Skip to main content
Zoo News

animals

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 17, 2020

Missing travel? While the coronavirus pandemic has made global vacations more dream than reality, Puget Sound-area folks have an option right on their doorstep: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, where you can surround yourself with plants and animals from around the Pacific Rim. Tigers in lush Asian bamboo, South American rainforest reptiles, Australian amphibians and … Continued

Oct 29, 2020

King Julien has nothing on Queen Tiffany. On a sunny fall morning, the small black-and-white ruffed lemur is reclining on a grassy hummock in her Kids’ Zone habitat at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, propped on one arm and looking like a very furry Roman emperor. Or rather, empress. Because lemurs are matriarchal, and while … 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

Oct 08, 2020

Once upon a time there were two wolf species: red wolves and gray wolves. Neither of them were “big and bad,” but they were often feared by humans. Over time, more and more were killed. By 1940 gray wolves were decimated in the American wild and by the 1970s, so were red wolves. It was … Continued

Oct 06, 2020

Visit the Zoo before the crowds arrive, feed an unusual hero, groom a goat, dive with sharks or go behind-the-scenes of the Pacific Seas Aquarium. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is expanding its Zoo for You exclusive animal experiences with two new premier adventures. In addition to grooming goats, diving with sharks and a behind-the-scenes … Continued

Oct 06, 2020

It’s true – bats have a bad rap. They’re best buddies with Dracula and have a cameo in “Macbeth.” They inspire spooky Halloween decorations. And if we’re not careful, we ourselves could become “batty.” They can carry viruses, including (most notably) the coronavirus that spread to humans from wildlife markets as Covid-19. But then there’s … 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

Sep 21, 2020

Shannon Smith stands outside on a fall day, calling out encouragement. “Foot!” she requests. Across the yard, her “buddy” of 24 years slowly lifts a leg, then puts it back down. “Good!” exclaims Smith, and offers an apple slice. It’s exercise time at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and Smith is leading Suki the elderly … Continued

Sep 16, 2020

How does it feel to be the oldest siamang? 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 54th birthday – which makes him the oldest siamang on record in human care … Continued

Sep 15, 2020

You could say the double bass is the walrus of the music world. Large, bottom-heavy, ungainly and prone to awkward blurting noises, it doesn’t win any beauty contests. It doesn’t star in glossy movies, and often gets laughs rather than admiration. But, like actual walruses, it’s also capable of a powerful grace – and a … Continued

Sep 01, 2020

TACOMA, Wash. – Boris, an elderly polar bear believed to be the oldest male of his species on the planet, was humanely euthanized at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on Sept. 1 following a significant decline in his health. He was 34, a one-time circus bear who found a stable home in Tacoma, where he … Continued

Aug 06, 2020

Are you missing your family and friends? Do you want to wish them a socially distanced “Happy Birthday!” or “Congrats!”? Animal lovers can now share a special message with a wild touch, all from the comfort of your own couch! Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are now offering “Animal Shoutouts.” … Continued

Jul 23, 2020

Our new penguin chicks are learning to swim! Supervised carefully by keepers in a small, safe pool behind the scenes, they take the plunge and figure it out! They’ll stay there for a few weeks while keepers hand-feed and bond with them. Then, when they lose their downy fluff and grow in the waterproof plumage … Continued

Jul 13, 2020

We all love summer in the Pacific Northwest, but there’s no doubt that some days get pretty hot. Humans are pretty creative in finding ways to beat the heat – splashing, shade, cool clothes – and our Zoo animals do it too! Muskox Muskoxen are adapted for living above the Arctic Circle and nibbling for … Continued

Jul 09, 2020

Alex Trebek’s favorite animal is the muskox. Now, the longtime gameshow host has one named just for him. Meet Trebek, a fuzzy, four-week-old muskox calf at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Adoring fans voted online for his name, chosen from a slate of four offered by zookeepers at the Tacoma zoo. Out of 5,229 votes, … Continued

Jul 02, 2020

Have you met Mitik and Pakak yet? Our young male walruses are definitely growing and showing their personalities! They moved here last year as part of a nationwide walrus breeding program, but being only eight years old they’re still in the “teenage” stage. And if you know teenage boys, you know things can get quite … Continued

Jun 30, 2020

He head-butted some rocks. He tasted some clover. Then he galloped back down the hillside to mom. Yes, it’s official – our baby muskox calf is a boy, and now his fans get to vote on his name. (UPDATE: Voting closed 12pm July 8.) The veterinary and animal care team confirmed the sex last Friday … Continued

Jun 22, 2020

Tomatoes. Apples. Almonds. Pumpkin. Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. All pretty important, right? And they all have one thing in common: they need pollinators. Around 1,000 plants that humans use for food, drink, fiber, spices or medicine need to be pollinated by a very special group of animals called pollinators. Bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, hummingbirds, bats and … Continued

Jun 09, 2020

It’s a boy! Or maybe a girl! Whatever the gender, it’s pretty perfect timing for a birth announcement. Early Sunday morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Charlotte, a 621-pound muskox, gave birth to a calf, just as the Zoo was preparing to announce its June 18 reopening under Phase 2 of the governor’s Safe … Continued

Apr 16, 2020

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. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, shelters are facing more challenges than ever. Pets of every size, color, temperament and breed are waiting to meet … Continued

Apr 15, 2020

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s 9-month-old tapir calf Kazu is healthy and growing more every day. Like all Malayan tapirs, he was covered in watermelon spots and stripes when he was little, but now he has the sleek black and white stripes of an adult tapir. He still has some baby spots on his chest, … Continued

Apr 10, 2020

How are you coping in quarantine? Staying home and isolated during the coronavirus pandemic isn’t easy, and it’s really important to take care of yourself and those you live with. Luckily, our animals and keepers are experts in caring! Here are 10 Animal Tips to help you stay well at home. Click on any image … Continued

Apr 08, 2020

The penguins at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are entering nesting season! Despite the coronavirus pandemic, keepers at the zoo continue to work and care for the animals. As part of that care, keepers prepared Penguin Point for nesting season, adding long grasses for the Magellanic penguins to use to build their nests. “They need … Continued

Apr 03, 2020

We may be closed due to recent restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), but our keepers and veterinary team are still at the zoo every day caring for our animals. From enrichments to treats, check-ups to scratch-downs, here’s how we’re #closedbutstillcaring. Click on any image to start the slideshow. Mouse over to see … Continued

Feb 11, 2020

Calf expected this summer Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has one more reason to celebrate muskoxen Charlotte and Hudson this Valentine’s Day: they are expecting a calf this summer. Recent tests confirmed five-year-old Charlotte is pregnant, zoo General Curator Dr. Karen Goodrowe said. The father is four-year-old Hudson. Charlotte experienced pregnancy for the first time … Continued

Feb 06, 2020

Caring for the World’s Oldest Male Polar Bear  As Boris splashed in the pool, it was as if age didn’t matter. Paw-slamming a brown ball, pushing around a blue trash can and play-wrestling with his younger buddy Blizzard, the 34-year-old polar bear swam and flipped like a youngster. Then he hauled himself out, shook out … Continued

Feb 04, 2020

TACOMA, Wash.–Love is in the air at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! In honor of Valentine’s Day, visitors will have a chance to celebrate the zoo’s animal couples on February 15 and 16. There’s no concrete way to measure an animal’s love but many of the animals at the zoo are coupled up, or longtime … Continued

Jan 14, 2020

We’re all feeling the cold right about now in the Pacific Northwest – and the rest of the country too. But here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, our animals have some pretty cool ways to deal with it. From fur coats to heated hammocks, here are five ways our animals beat the winter cold. … Continued

Jan 03, 2020

UPDATE: Sad news – our hero rat Chiku passed away in November 2020 from a large invasive tumor. We will miss her. Whoever first invented the Year of the Rat in the Chinese zodiac probably wasn’t thinking of African giant pouched rats like Chiku, Celine and Mona Lisa. But the coming Asian New Year (Jan. … Continued