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Zoo News

animals

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

May 13 pup-date: The 3-week-old tamandua pup appears to be recovering from her respiratory illness and continues to receive treatment from our veterinary and animal care teams. The pup continues to nurse from her mom Terra and receives additional supplemental feedings to ensure she continues to grow and gain weight. Terra is a wonderful mother … 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

Mar 02, 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 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with protocols to keep guests safe and healthy. “Getting up close to sea turtles, sharks and other aquarium animals is an exhilarating experience for … 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

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 53rd 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