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Back from the brink

In our Red Wolf Woods, hidden in dappled shade, two bright eyes are looking at you. You stare back. Then their owner ducks and turns, loping easily over fallen logs to settle into the sunshine. Our American Red Wolves aren’t just beautiful – they’re part of an award-winning conservation program that has saved this iconic species from extinction.

Discover the Woods

Meet our keepers.
(Part of the pack.)
Come find out what it's like to care for these majestic animals, and how our Zoo helped save them from extinction. Our keepers give chats daily.
Daily Presentations
We love pups!
Adorable, and vital to the species.
Twelve critically endangered American Red Wolf pups were born at our off-site facility in April 2023. One was successfully fostered in the wild to enhance the genetic diversity of the wild population. The healthy pups are the latest success in the recovery of this iconic American species.
Read the Story
Find it
in the zoo
Inside the covered viewing area you can get a close look at a real wolf skull, pelt and tracking radio collar.

Protecting American Red Wolves

Saving a critically endangered species

THE THREAT: By the 1970s, very few American Red Wolves existed on the planet, due to ceaseless hunting. By the 1980s, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, established a zoo-based breeding program using 14 wolves from the wild to restore the population.

TAKE ACTION: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium joined other zoos and agencies across the country to save the critically endangered Red Wolf, breeding and reintroducing them in the wild. There are now about 20 wolves in the wild, and about 270 at zoos and other partner facilities participating in the American Red Wolf Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program. They still need our protection if they are to survive.



Animal Stories

Tacoma Students Create “Jurassic Zoo and Aquarium”

During Tacoma Public Schools January mini-term, students at the Science and Math Institute (SAMi), School of the Arts (SOTA), and Industrial Design Engineering and Art (IDEA) choose one class from … Continued

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Sumatran Tiger Gets A Root Canal

Point Defiance Zoo’s 12-year-old resident male tiger, Sanjiv, recently had a dentist appointment to fix a fractured tooth. Dr. Alice Sievers, a board-certified veterinary dentist and one of only 250 … Continued

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Best Photos of 2023

As another year ends, we reflect on the special moments Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium had the privilege of being a part of in 2023. We welcomed polar bear sisters … Continued

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Come meet the cousins
At our sister zoo Northwest Trek you can meet the Red Wolf's cousin: the gray wolf. Watch the wolf pack in their forested habitat.