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Zoo News
Aug 07, 2020

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is currently home to nine species of sharks. They live among sea turtles, eagle rays and dozens of fish. The aquarists in both the Pacific Seas Aquarium and the South Pacific Aquarium have a unique way of feeding the sharks to ensure each one receives the food it needs to … Continued

Aug 06, 2020

Are you missing your family and friends? Do you want to wish them a socially distanced “Happy Birthday!” or “Congrats!”? Animal lovers can now share a special message with a wild touch, all from the comfort of your own couch! Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are now offering “Animal Shoutouts.” … Continued

Jul 30, 2020

It’s a warm summer evening, and you’re out for a twilight walk. Suddenly, you spot a pair of bright eyes in the undergrowth. You freeze. A coyote steps out into the silence, bushy-tailed, followed by – yes! – three young pups. Quick as lightning, you whip out your phone and snap a photo. Alerted, they … Continued

Jul 27, 2020

Kali basks, sleepy in the sun. Her golden eyes are half-lidded, her orange-and-black stripes glossy. She’s the picture of tiger health, and gets the best care and enrichment humans can devise. But in the wild, other tigers aren’t so protected. Over 100 are killed every year for their fur and other body parts. Others are … Continued

Jul 23, 2020

Our new penguin chicks are learning to swim! Supervised carefully by keepers in a small, safe pool behind the scenes, they take the plunge and figure it out! They’ll stay there for a few weeks while keepers hand-feed and bond with them. Then, when they lose their downy fluff and grow in the waterproof plumage … Continued

Jul 21, 2020

National Zookeeper Week takes place July 19-25 this year. The week is devoted to sharing the passion and dedication of keepers. Even though Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium was temporarily closed to the public to slow the spread of COVID-19, the keepers never took a pause. They are a dedicated group of people who work … Continued

Jul 17, 2020

July 18 is Global Women’s Dive Day, and we’re so proud of our women diver-aquarists here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Marine biologists who each have countless dive hours here inside our Pacific Seas Aquarium (PSA) and South Pacific Aquarium (SPA), as well as around the world, these ladies lead their fields in animal … Continued

Jul 13, 2020

We all love summer in the Pacific Northwest, but there’s no doubt that some days get pretty hot. Humans are pretty creative in finding ways to beat the heat – splashing, shade, cool clothes – and our Zoo animals do it too! Muskox Muskoxen are adapted for living above the Arctic Circle and nibbling for … Continued

Jul 09, 2020

Alex Trebek’s favorite animal is the muskox. Now, the longtime gameshow host has one named just for him. Meet Trebek, a fuzzy, four-week-old muskox calf at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Adoring fans voted online for his name, chosen from a slate of four offered by zookeepers at the Tacoma zoo. Out of 5,229 votes, … Continued

Jul 07, 2020

Mid-summer might seem like an odd time to think about ice, unless it’s in your drink. But as the planet gets hotter, our sea ice – which animals like polar bears, walrus, seals and Arctic fox need to survive – is vanishing. July 15 is Arctic Sea Ice Day, a great day to think about … Continued

Jul 02, 2020

Have you met Mitik and Pakak yet? Our young male walruses are definitely growing and showing their personalities! They moved here last year as part of a nationwide walrus breeding program, but being only eight years old they’re still in the “teenage” stage. And if you know teenage boys, you know things can get quite … Continued

Jun 30, 2020

He head-butted some rocks. He tasted some clover. Then he galloped back down the hillside to mom. Yes, it’s official – our baby muskox calf is a boy, and now his fans get to vote on his name. (UPDATE: Voting closed 12pm July 8.) The veterinary and animal care team confirmed the sex last Friday … Continued

Jun 30, 2020

It’s time for sharks! And green sea turtles, eagle rays and jellies too. The Pacific Seas Aquarium and South Pacific Aquarium are reopening July 1 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with new protocols to keep guests safe and healthy. Oh, and guests will get to meet Bruno the green sea turtle, too. “Our aquarium … Continued

Jun 22, 2020

Tomatoes. Apples. Almonds. Pumpkin. Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. All pretty important, right? And they all have one thing in common: they need pollinators. Around 1,000 plants that humans use for food, drink, fiber, spices or medicine need to be pollinated by a very special group of animals called pollinators. Bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, hummingbirds, bats and … Continued

Jun 17, 2020

UPDATE June 29: The chicks have moved behind-the-scenes to learn how to swim. Read the story for more! There are the chill kind of parents, who just relax and enjoy their little one. Then there are the intense kind of parents, super-protective and alert. At Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, we’ve got one pair of … Continued

Jun 16, 2020

Bruno, a 23-year-old Atlantic green sea turtle, is joining the Zoo’s two other turtles, Sunny and Azul, in the Pacific Seas Aquarium just in time to celebrate World Sea Turtle Day. Bruno arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium late last year from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. He’s been hanging out behind the … Continued

Jun 09, 2020

It’s a boy! Or maybe a girl! Whatever the gender, it’s pretty perfect timing for a birth announcement. Early Sunday morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Charlotte, a 621-pound muskox, gave birth to a calf, just as the Zoo was preparing to announce its June 18 reopening under Phase 2 of the governor’s Safe … Continued

Apr 17, 2020

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s employees thank the zoo’s irreplaceable volunteers for their time and energy all year-round. In 2019, 364 youth and adult volunteers at the zoo logged a total of 36,385 hours. “I appreciate all of our volunteers for their hard work and dedication to Point Defiance … Continued

Apr 15, 2020

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s 9-month-old tapir calf Kazu is healthy and growing more every day. Like all Malayan tapirs, he was covered in watermelon spots and stripes when he was little, but now he has the sleek black and white stripes of an adult tapir. He still has some baby spots on his chest, … Continued

Apr 10, 2020

How are you coping in quarantine? Staying home and isolated during the coronavirus pandemic isn’t easy, and it’s really important to take care of yourself and those you live with. Luckily, our animals and keepers are experts in caring! Here are 10 Animal Tips to help you stay well at home. Click on any image … Continued

Apr 08, 2020

The penguins at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are entering nesting season! Despite the coronavirus pandemic, keepers at the zoo continue to work and care for the animals. As part of that care, keepers prepared Penguin Point for nesting season, adding long grasses for the Magellanic penguins to use to build their nests. “They need … Continued

Apr 03, 2020

We may be closed due to recent restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), but our keepers and veterinary team are still at the zoo every day caring for our animals. From enrichments to treats, check-ups to scratch-downs, here’s how we’re #closedbutstillcaring. Click on any image to start the slideshow. Mouse over to see … Continued

Mar 30, 2020

NOTE: This exam took place before recent social distancing recommendations were mandated. “Everyone ready?” Seven heads nodded, seven pairs of feet braced in neoprene boots, and four pairs of thickly-gloved hands readied a wide, webbed stretcher. The aquarist team had gathered in the South Pacific Aquarium isolation pool at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, with … Continued

Mar 12, 2020

“There’s a dentist for that?!” That might be the first reaction for many when they hear Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s sea otter Libby took a trip to the dentist’s office (AKA the healthcare center at the zoo). Dr. Kevin Stepaniuk, FAVD, DAVDC owns Veterinary Dentistry Education and Consulting Services and Veterinary Intraoral Radiology Reading … Continued

Feb 21, 2020

On the visitor side, the jellyfish gallery in the Pacific Seas Aquarium is a serene blue world of floating, pulsing forms. From eggcup to dinner-plate size, they hover in a kind of translucent eternity. Behind a nearby door, however, is another world; a world of bubbling tanks, petri dishes and complicated piping. This is the … Continued

Feb 20, 2020

It was about as far away visually as you could get from a cute clouded leopard cub. Scientifically, though, it was the first step of the journey. As veterinary and keeper staff from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium watched closely, Dr. Pierre Comizzoli from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) angled a laparoscopic camera inside … Continued

Feb 11, 2020

Calf expected this summer Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has one more reason to celebrate muskoxen Charlotte and Hudson this Valentine’s Day: they are expecting a calf this summer. Recent tests confirmed five-year-old Charlotte is pregnant, zoo General Curator Dr. Karen Goodrowe said. The father is four-year-old Hudson. Charlotte experienced pregnancy for the first time … Continued

Feb 06, 2020

They communicate with each other. Send out pheromones when stressed. Adapt to the environment. Care for their children. Live in community. Breathe. No, we’re not talking animals here, or humans. We’re talking trees – those giants who include the oldest, heaviest and tallest living beings on the planet, and about whom science is constantly making … Continued

Feb 06, 2020

Caring for the World’s Oldest Male Polar Bear  As Boris splashed in the pool, it was as if age didn’t matter. Paw-slamming a brown ball, pushing around a blue trash can and play-wrestling with his younger buddy Blizzard, the 34-year-old polar bear swam and flipped like a youngster. Then he hauled himself out, shook out … Continued

Jan 30, 2020

A new Atlantic green sea turtle, named Bruno, recently arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. He’s about 23-years-old and came to Tacoma from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Nebraska. On Tuesday, Bruno received a routine check-up with the Zoo’s veterinary staff. Bruno, like all animals new to the Zoo, must get a … Continued