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2022 Year in Photos

Another year is in the books! Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium provided a new home for many animals this year, including Damaraland mole rats and walruses Balzak and Lakina. The Zoo opened the Nature Play Garden and staff participated in the annual sea otter count along Washington’s coast, among so many other moments. Thanks for being with us on this journey. Enjoy our best photos of 2022, taken by staff photographer Katie Cotterill.

Sumatran tiger Kali catches a meatball tossed by Staff Biologist Chrissy.

A spiny lumpsucker makes an unlikely friend with a hermit crab.

The Zoo welcomed sea otter Clara who became instant pals with Libby and Moea.

Clouded leopard Rakhan settled into his new home.

Walrus half-siblings Balzak and Lakina arrived from Quebec.Rescued arctic fox Sven looks handsome in the dusting of snow.

Bjorn, the rescued sea lion, continues his brave battle to survive.

Clyde the savannah monitor lizard made his public debut after temperatures became perfect for him.

Asian small-clawed otter Arista shakes water off in the sunlight.

Baby budgies were born and the Budgie Buddies Aviary reopened after being closed for more than two years due to the pandemic.

Suki, who celebrated her 58th birthday in September, stretches for some leafy treats from staff biologist Margaret. At 58, Suki has already lived far beyond the median life expectancy of 47 for female Asian elephants in human care. These stretches are an important part of her daily exercise routine.

The Zoo is now home to eight new Damaraland mole rats.

We mourned the loss of beloved polar bear Blizzard, who inspired generations of guests from across the Puget Sound region and around the world to care about his species.

We opened the all-new, immersive Little Explorers Nature Play Garden and not only were the kids excited, but the pollinators loved it too. Bugs Alive! mesmerized our young guests.

Endangered American red wolf Juno strolls under the fall foliage. American red wolves are native to North America and are the most endangered canine species in the world. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has been a leader in protecting and restoring this species from the brink of extinction.

Sumatran tiger Bandar and his tiger friends received meat shanks and other stimulating enrichment items for World Tiger Weekend.

We celebrated National Zookeeper Week with staff biologists Kelsie, Suzanne, Jarek, Margaret, Mark and Heather.

Our veterinary and animal care teams provided extraordinary care during exams for leopard eel Larry Gordon, sea otter Clara, axolotl Alduin, three sea turtles and various reptiles, among others.

Clouded leopard Jao Ying had her left eye removed after our veterinarians discovered a tumor. She has adjusted beautifully and continues to climb and explore her Cats of the Canopy habitat.

A tufted puffin splashes in the pool.

A brand new animal show debuted at the Zoo’s Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater with newest superstar Rocket.

Armadillo Segway grew to be about the size of her mom Vespa.

The Zoo provided homes to orphaned opossum joeys.

Burrowing owl Pebbles and opossum Ernie went on Close Encounters adventures around the Zoo.

Charlotte the muskox enjoys a sunny February day.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is home to the largest jellyfish display in Oregon and Washington. Our aquarium team grew upside down jellyfish this year.A sea star explores its habitat in the Pacific Seas Aquarium.Rescued sea lions Boomer and Eloise leap out of the water while playing together.

Our staff volunteered to count wild sea otters in the annual Washington Sea Otter Survey on the coast.

We provided a memorable day at the Zoo to hundreds of Tacoma elementary school students through The Zoo Society’s school field trip scholarship program.We celebrated a new year of Wildlife Champions at a new school – Lister Elementary in East Tacoma. The students recently had their first park week at Swan Creek Park.We kicked off our 35th year of Zoolights.