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Animal couples at the zoo
Animal couples at the zoo

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

siamangs sitting together.
Siamangs Cho Cho and Dudlee enjoying each other’s company.

The zoo’s two siamangs, Cho Cho and Dudlee, are long-time companions.

Cho Cho is 54 years old and is believed to be the oldest siamang in human care in the United States.

But that doesn’t stop him from swinging around his ropes and hanging with Dudlee. He is closely bonded with her and enjoys being near her.

The pair are often seen together in hammocks, grooming each other or just sleeping together.

Walnut and Nutmeg

beaver family cuddles together
Walnut, Nutmeg and their beaver kit, Butternut cuddle together.

First there was Walnut, a male beaver living at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Then came Nutmeg, a female beaver who came to the zoo from sister zoo Northwest Trek as a companion for Walnut. In 2019, they had a beaver kit, Butternut.

Keepers say both mom and dad are vigilant parents, taking turns to nudge Butternut as a young kit whenever she roamed too far and snuggling up as a threesome for much of the day.

They live behind the scenes at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater.

Baku and Yuna

tapir mom, dad and calf
Baku, left, Yuna and Kazu, right

The zoo’s two adult Malayan tapirs Baku and Yuna are the best of friends. In 2019, they welcomed their calf, Kazu! He is the first tapir calf born at the Point Defiance Zoo in our 115-year history.

The calf’s birth came as the result of a breeding recommendation for Yuna and Baku by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for Malayan tapirs. The SSP looks at the genetic makeup of each prospective parent before recommending a pairing; this helps ensure diversity of Malayan tapirs in North American zoos.

 

Charlotte and Hudson

Muskoxen Charlotte and Hudson live in the Arctic Tundra habitat and welcomed their son, Trebek, in June 2020. Charlotte and Hudson were paired together back in 2016 with hopes that they would eventually mate. Keepers say the two get along well.

muskox standing
Muskox Charlotte and Hudson stand close together.

Aries and Orion

Bromance, bro-etines (like galentines!), brother love. Whatever you want to call it, lar gibbon brothers Orion and Aries have it. The two can often be heard singing loudly in unison, a form of bonding for gibbons. They also swing together throughout the day and huddle with their backs to each other at night while they sleep.

two lar gibbons
Aries, 4, and Orion, 7, are brothers and can be heard singing together or seen swinging together.

Feel the Love

Come celebrate all of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s animals at Love at the Zoo Feb. 13-15. The animals will experience special Valentine-themed enrichments, like heart-shaped ice and guests can participate in a Valentine scavenger hunt or drop off a card for any of the zoo’s animals in a decorated mailbox inside the front entrance. This special event is free with admission to the zoo.