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Zoo News
Jun 17, 2021

Welcome, Raja! A new endangered Sumatran tiger will make his public debut this weekend (June 19-20) at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and although he is named after the Indonesian word for king, the 2-year-old tiger is actually pretty laid-back. “Raja is a laid-back cat who loves to roll around in the grass and … Continued

Jun 16, 2021

Students from Tacoma School District’s Science and Math Institute (SAMI) recently helped shovel a truckload of sand into Blizzard the polar bear’s habitat. “The sand cools off Blizzard in the hot summer weather and is soft on his feet, too,” said Assistant Curator Sheriden. “Blizzard loves having fresh sand every year and we really appreciate … Continued

Jun 11, 2021

“No pennies in Penguin Point, please!” That’s the message from keepers and veterinary staff at Point Defiance Zoo, after Luna the penguin ingested a penny and became ill. In late May, keepers noticed Luna couldn’t keep her food down. After a call to the Zoo’s veterinarians, x-rays were taken and the results showed two coins, … Continued

Jun 11, 2021

Both staff biologists and the veterinary staff at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium have brought a rare penguin chick back to good health, just days after it was suffering from what appeared to be dehydration. The tiny Magellanic penguin chick, hatched two weeks ago, was found lethargic in its exhibit with its parents in early … Continued

Jun 02, 2021

The Zoo is now home to a 4-month-old opossum baby, known as a joey. The joey, named Ernie by keepers, was found in Burien, after his mother was killed by a dog. Without his mother, Ernie would’ve likely been killed as well by a predator like a coyote, fox, owl, snake or hawk. The rescued … Continued

Jun 01, 2021

June 3, 2021 update: Sadly, one of the chicks passed away on June 2. Veterinary staff are caring for the second chick, providing syringe feedings, extra fluids and antibiotics. The chick seems to be doing a little better. June 1, 2021: Two Magellanic penguin chicks hatched at the Zoo in late May to parents Red … Continued

May 14, 2021

Ever touched a moon jellyfish? Seen baby jellies through a giant microscope? Fed an anemone? Starting June 4, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is bringing back its popular behind-the-scenes experience inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium that lets you do all this and more! The fascinating tour through the backstage areas takes you to places only … Continued

May 11, 2021

Seattle-Tacoma represent! More than 550 observers took part in this year’s City Nature Challenge spanning King and Pierce counties, including Everett, Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Snohomish and any place in between! Between April 30 and May 3, community scientists submitted more than 7,000 nature observations and identified more than 1,200 species showing the world the incredible … Continued

May 04, 2021

Go beyond the typical Mother’s Day gifts and give mom a memorable experience she can enjoy with the whole family this year. Swim with sharks, get up close to a moose or touch a jellyfish! She won’t soon forget these amazing experiences at Point Defiance Zoo and our sister zoo, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park! Swim … Continued

May 04, 2021

By Emily Ringer, Senior Manager of Communications and Advocacy, Polar Bears International Last week, a tech challenge to invent a better way to track polar bears moved out of the lab and onto the fur of a polar bear at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, one of seven North American zoos participating in the project. … Continued

Apr 29, 2021

It’s penguin nesting season at the Zoo! As of late April, keepers had observed four eggs laid. The eggs are from two penguin pairs, with two eggs each. Each year, keepers prepare Penguin Point for nesting season, adding long grasses for the Magellanic penguins to build their nests. Both parents take turns laying on the … Continued

Apr 29, 2021

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is observed each year on April 30 as a way to raise awareness for thousands of pets that are waiting for their “fur-ever” home. Pets of varying sizes, color, temperaments and breed are waiting to meet their future families right now at your local shelter. Many of the domestic … Continued

Apr 29, 2021

May 26 pup-date: Keepers have named the one-month-old tamandua pup “Liana.” Liana (pronounced lee-aa-nuh) means a woody climbing plant that hangs from trees. The name is fitting: tamanduas are excellent climbers, using their long prehensile tail for balance and support. A public debut for Liana has not yet been set- she will make appearances once she’s a bit … Continued

Apr 20, 2021

If Dr. Karen Wolf needs another skilled set of hands for a walrus procedure, she knows who to call. And if Dr. Allison Case has a beaver or owl that needs attention while she’s out of town, she has a second clinic just a van-trip away. The two women are head veterinarians of Point Defiance … Continued

Apr 01, 2021

Endangered Sumatran tiger Indah will make her public debut at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on Friday, April 2, at noon. It’s a homecoming for the female tiger, one of three cubs born at the Tacoma zoo over six years ago. “It’s heartwarming to welcome her home to Tacoma and see her all grown up,” … Continued

Mar 18, 2021

After a year plus of quarantine and a cold winter of being cooped up inside, many families are feeling the need to get outside and do fun activities together, safely! Here are 10 ideas for things to do over Spring Break, and they all follow the state’s current guidelines to keep your family healthy. Take … Continued

Mar 17, 2021

Specialists at Oregon State University’s veterinary hospital operated Tuesday on a rare red wolf from the breeding program at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Washington. Chester, who was born at the Tacoma, Wash. zoo nearly two years ago, is one of only about 260 red wolves remaining in the world. The procedure went smoothly … Continued

Mar 17, 2021

Since 1987, the City of Tacoma has honored over 200 outstanding local volunteers through its City of Destiny Awards program. This year, six volunteers from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium were chosen as 2021 City of Destiny Award recipients. Youth Volunteers In the “Youth Service” category, Zoo Senior Guides Enjoli Shaw and Logan Cornwell took … Continued

Mar 16, 2021

Annual global event April 30-May 3 offers opportunity for Puget Sound folks to discover nearby wildlife, help science and get outside safely. Quick – what’s that speckled green frog by the pond there? Don’t know? Then pull out your phone and prepare to find out during the annual City Nature Challenge! From April 30-May 3, … Continued

Mar 11, 2021

“Wow, they’re huge!” is something both Zoo guests and staff can be heard saying inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium. They’re talking about the scalloped hammerhead sharks that have dramatically grown since they first arrived in 2017 as nearly 2-foot-long pups. Now, they are an impressive five to six-feet long. And wow, do they love to … Continued

Mar 02, 2021

It’s time to shell-ebrate! Both the Pacific Seas Aquarium and South Pacific Aquarium are reopening and all three sea turtles Bruno, Sunny and Azul are “turtle-y” healthy and will be out swimming in the Baja Bay habitat to welcome you back! While our aquariums were temporarily closed to keep staff and guests safe, our aquatic … Continued

Mar 02, 2021

It’s time for sharks! And green sea turtles, eagle rays and jellies too. The Pacific Seas Aquarium and South Pacific Aquarium are reopening March 5 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with protocols to keep guests safe and healthy. “Getting up close to sea turtles, sharks and other aquarium animals is an exhilarating experience for … Continued

Feb 26, 2021

It wasn’t your average concert situation. Fingers chilling in the February breeze, I stood with my double bass poised on the grassy edge of a deep moat. My endpin and boots were planted in winter mud. Somewhere nearby, a bird sang. I drew my bow across the strings, beginning a low ripple and expanding out … Continued

Feb 17, 2021

Blizzard the polar bear has millions of new fans after a video of him playing in the snow on February 13 went viral. In the video, Blizzard nose dives right into the fluffy cold powder and even seems to make some “bear angels.” At 25 years old, Blizzard is considered a senior bear (the median … Continued

Feb 17, 2021

At the elephant habitat at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Shannon and Russell are doing something usually reserved for zoo visitors, not keepers. Side by side, phones held aloft, they’re taking photos of Suki, the zoo’s 56-year-old Asian elephant. Their angles are different: Shannon, assistant curator, is at least a foot shorter than Russell, staff … Continued

Feb 16, 2021

Dr. Karen Wolf, left, and Dr. Caitlin Hadfield prepare Sekiu for surgery. NOTE: Graphic visual content further down the post. On a cold winter’s morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Animal Health Care, head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf did an unusual thing during surgery: She put a fresh ice pack on her patient’s chest. … Continued

Feb 05, 2021

It started with a low whoop at middle C. Then another. Then some higher hoots, descending to meet the whoop in a unison. The whoop and the hoots repeated, faster and faster, a rainforest percussion. A brief silence hung, like a poised raindrop. Then it began again – and from across the path came an … Continued

Jan 27, 2021

Love is in the air at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! There’s no concrete way to measure an animal’s love but many of the animals at the zoo are coupled up, or longtime companions, and enjoy each other’s company. Cho Cho and Dudlee The zoo’s two siamangs, Cho Cho and Dudlee, are long-time companions. Cho … Continued

Jan 11, 2021

“Whoop, Whoooooop, Whoop-whoop!” There’s a new set of sounds heard throughout Point Defiance Park, coming from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. It’s the sound of two young lar gibbons singing loudly in unison. Also known as white-handed gibbons, they are an endangered primate in the gibbon family with around 15,000 currently living in the wild. … Continued

Jan 06, 2021

“Welcome, please read our safety protocols before entering the building.” Sound familiar? It’s a phrase you hear often these days, at doctor’s appointments, hair salons, gyms and yes, even at your local zoo. After all, safety has always been key for any fun experience. Those are the first words you’ll hear when you arrive for … Continued