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Zoo News

animal care

Jan 23, 2019

At age 33, Boris is very likely the oldest male polar bear on the planet. We know he’s the oldest male of his species in zoo-related databases that keep track of polar bears worldwide. And since polar bears live longer under human care than they do in the wild, we think he is the champ. … Continued

Jan 07, 2019

Behind the Asian Forest Sanctuary at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, volunteer Scott Murdock has disappeared behind a vine. The massive spread of large, furling leaves engulfs Murdock’s head, leaving visible just legs on a ladder. Sprawled in the sun, the vines smell rich and green. It’s the Zoo’s kiwifruit arbor, and Murdock gently twists … Continued

Dec 18, 2018

Playing with an octopus isn’t in everyone’s job description. But for aquarium staff Paige Gutierrez and Tai Fripp, it’s all part of caring for Ozzie, the giant Pacific octopus inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Why? Because an octopus is curious – and if an aquarist is cleaning her habitat, … 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

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

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

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

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, 54, and Hanako, 55, since they arrived here in the late-1990s, and has developed strong bonds with them. Our highly … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

Sunny and Azul, the green sea turtles waiting patiently for their new home in the aquarium’s Baja Bay exhibit, passed their first physical wellness exam this month with flying colors – and got a treat as a reward for being good patients. Watch the video here.