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Zoo News

Baja Diving

In clear, blue Baja Bay, three scuba divers are drifting alongside eagle rays and brightly-colored fish. They’re moving slowly, and unlike most divers in tropical waters, they’re not gazing admiringly at the animals around them. Because these divers are aquarists at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and they’re hard at work. “We clean, we … Continued

Dec 13, 2018

animal care

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Dec 13, 2018

In clear, blue Baja Bay, three scuba divers are drifting alongside eagle rays and brightly-colored fish. They’re moving slowly, and unlike most divers in tropical waters, they’re not gazing admiringly at the animals around them. Because these divers are aquarists at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and they’re hard at work. “We clean, we … Continued

Dec 03, 2018

On a cold, wet November morning, veterinary technician Julie Lemon is lying on her stomach on a hard floor. Angling her head, she carefully positions a small metal wand between the hard, pointy toes of a tapir, who’s anesthetized and sleeping soundly in his den. Then she presses a button, and a stream of pink … Continued

Oct 24, 2018

How does it feel to be the oldest siamang – probably – in North America? Well, for Cho Cho, snuggled up with his companion Dudlee on a crisp fall morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it seemed pretty cozy. This year Cho Cho is celebrating his 51st birthday – which makes him the oldest … Continued

Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them to you! Vet techs assist veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care, and they care deeply about our animals – often in very practical ways. We couldn’t do without them. (Meet our other vet tech, Julie.) Lauren … Continued

animals

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Dec 04, 2018

We love walruses – and especially the three walrus ladies of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Joan, Basilla and Kulusiq (or Kulu, for short) each have their own unique physical and personality traits, interacting with their keepers in their own special ways. For Walrus Awareness Week (Dec. 2-8), we’re celebrating our three lovely Pacific walruses. … Continued

Oct 24, 2018

How does it feel to be the oldest siamang – probably – in North America? Well, for Cho Cho, snuggled up with his companion Dudlee on a crisp fall morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it seemed pretty cozy. This year Cho Cho is celebrating his 51st birthday – which makes him the oldest … Continued

Oct 18, 2018

Endangered Malayan tapirs Yuna and Baku strolled around one of the Asian Forest Sanctuary exhibits on Wednesday afternoon, grazing on grasses – and keeping a secret. Not even the birds perched in the nearby trees would tweet the news. But we can let you in on this uber-exciting development today. Hooray! Hooray! A baby tapir … Continued

Aug 28, 2018

Dozer, the lovable, 3,078-pound walrus with the 17-inch-long tusks and unmistakable whistle, is leaving Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium mid-September. But there’s still time to bid him farewell. He’ll be featured on the marine mammal Keeper Talks at 3pm Saturday Sept. 15 and Sunday Sept. 16, the last weekend before he leaves. Dozer’s a crowd … Continued

aquarium

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Dec 14, 2018

Who’s new in the Pacific Seas Aquarium? We may have opened the Pacific Seas Aquarium in September, but we’re still adding animals every week! Swirling golden lion’s mane jellies, yellow-and-black-striped Moorish idol fish, and literally thousands of streaming, schooling, silvery herring. Here’s your sneak peek on who’s new in the aquarium. Lion’s mane jellyfish Cyanea … Continued

Dec 13, 2018

In clear, blue Baja Bay, three scuba divers are drifting alongside eagle rays and brightly-colored fish. They’re moving slowly, and unlike most divers in tropical waters, they’re not gazing admiringly at the animals around them. Because these divers are aquarists at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and they’re hard at work. “We clean, we … Continued

Sep 26, 2018

Animal care aide Jordan Jirik lies flat on her stomach, her head hanging over the top of Baja Bay’s 280,000-gallon habitat. Below her, five hungry spotted eagle rays swim eagerly up to a large black sign with a big white X emblazoned on it. It’s their feeding-station target. And when it appears in the water, … Continued

Sep 11, 2018

Two dozen necks crane up, up, up, eyes riveted on the scene above, as four hammerhead sharks cruise overhead. Sunny the sea turtle joins the scene, swimming unhurriedly by and then diving deeper into his home. Suddenly, two eagle rays “fly” overhead, their pectoral fins gently flapping up and down to propel them through the … Continued

Oct 04, 2018

It’s more than just a play of light. Wander down the ramps of the new Pacific Seas Aquarium, and you’ll pass through shimmers of colored light. You’re immersed in their play and flicker, as if swimming through a sunlit lagoon. It’s art – the light installation “Shimmer,” by California artist Gordon Huether – but the … Continued

Aug 28, 2018

“Do you need more padding?” Kait Rhoads is standing, hands on hips, near a tentacled lump swathed in bubble wrap. Four men hover, poised to act. As one micro-adjusts a padding blanket on a lift, the others set hands on the bubble wrap. “Ready? One, two, three, up!” With two weeks to go until the … 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

conservation

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Nov 30, 2018

For many years now, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has been saving energy every night of Zoolights with LED bulbs – in fact, we’ve been totally LED since 2014. But now the Zoo will be making energy during the day as well, thanks to 71 brand-new solar panels on the roof of a building most … Continued

Nov 01, 2018

Calling all teens to save the ocean! Our ocean is in danger – from plastic, pollution, overfishing and climate change. But thanks to a partnership between Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium, local youth can learn and be inspired to help protect it. The Youth Ocean Conservation Summit is a one-day event from … Continued

Oct 25, 2018

Just outside the remote town of Churchill, Manitoba, a male polar bear ambles northwards. Full-grown, he’s spent the summer on land, eating nothing – his main food is seal, found on the ice of nearby western Hudson Bay. And now, as fall turns to chilly Canadian winter, that sea ice is re-forming – and our … Continued

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

people

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Nov 20, 2018

How do you get a 100-foot octopus onto an aquarium roof? No, it’s not the first line of a joke. It’s just one of the challenges faced by the Zoolights crew at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as they spend most of October and November prepping for the 31-year-old holiday lights show. But it’s a … Continued

Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them to you! Vet techs assist veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care, and they care deeply about our animals – often in very practical ways. We couldn’t do without them. (Meet our other vet tech, Julie.) Lauren … Continued

Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them to you! Vet techs assist veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care, and they care deeply about our animals – often in very practical ways. We couldn’t do without them. (Meet our other vet tech, Lauren.) Julie … 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

plants

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Oct 29, 2018

No, you won’t find a Tyrannosaurus next to the tigers. But Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has dozens of living things whose roots go back hundreds of millions of years. Ferns, mosses, cycads and ginkoes – not to mention the Wollemi pine or monkey puzzle tree. Yep, we’re talking plants: living fossils that have been … Continued

Sep 25, 2018

Agaves with shark teeth. Trees that poke you. Carnivorous plants. If you think the plant world is all about pretty flowers, it’s time to think again – and time for the Zoo’s annual Savage Garden tour. No, not the band. The actual Zoo garden, which is full of poky, skeletal and otherwise Halloween-themed plants – … Continued