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animals

Sep 20, 2021

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 27, 2021

What’s the best way to take your first swim? Well, if you’re a hand-reared penguin chick, you find a penguin buddy. On a hot day in August, penguin chick Rio had his first swim session in a behind-the-scenes pool at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and his buddy was big sister penguin Maxine … Continued

Aug 16, 2021

On an overcast morning, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s jelly team readies their boat and heads out into Puget Sound to a cove between Vashon and Maury Islands. The goal: collecting moon jellies. Moon jellies are plentiful in the waters around the Pacific Northwest and the jelly team will try to collect up to 100 … Continued

Aug 16, 2021

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is inviting the community to help name the new female giant Pacific octopus inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium. The zoo’s aquarists have chosen six names and are asking the public to vote for their favorite. Those names are: Gertie: referring to the Tacoma legend that the largest octopus in the … Continued

Aug 13, 2021

As a powerful heat wave hits the greater Tacoma area with temperatures nearing 100-degrees, keepers at both Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash. and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville, Wash. are finding ways to keep the animals cool. At Point Defiance Zoo, 2-month-old penguin chick Rio is just learning how to swim … Continued

Aug 11, 2021

Whenever Friday the 13th rolls around, even the least superstitious of us might look askance at a black cat or shiver at an owl hoot. But animal superstitions, although fun, can cause pretty bad luck for the wildlife who cross their paths. After all, we live in a world where 350,000 tourists can visit Scotland … Continued

Jul 28, 2021

Bandar likes Kali. Kali likes him but it depends on the day. Indah adores Raja but sometimes he’d just prefer food. Kirana’s not a fan of either guy, but she’ll play along when she wants. If this sounds like a complicated Tinder triangle (or pentagon) to you, you’re not wrong. Tiger breeding is happening with … Continued

Jul 27, 2021

Human athletes might be battling it out for medals at the Olympic Games in Japan this month, but here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, we have our own incredible athletes to celebrate: our animals! Who can leap the furthest? Climb the highest? Who’s the fastest swimmer, the cleanest diver, the most agile? Check out … Continued

Jul 26, 2021

From around a corner, two little faces peer out. Eyes are bright, noses sniff inquisitively. Then out pour two lithe otters, like a rivulet of the water they love to play in. It’s Arista and Javin, two new Asian small-clawed otters who’ll debut this week in the Asian Forest Sanctuary of Point Defiance Zoo & … Continued

Jul 14, 2021

If the tiger is the king of the jungle, then the anoa would be the gardener. They’re not iconic like an elephant, or acrobatic like a siamang. They don’t star in Pixar movies or cartoons. Even in the jungle, they can be impossible to find. But this tiniest species of buffalo just 30 inches tall … Continued

Jul 12, 2021

Happy birthday, Kazu! On July 12, 2021, our tapir calf turns two – which means he’s definitely not a baby anymore. “Overall he’s turned into an adult,” says Telena Welsh, curator of Asian animals at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. “And he’s really healthy.” At 686 pounds, Kazu doesn’t have long to go before he … Continued

Jul 12, 2021

Congratulations are in order for the Pacific Seas Aquarium team – a spotted eagle ray pup has been born in Baja Bay! A female, the little baby ray is doing fine and already eating solid foods, watched closely and cared for in a special behind-the-scenes Aquatic Animal Care Center (AACC) at Point Defiance Zoo & … Continued

Jul 01, 2021

A gentle sea lion, rescued after being blinded by bullets, arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in May and will make his public debut July 3-4 at the Rocky Shores habitat. The male sea lion, named Björn (pronounced bee-yorn) and estimated to be about 10 years old, was rescued off the coast of southern … Continued

Jun 28, 2021

So you think you like seafood? How about 1,064 pounds of it every week? That’s what’s on order at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, where everyone from sharks to sea stars has their favorite ocean-based food. Two aquariums, the entire Rocky Shores habitat and even animals in Kids Zone all need seafood for their daily … Continued

Jun 24, 2021

Welcome, Raja! A new endangered Sumatran tiger made his public debut June 19-20 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and although he is named after the Indonesian word for king, the 2-year-old tiger is actually pretty laid-back. “Raja is a laid-back cat who loves to roll around in the grass and closely observe the … Continued

Jun 02, 2021

The Zoo is now home to a 4-month-old opossum baby, known as a joey. The joey, named Ernie by keepers, was found in Burien, after his mother was killed by a dog. Without his mother, Ernie would’ve likely been killed as well by a predator like a coyote, fox, owl, snake or hawk. The rescued … Continued

Jun 01, 2021

June 3, 2021 update: Sadly, one of the chicks passed away on June 2. Veterinary staff are caring for the second chick, providing syringe feedings, extra fluids and antibiotics. The chick seems to be doing a little better. June 1, 2021: Two Magellanic penguin chicks hatched at the Zoo in late May to parents Red … 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

July 9 pup-date: Liana, the nearly 3-month-old tamandua pup, will make her public debut at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this weekend, July 10 and July 11. She will participate in Training Demos at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater with her mom, Terra, at 2:30pm on those dates. In her first few weeks of life, … 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

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

Feb 17, 2021

At the elephant habitat at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Shannon and Russell are doing something usually reserved for zoo visitors, not keepers. Side by side, phones held aloft, they’re taking photos of Suki, the zoo’s 56-year-old Asian elephant. Their angles are different: Shannon, assistant curator, is at least a foot shorter than Russell, staff … Continued

Feb 05, 2021

It started with a low whoop at middle C. Then another. Then some higher hoots, descending to meet the whoop in a unison. The whoop and the hoots repeated, faster and faster, a rainforest percussion. A brief silence hung, like a poised raindrop. Then it began again – and from across the path came an … 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

Dec 28, 2020

What a year this has been! From clouded leopard AI to a new muskox calf, from Zoolights to HeroRATs and everything in between, we’ve captured this year in our best photos of 2020.  

Dec 28, 2020

Everyone agrees: 2020 was a really tough year. Covid-19 turned our world upside down, and many of us knew loss. Our Zoo/Northwest Trek had to close for months, and reopen with completely new ways of doing everything. Like so many, we lost money, and had to say goodbye to many staff members. We lost beloved … Continued

Dec 10, 2020

They were rescued together as orphaned calves. Then they went to live at separate zoos for seven years before reuniting as “teenagers” here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Now, Pacific walruses Mitik and Pakak are moving out to the exciting world of a walrus harem to be with – and hopefully breed with – … Continued