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Zoo News
Jul 16, 2021

Keeper Stephanie’s day involves quite a lot of fish – and shrimp, and clam, and squid. When you care for ten marine mammals and four flocks of seabirds in nine different pools, you do a lot of feeding – and cleaning too. But for keepers like Stephanie at Point Defiance Zoo’s Rocky Shores habitat, creativity … Continued

Jul 16, 2021

There are a lot of moving parts to being a zookeeper in the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – but training ambassador animals is a big one, says keeper Jessie. 7:30am A zookeeper’s day often begins with checking on animals, cleaning habitats and giving breakfast. The big difference at Wild … Continued

Jul 16, 2021

Summer sunlight dapples through Douglas firs. The air hums with insects, pierced by sharp raven calls. All else is quiet – and keeper Jamie climbs into the truck. Time to check up on 47 red wolves. 7:30am Most zookeepers don’t work all alone in a forest. Jamie, however, is a staff biologist for Point Defiance … Continued

Jul 14, 2021

If the tiger is the king of the jungle, then the anoa would be the gardener. They’re not iconic like an elephant, or acrobatic like a siamang. They don’t star in Pixar movies or cartoons. Even in the jungle, they can be impossible to find. But this tiniest species of buffalo just 30 inches tall … Continued

Jul 13, 2021

Chef. Dietitian. Physical therapist. Hydrotherapist. Public speaker, cleaner, cricket-handler. When keeper Monica signed up to become a zookeeper, she knew it wouldn’t ever get boring – but caring for animals in Point Defiance Zoo’s Kids’ Zone took it to another level. 7:30am Kids’ Zone keeper days always start with a team meeting in the goat … Continued

Jul 12, 2021

Happy birthday, Kazu! On July 12, 2021, our tapir calf turns two – which means he’s definitely not a baby anymore. “Overall he’s turned into an adult,” says Telena Welsh, curator of Asian animals at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. “And he’s really healthy.” At 686 pounds, Kazu doesn’t have long to go before he … Continued

Jul 12, 2021

Congratulations are in order for the Pacific Seas Aquarium team – a spotted eagle ray pup has been born in Baja Bay! A female, the little baby ray is doing fine and already eating solid foods, watched closely and cared for in a special behind-the-scenes Aquatic Animal Care Center (AACC) at Point Defiance Zoo & … Continued

Jul 01, 2021

A gentle sea lion, rescued after being blinded by bullets, arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in May and will make his public debut July 3-4 at the Rocky Shores habitat. The male sea lion, named Björn (pronounced bee-yorn) and estimated to be about 10 years old, was rescued off the coast of southern … Continued

Jun 28, 2021

So you think you like seafood? How about 1,064 pounds of it every week? That’s what’s on order at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, where everyone from sharks to sea stars has their favorite ocean-based food. Two aquariums, the entire Rocky Shores habitat and even animals in Kids Zone all need seafood for their daily … Continued

Jun 24, 2021

Welcome, Raja! A new endangered Sumatran tiger made his public debut 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 closely observe the … 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

July 9 pup-date: Liana, the nearly 3-month-old tamandua pup, will make her public debut at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this weekend, July 10 and July 11. She will participate in Training Demos at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater with her mom, Terra, at 2:30pm on those dates. In her first few weeks of life, … 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