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Zoo News

Author: Tessa LaVergne

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 13 pup-date: The 3-week-old tamandua pup appears to be recovering from her respiratory illness and continues to receive treatment from our veterinary and animal care teams. The pup continues to nurse from her mom Terra and receives additional supplemental feedings to ensure she continues to grow and gain weight. Terra is a wonderful mother … 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

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

Nov 25, 2020

Just as humans get excited for a full plate of food- so do animals. Some of the Zoo’s animals were recently given their own Thanksgiving feast, thanks to the creativity of zookeepers. HeroRATs- mini feast, tiny food The HeroRATs received a festive meal, including pumpkin pie! Staff Biologist Jessie Sutherland and Zoological Aid Natalie Lind … Continued

Nov 12, 2020

You can’t set up 700,000 LED lights overnight! It takes time… months, actually. The Zoolights crew at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium spent most of October and November- rain or shine, warm or cold (mostly, cold)- prepping for the region’s classic holiday lights extravaganza and creating new displays. Things are a bit different this year … Continued

Nov 04, 2020

The pandemic has reminded us about the importance of connecting with family, friends and loved ones. For the holidays this year, consider gifting those close to you something to experience together at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Each of these experiences has health protocols in mind, so you can ensure you’re gifting both a safe … Continued

Oct 26, 2020

Black cats, pumpkins, ghosts… skulls and skeletons. They’re all symbols of the Halloween season. We asked Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s head veterinarian, Dr. Karen Wolf, to give us an “inside” look at a few of the Zoo’s animals and their not-so-spooky skeletons. Dr. Wolf regularly takes radiographs or X-rays of the animals to check … Continued

Sep 21, 2020

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is home to three sea otters in the Rocky Shores habitat. Every September, one week is dedicated to bringing awareness to sea otters. Sea otters are endangered, having been hunted nearly to extinction for their thick fur. Now protected, they are still at great risk from oil spill, parasites that … Continued

Aug 19, 2020

Pakak the walrus has been busy visiting with the dentist. He was recently fitted for a new tusk crown. Walruses in zoos receive regular veterinary care, including dentist checkups. Walrus tusks don’t have a hard outer enamel layer like human teeth. So the tips of many walrus tusks have metal crowns placed on them to … Continued

Aug 07, 2020

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is currently home to nine species of sharks. They live among sea turtles, eagle rays and dozens of fish. The aquarists in both the Pacific Seas Aquarium and the South Pacific Aquarium have a unique way of feeding the sharks to ensure each one receives the food it needs to … Continued

Aug 04, 2020

Clouded leopards are endangered. Their tropical forests are being cut down for logging, human habitat and to grow palm oil, a common food product. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium plays a huge role in the conservation of clouded leopards in the wild. The Zoo is part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) that keeps zoo … Continued

Jul 21, 2020

National Zookeeper Week takes place July 19-25 this year. The week is devoted to sharing the passion and dedication of keepers. Even though Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium was temporarily closed to the public to slow the spread of COVID-19, the keepers never took a pause. They are a dedicated group of people who work … Continued

Jun 16, 2020

Bruno, a 23-year-old Atlantic green sea turtle, is joining the Zoo’s two other turtles, Sunny and Azul, in the Pacific Seas Aquarium just in time to celebrate World Sea Turtle Day. Bruno arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium late last year from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. He’s been hanging out behind the … Continued