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Zoo News

Penguin Chicks are Here!

June UPDATE: Our penguin chicks are now behind-the-scenes, learning to swim. Yes, you read that right. While their downy feathers stiffen and become more waterproof, they’ll live in temporary quarters away from the big pool at Penguin Point. Staff biologists will keep a keen eye on them as they learn to swim in a smaller pool. … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

animal care

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Jun 13, 2018

Our incredible staff goes through extreme lengths for medical procedures to help treat all Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium animals, from a small turtle to a massive tiger. Four veterinarians, two dentists, two dental assistants, one x-ray technician and several caring zookeepers gave one endangered Sumatran tiger a root canal last Friday. Kirana did great … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Boris, our 32-year-old polar bear, is in his golden years and experiencing some arthritis and inflammation. To help make sure he has a great quality of life, our veterinary and animal care team are using stem cell therapy in hopes that this treatment will help slow down the progression of his arthritis inflammation. This innovative … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

He’s an elder statesman of the polar bear world – and he’s beloved here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. And right now, he needs all our loving thoughts. Boris just turned 32 – way above the median male life expectancy of around 21. That’s a huge testimony to the care he’s received here at … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium keepers and veterinarians are experts at providing the highest quality of care for our two elderly Asian female elephants, Suki and Hanako. Elephant Manager Shannon Smith has cared for Suki, 53, and Hanako, 54, since they arrived here in the mid-1990s, and has developed strong bonds with them.   How … Continued

animals

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Jun 26, 2018

Dozer is back! He arrived mid-November, and will spend part of each day on exhibit. All the ladies love Dozer The hunky 3,450-pound walrus with the 17-inch tusks has come back to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – but it’s not just visitors who’ll be charmed by the enormous whistling guy. Dozer’s back in town … Continued

Jun 19, 2018

Our baby boy muskox Hudson is growing up – and just met his girlfriend Charlotte. After 2-year-old Hudson got closer in size to the 3-year-old Charlotte) keepers put him together with her in the Arctic Tundra habitat. And they’re getting along perfectly, says senior keeper Shannon Smith. “He’s being the boy, saying ‘That’s my food,’” … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

Feb. 10, 2018 It isn’t just visitors and keepers loving our animals this month. There’s also plenty of love going around the zoo… Listen out as you pass the budgie house – can you hear all those squawks? Our budgies may have gone inside for the winter but they’ve kept busy, hatching 17 chicks in … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

June UPDATE: Our penguin chicks are now behind-the-scenes, learning to swim. Yes, you read that right. While their downy feathers stiffen and become more waterproof, they’ll live in temporary quarters away from the big pool at Penguin Point. Staff biologists will keep a keen eye on them as they learn to swim in a smaller pool. … Continued

aquarium

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Aug 08, 2018

Already, glorious lion’s mane jellyfish swim beautifully against a bright blue backdrop in the Jelly Gallery of the Pacific Seas Aquarium. They are mesmerizing. Their gelatinous, umbrella-shaped bells move water in and out, tentacles trailing below, as they move majestically through their watery space. The countdown is on. There are just 30 days until the … Continued

Jul 16, 2018

It was almost as if they knew it was moving day. Nearly 100 bright red, bigscale soldierfish splashed in their behind-the-scenes pool in the old North Pacific Aquarium, so energetic they threw water up and out of the net that covered their temporary home. “They know our blue shirts,” said Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium … Continued

Jun 22, 2018

In a corner of the Pacific Seas Aquarium, Maria Jost is putting up a poster. With guest engagement coordinator Amy Hale holding up one corner on a stepladder, Jost surveys the big paper proof for size and fit. Spotlit, the corner is a tiny island of human activity in an otherwise-underwater room: teal-swept walls, rock-edged … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

In Kait Rhoads’ Seattle studio, four people are making a jellyfish. Focusing intently, they thread glass circles onto long steel tentacles, weaving copper wire in and out to keep the circles in place. Even with light floating through the big windows and art and plants everywhere, it’s a tedious job. But the atmosphere’s upbeat. Rhoads’ … Continued

Jun 22, 2018

In a corner of the Pacific Seas Aquarium, Maria Jost is putting up a poster. With guest engagement coordinator Amy Hale holding up one corner on a stepladder, Jost surveys the big paper proof for size and fit. Spotlit, the corner is a tiny island of human activity in an otherwise-underwater room: teal-swept walls, rock-edged … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

In Kait Rhoads’ Seattle studio, four people are making a jellyfish. Focusing intently, they thread glass circles onto long steel tentacles, weaving copper wire in and out to keep the circles in place. Even with light floating through the big windows and art and plants everywhere, it’s a tedious job. But the atmosphere’s upbeat. Rhoads’ … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Now up all summer long! International sand sculptor Sue McGrew and her team have created a mammoth sand ocean scene on our Hub lawn! Sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, fish, jellyfish – all the animals coming soon to our brand-new Pacific Seas Aquarium are here, sculpted in sand.   Learn from the pros Sue’s … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

Ivan. The one word name has been recognizable in Tacoma, the Puget Sound region and around the world for more than half a century. The western lowland gorilla who grew up with a local family, lived in a shopping center and ultimately found a home among members of his species in an award-winning gorilla habitat … Continued

conservation

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Jun 13, 2018

This is an archive of a trip by staff biologist Telena Welsh, who visited Java, Indonesia to work with other conservation experts to learn how we can prevent the extinction of the lowland anoa. Telena’s’s trip was made possible through The Zoo Society’s Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Follow education curator Karen Povey and head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf as they visit the rainforests of Borneo to work with other conservation experts to learn how we can preserve habitats for clouded leopards and other species.   Tuesday July 28, 2015 We’re off to the rainforest! Dr. Karen Wolf, PDZA’s Head Veterinarian (pictured at … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

NOTE: This is an archive of a trip by staff biologist Cindy Roberts, who visited Churchill, Manitoba to work with other conservation experts to learn about habitat preservation for polar bears. Check back soon for a continuation of this story! Cindy Roberts’ trip was made possible with support from Polar Bears International and The Zoo … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Amazing. That’s the word used to describe the outcome of the 2018 Point Defiance Park BioBlitz, a 24-hour survey of living things observed in the 760-acre park. By sheer numbers, the BioBlitz more than met its purpose of forging connections between people and their natural surroundings, said Metro Parks Tacoma’s Craig Standridge. In his role … Continued

history

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Jun 12, 2018

Building an Aquarium The North Pacific Aquarium was built to replace the aging 1940 aquarium, a wooden building down on the waterfront that was rusting, rotting and leaking. Early ideas included moving it to the park’s “bus station” (now the Pagoda), but by 1961 the Park Board decided to build a new one inside the zoo complex, … Continued

people

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Jun 13, 2018

Amazing. That’s the word used to describe the outcome of the 2018 Point Defiance Park BioBlitz, a 24-hour survey of living things observed in the 760-acre park. By sheer numbers, the BioBlitz more than met its purpose of forging connections between people and their natural surroundings, said Metro Parks Tacoma’s Craig Standridge. In his role … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

A collaboration between the Zoo and Tacoma Public Schools’ Science and Math Institute (SAMi), the new Environmental Learning Center just north of the Zoo’s entrance is now open! It serves SAMi students and staff, as well as Zoo visitors and staff. The two-story shared-use building, constructed with Tacoma School District bond funds, serves a range … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

Through four years of dreaming, mentoring staff, caring for animals and watching a building rise, Neil Allen has kept one vision in sight for the Pacific Seas Aquarium, coming late summer to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. “There’s nothing like seeing little kids running up, pressing their noses against the glass and saying, ‘Wow,’ ” … Continued