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2021 Press releases

2021 Releases

Blizzard’s Festive Birthday Bash

Dec. 20: Blizzard the polar bear celebrated his 26th birthday with all of his favorite things: cake, a tree, a barrel and lots and lots of ice.

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Clouded leopard cub RakhanZoo Now Home To Purr-fect Clouded Leopard Cub

Dec. 16: A four-month-old clouded leopard cub named Rakhan recently arrived at Point Defiance Zoo. The cub joins the zoo on a breeding recommendation through the Species Survival Plan®.

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woman holding armadillo pup in handsKeepers Name Armadillo Pup “Segway”

Dec. 7: The pup has quadrupled in size since she was born in late October and is now about the size of a softball. She has also opened her eyes and is moving around her den more every day.

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family looking at ZoolightsZoolights Begins Friday

Nov. 22: Festive and bright holiday magic returns with Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this Friday, Nov. 26. The tradition will boast more lights than ever before illuminating the zoo at night.

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Exclusive Holiday Experiences

Nov. 22: Santa has made his way to Tacoma all the way from the North Pole and has brought his scuba equipment with him. “Santa Under the Sea” is one of two exclusive experiences being offered to the public this holiday season.

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First Healthy Armadillo Pup Born At Point Defiance Zoo

Nov. 16: Southern three-banded armadillos Vespa and Scooter welcomed a pup into the world in late October, making them both first-time parents. The pup is the first healthy armadillo pup born at Point Defiance Zoo.

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Photo credit: U.S. National Park Service
Fishers Released At Olympic National Park

Nov. 10: On Friday, November 5, federal, state, tribal and partner biologists released five fishers from Alberta, Canada into the lush, coastal forest near Lake Ozette, the latest event in a nearly two decades-long project to restore the native species to Washington State.

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kids watching sharksRestoring The South Pacific Aquarium

Oct. 13: After 32 hardworking years, the popular South Pacific Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium needs some love. On November 15, the aquarium will close for restoration and repairs. Will reopen in 2023.

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zoolights girls wand

Magical Zoolights Returns

Oct. 11: Zoolights is back at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Nov. 26-Jan. 2 (closed Dec. 24 & Dec. 25). The holiday tradition boasts more than 700,000 colorful LED lights and dozens of dazzling 3-D animal light displays.

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Kirana tigerPoint Defiance Zoo Staff Mourn The Loss of Sumatran Tiger

Oct. 4: Zoo staff are mourning the loss of Kirana, a female Sumatran tiger who died after experiencing severe injuries during a breeding introduction a part of a plan to help save her endangered species.

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polar bear getting exam

Elderly Polar Bear Blizzard Diagnosed With Liver Cancer

Sept. 29: Blizzard, a 25-year-old polar bear at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, has been diagnosed with liver cancer and will receive chemotherapy treatment and other supportive care to slow progression of the disease.

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puffins and pumpkinsZoo Boo Returns Live With Treats, Costumes And Animals

Sept. 8: Happy Howl-o-ween! Dress up like a cat (meow-lo-ween!), monkey, elephant or whatever your favorite animal is and then see that same real-life animal at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium during Zoo Boo weekend, Oct. 16-17.

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giant pacific octopus

And Her Name Is – Gertie!

Aug. 24: After a week of public voting, fans chose Gertie as the name for the new giant Pacific octopus in the Pacific Seas Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

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octopusName Our New Octopus!

Aug. 16: Point Defiance Zoo is inviting the community to help name the new female giant Pacific octopus inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium, voting from a slate of six names chosen by aquarists.

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tapir in poolAnimals Cool Off In The Recent Heatwave

Aug. 13: Animals at Northwest Trek and sister zoo Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium found ways to cool off in the heat, thanks to tubs of ice and spray hoses offered by thoughtful keepers.

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Tiger roaring for World Tiger Day
Time To Roar At World Tiger Weekend

July 29, 2021: Celebrate and meet our five tigers and learn how to protect their species in the wild with enrichments, keeper chats and fun hands-on activities, all weekend July 31 – Aug. 1.

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sand tiger shark
Celebrate Sharks & Rays!

July 2, 2021: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is closing out Shark Week 2021 with its annual Shark & Rays event July 17-18, full of activities for the whole family to enjoy.

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bjorn the sea lion in water
Rescued Sea Lion Björn Finds A Home At The Zoo

July 1, 2021: A gentle sea lion, rescued after being blinded by bullets, will make his public debut July 3-4 at the Rocky Shores habitat.

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girl carousel red dress
It’s Time To Celebrate Fully Reopening!

June 29, 2021: From goat feeding to anemone touching, a fully-reopened summer of fun begins July 1 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

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raja tiger tongue out
Welcome, Raja! New Sumatran Tiger Debuts

June 17, 2021: Endangered Sumatran tiger Raja makes his public debut this weekend in the Asian Forest Sanctuary.

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girls in masks pointing at sharkWorld Ocean Weekend

May 27, 2021: World Ocean Weekend returns June 5 & June 6. Dive in to experience the magic of ocean life.

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Terra The Tamandua Gives Birth

April 29, 2021: Terra the Southern tamandua gave birth to a healthy female pup on Friday, April 23 behind the scenes at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater area.

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Indah the tigerEndangered Sumatran Tiger Back Home

April 1, 2021: Indah is one of the tiger triplets born at Point Defiance Zoo in 2014. In 2016, Indah left as part of a recommendation by the Species Survival Plan®. Now, she’s back home in Tacoma.

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Chester undergoes procedure at OSU
Chester undergoes procedure at OSU
Endangered Red Wolf Receives Novel Operation

March 17, 2021: Chester was born with a congenital defect in his liver known as a shunt. To fix it, doctors needed to block the errant vessel and keep the blood running through his liver’s filtration system.

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man takes pictures of plantsHundreds Conquer City Nature Challenge

May 11, 2021:  More than 550 observers took part in this year’s City Nature Challenge spanning King and Pierce counties.

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City Nature Challenge

March 16, 2021: From April 30-May 3, the annual global event asks ordinary folks to become nature scientists for an hour, a day, however long they have. And there’s no experience necessary.

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Two Aquariums Reopen Friday, March 5

March 2, 2021: It’s time for sharks! And green sea turtles, eagle rays and jellies too. The Pacific Seas Aquarium and South Pacific Aquarium are reopening March 5 with protocols to keep guests safe and healthy.

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love at zoo sealLove at the Zoo Returns

Jan. 20, 2021: Love at the Zoo, the hugely popular Valentine’s Day event, returns for the long Presidents’ Day weekend with animal enrichments, Shoutouts, cards and more.

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lar gibbon swingingLar Gibbon Brothers Arrive

Jan. 11, 2021: Two new lar gibbon brothers, Orion and Aries, have arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with singing and swinging in the Asian Forest Sanctuary.

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