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Zoo News
Dec 04, 2018

We love walruses – and especially the three walrus ladies of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Joan, Basilla and Kulusiq (or Kulu, for short) each have their own unique physical and personality traits, interacting with their keepers in their own special ways. For Walrus Awareness Week (Dec. 2-8), we’re celebrating our three lovely Pacific walruses. … Continued

Dec 03, 2018

On a cold, wet November morning, veterinary technician Julie Lemon is lying on her stomach on a hard floor. Angling her pony-tailed head, she carefully positions a small metal wand between the hard, pointy toes of a tapir, who’s anesthetized and sleeping soundly in his den. Then she presses a button, and a stream of … Continued

Nov 30, 2018

For many years now, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has been saving energy every night of Zoolights with LED bulbs – in fact, we’ve been totally LED since 2014. But now the Zoo will be making energy during the day as well, thanks to 71 brand-new solar panels on the roof of a building most … Continued

Nov 20, 2018

How do you get a 100-foot octopus onto an aquarium roof? No, it’s not the first line of a joke. It’s just one of the challenges faced by the Zoolights crew at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as they spend most of October and November prepping for the 31-year-old holiday lights show. But it’s a … Continued

Nov 01, 2018

Calling all teens to save the ocean! Our ocean is in danger – from plastic, pollution, overfishing and climate change. But thanks to a partnership between Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium, local youth can learn and be inspired to help protect it. The Youth Ocean Conservation Summit is a one-day event from … Continued

Oct 29, 2018

No, you won’t find a Tyrannosaurus next to the tigers. But Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has dozens of living things whose roots go back hundreds of millions of years. Ferns, mosses, cycads and ginkoes – not to mention the Wollemi pine or monkey puzzle tree. Yep, we’re talking plants: living fossils that have been … Continued

Oct 25, 2018

Just outside the remote town of Churchill, Manitoba, a male polar bear ambles northwards. Full-grown, he’s spent the summer on land, eating nothing – his main food is seal, found on the ice of nearby western Hudson Bay. And now, as fall turns to chilly Canadian winter, that sea ice is re-forming – and our … Continued

Oct 24, 2018

How does it feel to be the oldest siamang – probably – in North America? Well, for Cho Cho, snuggled up with his companion Dudlee on a crisp fall morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it seemed pretty cozy. This year Cho Cho is celebrating his 51st birthday – which makes him the oldest … Continued

Oct 18, 2018

Endangered Malayan tapirs Yuna and Baku strolled around one of the Asian Forest Sanctuary exhibits on Wednesday afternoon, grazing on grasses – and keeping a secret. Not even the birds perched in the nearby trees would tweet the news. But we can let you in on this uber-exciting development today. Hooray! Hooray! A baby tapir … Continued

Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them to you! Vet techs assist veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care, and they care deeply about our animals – often in very practical ways. We couldn’t do without them. (Meet our other vet tech, Julie.) Lauren … Continued

Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them to you! Vet techs assist veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care, and they care deeply about our animals – often in very practical ways. We couldn’t do without them. (Meet our other vet tech, Lauren.) Julie … Continued

Oct 04, 2018

It’s more than just a play of light. Wander down the ramps of the new Pacific Seas Aquarium, and you’ll pass through shimmers of colored light. You’re immersed in their play and flicker, as if swimming through a sunlit lagoon. It’s art – the light installation “Shimmer,” by California artist Gordon Huether – but the … Continued

Sep 26, 2018

Animal care aide Jordan Jirik lies flat on her stomach, her head hanging over the top of Baja Bay’s 280,000-gallon habitat. Below her, five hungry spotted eagle rays swim eagerly up to a large black sign with a big white X emblazoned on it. It’s their feeding-station target. And when it appears in the water, … Continued

Sep 25, 2018

Agaves with shark teeth. Trees that poke you. Carnivorous plants. If you think the plant world is all about pretty flowers, it’s time to think again – and time for the Zoo’s annual Savage Garden tour. No, not the band. The actual Zoo garden, which is full of poky, skeletal and otherwise Halloween-themed plants – … Continued

Sep 11, 2018

Two dozen necks crane up, up, up, eyes riveted on the scene above, as four hammerhead sharks cruise overhead. Sunny the sea turtle joins the scene, swimming unhurriedly by and then diving deeper into his home. Suddenly, two eagle rays “fly” overhead, their pectoral fins gently flapping up and down to propel them through the … Continued

Aug 28, 2018

Dozer, the lovable, 3,078-pound walrus with the 17-inch-long tusks and unmistakable whistle, is leaving Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium mid-September. But there’s still time to bid him farewell. He’ll be featured on the marine mammal Keeper Talks at 3pm Saturday Sept. 15 and Sunday Sept. 16, the last weekend before he leaves. Dozer’s a crowd … Continued

Aug 28, 2018

“Do you need more padding?” Kait Rhoads is standing, hands on hips, near a tentacled lump swathed in bubble wrap. Four men hover, poised to act. As one micro-adjusts a padding blanket on a lift, the others set hands on the bubble wrap. “Ready? One, two, three, up!” With two weeks to go until the … Continued

Aug 25, 2018

With soft pale fur and sharp claws, Terra moseys up a log. She goes farther, her long tail wrapping for balance, sniffing and exploring until she’s way overhead. Then, without fuss, she makes her way back almost upside-down. Meet Terra, the Zoo’s new Southern tamandua. “She loves to climb,” says Jessie Sutherland, staff biologist at … Continued

Aug 24, 2018

For a meet-up of two engineers, things were going swimmingly. Walnut, the Zoo’s North American beaver, was grabbing a willow branch in his mouth and purposefully dragging it across the grass. His companion Nutmeg, who’d recently moved to her new Zoo home from sister zoo Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, was thoroughly investigating the grassy space. … Continued

Aug 08, 2018

Already, glorious lion’s mane jellyfish swim beautifully against a bright blue backdrop in the Jelly Gallery of the Pacific Seas Aquarium. They are mesmerizing. Their gelatinous, umbrella-shaped bells move water in and out, tentacles trailing below, as they move majestically through their watery space. The countdown is on. There are just 30 days until the … Continued

Jul 16, 2018

It was almost as if they knew it was moving day. Nearly 100 bright red, bigscale soldierfish splashed in their behind-the-scenes pool in the old North Pacific Aquarium, so energetic they threw water up and out of the net that covered their temporary home. “They know our blue shirts,” said Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium … Continued

Jun 26, 2018

Dozer is back! He arrived mid-November, and will spend part of each day on exhibit. All the ladies love Dozer The hunky 3,450-pound walrus with the 17-inch tusks has come back to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – but it’s not just visitors who’ll be charmed by the enormous whistling guy. Dozer’s back in town … Continued

Jun 22, 2018

In a corner of the Pacific Seas Aquarium, Maria Jost is putting up a poster. With guest engagement coordinator Amy Hale holding up one corner on a stepladder, Jost surveys the big paper proof for size and fit. Spotlit, the corner is a tiny island of human activity in an otherwise-underwater room: teal-swept walls, rock-edged … Continued

Jun 19, 2018

Our baby boy muskox Hudson is growing up – and just met his girlfriend Charlotte. After 2-year-old Hudson got closer in size to the 3-year-old Charlotte) keepers put him together with her in the Arctic Tundra habitat. And they’re getting along perfectly, says senior keeper Shannon Smith. “He’s being the boy, saying ‘That’s my food,’” … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Our incredible staff goes through extreme lengths for medical procedures to help treat all Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium animals, from a small turtle to a massive tiger. Four veterinarians, two dentists, two dental assistants, one x-ray technician and several caring zookeepers gave one endangered Sumatran tiger a root canal last Friday. Kirana did great … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

This is an archive of a trip by staff biologist Telena Welsh, who visited Java, Indonesia to work with other conservation experts to learn how we can prevent the extinction of the lowland anoa. Telena’s’s trip was made possible through The Zoo Society’s Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Follow education curator Karen Povey and head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf as they visit the rainforests of Borneo to work with other conservation experts to learn how we can preserve habitats for clouded leopards and other species.   Tuesday July 28, 2015 We’re off to the rainforest! Dr. Karen Wolf, PDZA’s Head Veterinarian (pictured at … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

NOTE: This is an archive of a trip by staff biologist Cindy Roberts, who visited Churchill, Manitoba to work with other conservation experts to learn about habitat preservation for polar bears. Check back soon for a continuation of this story! Cindy Roberts’ trip was made possible with support from Polar Bears International and The Zoo … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

In Kait Rhoads’ Seattle studio, four people are making a jellyfish. Focusing intently, they thread glass circles onto long steel tentacles, weaving copper wire in and out to keep the circles in place. Even with light floating through the big windows and art and plants everywhere, it’s a tedious job. But the atmosphere’s upbeat. Rhoads’ … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Boris, our 32-year-old polar bear, is in his golden years and experiencing some arthritis and inflammation. To help make sure he has a great quality of life, our veterinary and animal care team are using stem cell therapy in hopes that this treatment will help slow down the progression of his arthritis inflammation. This innovative … Continued