Woodland Park Zoo just announced that its Night Exhibit (formerly called the Nocturnal House) will close on March 1. Most of the animals on exhibit there will go to other exhibits throughout the zoo.
(Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.)
The zoo is closing the Night Exhibit because it’s too expensive too operate, and the building is in need of major upgrades.
The animals to remain at the zoo include a pair of two-toed sloths, which will move to the zoo’s award-winning Tropical Rain Forest exhibit. The Rodrigues fruit bats, tamanduas (small anteaters native to South America) and springhaas (small rodents native to southeastern Africa) will move to the zoo’s Adaptations Building. A three-banded armadillo will be used as a presentation animal for up-close education programs. These animals were selected to stay at the zoo primarily because they are not completely “nocturnal,” but rather active during daylight hours as well.
The remaining animals will be moved to other zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) based on recommendations by population managers and Species Survival Plans (SSPs). “Providing quality care to the animals is our priority. Our Animal Management team engaged in a methodical process to identify which animals would stay at the zoo and to find good homes for the other animals,” added Bohmke.
A trio of pygmy lorises, small arboreal primates native to southeast Asia, will live in an exhibit off view to the public. “Although we currently don’t have an exhibit for the public to view these animals, we would still like to participate in the pygmy loris SSP and help maintain the species,” noted Bohmke. “We hope to put them back on view in the future.” SSPs are cooperative breeding programs designed to ensure genetic diversity and demographic stability in accredited North American zoos and aquariums.
(Photo of Rodrigues Fruit Bat by Ryan Hawk, WPZ.)
Many members of the community have expressed interest in exploring a fundraising campaign to keep the Night Exhibit open. “We appreciate the suggestion to raise funds, but this would provide a short-term solution only and would not sustain the annual costs of operation and staffing over the long run,” said Jensen. “We can’t accept donations to keep the exhibit open but we would be very pleased to accept donations to help make modifications to existing areas for the Night Exhibit animals that will remain at the zoo and to support their long-term care, as well as for the evaluation of the building to determine its long-term operation.
Donations to the “Nocturnal Animal Fund” can be made online at: www.zoo.org/nocturnalanimalfund or mailed to: Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th St., Seattle, WA 98103.