What a year this has been! Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium provided a home and second chance to a rescued sea lion named Björn, celebrated the births of a Southern three-banded armadillo pup and a Southern tamandua pup, among so many other moments. Thanks for being here on this journey with us. Enjoy our best photos of 2021, taken by staff photographer Katie Cotterill.The penguins celebrated Pride weekend with a disco ball!
Twiggy, a red-legged seriema, on stage during a Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater Training Demo.
A wild hummingbird visited the Zoo.
The Zoo welcomed lar gibbon brothers Aries and Orion.
Clark the vulture stares intensely at the zoo’s staff photographer.
A gentle sea lion, rescued after being blinded by bullets and likely attacked by a shark, arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in May.
Southern three-banded armadillos Vespa and Scooter welcomed a female pup into the world in late October, making them both first-time parents. The pup is the first healthy armadillo pup born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in its 116-year history.
Both staff biologists and the veterinary staff at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium brought a rare penguin chick back to good health, just days after it was suffering from what appeared to be dehydration.
Terra the Southern tamandua gave birth to Liana, a healthy female pup in April.
A four-month-old clouded leopard cub named Rakhan joined the Zoo in December.
Suki, the Zoo’s senior elephant, enjoyed a full watermelon all at once.
Dudlee the siamang celebrated Pride with colorful enrichments.
The Zoolights crew assembles the giant Pacific octopus on top of the closed North Pacific Aquarium.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s jelly team collected jellyfish from Puget Sound. Moon jellies are plentiful in the waters around the Pacific Northwest. (All collection is done under a permit from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, which monitors populations carefully.) Moon jellies are natural food for other jellyfish, like lion’s mane and egg yolk jellies, which are both in the Pacific Seas Aquarium.
The aquatic animals in the South Pacific Aquarium brought lots of joy to Zoo guests.
This White’s Tree Frog enjoyed its time on a bamboo stick in Kids’ Zone.
Clark the vulture spreads his wings.
Suki the elephant enjoyed many training sessions throughout the year with her keepers.
A fish caught a glimpse of its reflection in a diver’s goggles.
Blizzard the polar bear gets a wellness exam.
Tamanduas Terra and Liana join staff biologist Jessie on the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater stage.
Ruby the hornbill gave guests during Zoo Boo an exciting fly-over.
A lar gibbon swings from ropes.
Zoo fans named the new giant Pacific octopus “Gertie”, referring to the Tacoma legend that the largest octopus in the world inhabits the underwater ruins of the collapsed Tacoma Narrows Bridge, nicknamed Galloping Gertie.
Kevin the peacock explores the Zoo grounds.
Tilli the aardvark on stage at Wild Wonders with staff biologist Sara.
The lemurs enjoy a rainbow-colored ice enrichment.
Point Defiance Zoo’s incredible staff photographer Katie Cotterill took portraits of keepers and their favorite animals, superimposing them in her camera as a double-exposure shot. The results were magic.
Sekiu the sea otter poses adorably during a training session with keepers.
Rio the penguin chick learned to swim and joined the other penguins at Penguin Point.
Staff Biologist Stephanie showed us what it’s like to work as a keeper in the Rocky Shores area of the Zoo.
Blizzard the polar bear goes for a swim.
Pebbles the burrowing owl shows off its bright eyes.
Ruby the hornbill catches a treat during a training session.
Liana the tamandua pup shows off her long tongue.
Head Veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf assists veterinary technician Julie Lemon as they perform surgery on a sea otter.