experience into one of conservation action.

Living Northwest

Conservation Starts at Home

The Pacific Northwest is a living system for humans and iconic species such as wolverines, grizzly bears and salmon. In 2019, monitoring technologies we invented studied wolverines in the Washington Cascades and extended our Northwest carnivore research to the Olympic Peninsula. Mountain goats dot the Olympic Mountain landscape despite being a non-native species to this mountain range. Mountain goats are, however, native to the Cascades mountains. To protect the sensitive Olympic Mountain landscape and augment the Cascades population of goats, state agency officials began translocating the goats to their native homes. Woodland Park Zoo stepped up to provide a home for Zeus and Hera, two goat kids who could not be reunited with their mothers. Zeus and Hera will be a focus of attention in the new Living Northwest Trail, set to unveil in 2020.