Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Nigerian Dwarf Goat Twins Born at Point Defiance Zoo

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There are two new kids on the block at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. A Nigerian Dwarf Goat, named Hazel, gave birth to the female twins June 24 in the Kids’ Zone area of the zoo.

This is the third birth for 4-year-old Hazel, who has been at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for only a few months. Her two 3-year-old offspring, Newman and Hanson, are among the herd of goats roaming the feeding, petting and grooming area at Kids’ Zone.

“We’re elated by the birth of these goats,” Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Land Animal Curator Natalie Davis said. “Kids’ Zone is meant to instill children with a sense of wonderment about animals; help them gain an increased level of respect for all living things; and teach them about the need to protect and care for animals.”

The newborn goats, along with some recently acquired kids, bring a whole new meaning to the term “Kids’ Zone” at the zoo. With the birth of the twin sisters, the Contact Junction portion of the child-friendly area is now home to 17 Nigerian Dwarf Goats.

The Zoo recently accepted nominations for names of the new twins. They are expected to announce the winning names very soon, via social media: https://www.facebook.com/PtDefianceZoo/ or www.pdza.org

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4_DSC_0878Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

 

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are noted for their wide range of color patterns, which include combinations of black, brown or gold mixed with white, as well as for their easy-going temperaments.

Adult males can reach a maximum size of 19–23.5 inches (48–60 cm), and females can grow to about 17–22.5 inches (43–57 cm).

These herbivorous miniature goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) are of West African descent. They have been domesticated as dairy goats and can be found all over the world. Highly adaptable, Nigerian Dwarf Goats can live in climates ranging from cold to hot and dry.

Despite their size, Nigerian Dwarf Goats are known for expressing a high quantity of milk. Their production ranges from 1 to 8 pounds of milk per day (one quart of milk weighs roughly 2 pounds), with an average doe producing about 2.5 pounds of milk per day. Their milk has a higher butterfat content than milk from full-sized dairy goats, making Nigerian Dwarf Goat milk excellent for cheese and soap making.

The gestation period for goats is 145 days, or just under five months. Twins are quite common among goat births.

Nigerian Dwarf Goats are gentle, friendly, and can easily be trained to walk on a leash. Their size and temperament enable them to be excellent "visitor" animals for nursing homes and hospitals.

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Clouded Leopard Cubs Are a Triple Threat of Cuteness

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Clouded Leopard triplets were born March 30 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. They are under the 24-hour care of keepers who feed them seven times a day and see to all of their other needs.

They squeak. They crawl a bit--sometimes over each other. They huddle together closely, looking like a big ball of spotted fur with legs and tails sticking out. They eagerly eat their special formula. And they sleep…a lot!

“Hand-rearing of these endangered exotic cats is an established practice that’s critical for their well-being as cubs and their later participation in the Species Survival Plan program for Clouded Leopards”, said staff biologist Andy Goldfarb.

Goldfarb has spent three decades caring for and raising endangered cats, and is known internationally as an expert in raising Clouded Leopards.

The cubs each weighed around 13 ounces, or just about three-quarters of a pound, at their first checkup. It’s still too early to tell their genders for certain, and they have yet to be named. The zoo will issue a news release and post to its Facebook page when details are available on how the public can help name the cubs.

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4_160406_pdza_leopardcubs_42Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium 

No date has been determined for their public debut, but zoological staff members expect the triplets’ feeds will be viewable in the Cats of the Canopy exhibit Cub Den by the end of April.

“These cubs are particularly valuable to the Species Survival Plan managed breeding program because the genetics of their mother, Sang Dao, are not represented in the population. That increases genetic diversity among the Clouded Leopards in North America,” Goldfarb said.

Sang Dao came to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium three years ago from Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas. The cubs’ father, Tien, was born at Point Defiance Zoo three years ago. They are first-time parents.

The species is under significant pressure in the wild from encroachment and destruction of its habitat, as well as poaching.

The cats, which live in the forests and trees of Southeast Asia, are elusive, and it’s difficult to know how many remain in the wild.

“These cats are very rare,” Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium General Curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said. “We hope visitors to the zoo will connect with them and be inspired to take action to help save their species in the wild.”

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium long has been a leader in Clouded Leopard conservation. Both Goodrowe Beck and Goldfarb, supported by The Zoo Society’s Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund, have worked with zookeepers in Thailand on improving ways to breed and rear Clouded Leopards. Goodrowe Beck holds a Ph.D. in reproductive biology.

Having a robust population of Clouded Leopards in zoos allows scientists to study the species’ behavior, physiology and medical conditions. That’s not possible in the wild, Goodrowe Beck said. But the information gained may one day help scientists develop conservation strategies for helping the species in the wild.

Maintaining Clouded Leopard populations in zoos allows animals like Sang Dao and Tien – and their cubs – to inspire people to take action on behalf of wildlife and wild places.

The Point Defiance Zoo’s “Paws for the Cause” program, meanwhile, helps consumers understand the link between some foods they eat, products they use and the deforestation of animal habitat half a world away.

The program also provides shoppers with tips on choosing products with deforestation-free palm oil and ways to get engaged by urging companies to make wildlife friendly choices in the raw materials they buy.

Palm oil, used in a wide variety of goods from candy to shampoo and body lotion to laundry soap, is derived from the oil palm tree. And some palm oil production results in wholesale destruction of the habitat on which Clouded Leopards, Orangutans, Tigers, Tapirs and other animals depend.

To learn more about this and how to take action, go to: www.pdza.org/pawsforthecause.

To learn more about Clouded Leopards, go to: www.pdza.org/clouded-leopard and www.cloudedleopard.org.

Tacoma zookeepers founded the nonprofit Clouded Leopard Project 15 years ago (www.cloudedleopard.org). The group works closely with the Zoo and The Zoo Society in fundraising efforts for conservation projects.

More adorable pics, below the fold!

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UPDATE: Clouded Leopard Quad Makes Public Debut

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Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s Clouded Leopard quadruplets made their official public debut on June 5th.  Visitors will be able to see the 4-week-old cubs during their 9:30am, 1:30pm and 5pm feedings, at the Tacoma, Washington zoo. 

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4_11270592_10153008384934624_9088163299593101321_oPhoto Credits: Ingrid Barrentine/Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

The cubs were born May 12 to mom, Chai-Li, and father, Nah-Fun. After their birth, Chai-Li nursed her litter for about 30 hours but, unfortunately, demonstrated she would no longer care for the newborns. According to the zoo’s General Curator, Karen Goodrowe Beck Ph.D., hand-raising the tiny Clouded Leopards was a necessary step for their health, growth and development.

Keepers plan to announce the cub’s names and genders within the coming weeks.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a recognized leader in conservation of the species. The Zoo Society’s Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund sponsors Clouded Leopard research throughout Southeast Asia. Goodrowe Beck and staff biologist, Andy Goldfarb, make periodic trips to the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand to participate in a collaborative breeding program. Zoo Education Curator, Karen Povey, conducts education work in Southeast Asia to help children learn about Clouded Leopards and the perils they face in the wild. Zookeepers, in Tacoma, Washington, founded The Clouded Leopard Project fifteen years ago to aid in continual conservation of this amazing species.

The cub’s feeding times will change as they grow. Visitors are encouraged to check the zoo’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PtDefianceZoo?ref=hl and website at www.pdza.org for exhibit times. They also will be posted at the front gate of the zoo.

There are just 93 Clouded Leopards, in 25 North American zoos, that participate in the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan.® Fifteen cubs have been born through the program this year.

Counting the quadruplet cubs, eleven Clouded Leopards live at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

People who are inspired by the Clouded Leopards’ story and want to contribute to conservation programs, on their behalf, may donate to the Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund through the donation kiosk at the Cats of the Canopy exhibit on zoo grounds or through The Zoo Society at www.pdza.org/donate .

More amazing pics, below the fold!

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Clouded Leopard Quadruplets Born at Point Defiance Zoo

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Four Clouded Leopard cubs, born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, on May 12, recently had their first official portraits. The quadruplets were born to mom, ‘Chai-Li’, and father, ‘Nah-Fun’. 

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4_150517_pdza_cubs_39Photo Credits: Ingrid Barrentine/Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

The tiny cubs are not yet on exhibit. The zoo will announce later this month when the public will be able to see them and reveal details on how and when they’ll be named.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium staff biologist Andy Goldfarb, who has worked with exotic cats for three decades, is pleased with their progress. “They are eating and gaining weight,” he said. “All four are active and moving around well.”

Caring for four Clouded Leopard cubs keeps zookeepers hopping. The tiny cubs require feeding about every three hours, and one feeding session for all four cubs takes about two hours. There is a lot of care, besides giving bottles of formula, which must be done for each cub, Goldfarb pointed out.

Hand raising cubs is routine in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan® program for Clouded Leopards, and produces the best results for their health and well-being, zoo General Curator, Karen Goodrowe Beck said.

Zookeepers ensure the little cats urinate and defecate following their feedings and provide the human touch and connection that will be important as they grow and move into other zoo-based populations.

Clouded Leopards, named for their thundercloud markings, are so shy and elusive; it’s impossible to know how many of these arboreal cats remain in the wild. Fewer than 100 live in accredited North American zoos.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a recognized global leader in Clouded Leopard conservation. Grants, from the Dr. Holly Reed Conservation Fund, support Clouded Leopard research, education, and anti-poaching work in Southeast Asia. Goldfarb and Goodrowe Beck make periodic trips to Thailand to help keepers at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo with a collaborative breeding project there.

“These cats are precious,” Goldfarb says. “Clouded Leopards are endangered, and there is constant pressure on the species from poaching, habitat loss and other human-animal conflict.”

More adorable pics, below the fold!

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Clean-up Time for Tiger Triplets

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It was recently bath-time for Sumatran Tiger, ‘Jaya’ and her female cubs, at Point Defiance Zoo.  ‘Kirana’, ‘Dari’, and ‘Indah’ seemed to be enjoying their beautification routine with mom. 

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The cubs’ birth was part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, for Sumatran Tigers.

Only about 300 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Their numbers are dramatically dwindling due to poaching and habitat destruction, primarily for the growth of oil palms. There are just 80 Sumatran Tigers in North American zoos and approximately 400 in zoos worldwide.

The three cubs bring the total number of tigers at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to nine. In addition to ‘Jaya’ and her litter, the zoo is home to Sumatran Tigers ‘Malosi’ (the cubs’ father), ‘Bima’, ‘Dumai’ and ‘Kali’. Malayan tiger ‘Berani’ also lives in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary. The tigers rotate on and off a number of exhibits.

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Mom Has Her Paws Full With Tiger Triplets

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Jaya the Sumatran Tiger has her paws full as she keeps up with her three cubs, born on October 8 at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

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Photo Credit:  Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Introduced on ZooBorns a few months ago, the three female cubs, named Kirana, Dari, and Indah, weighed between 2.5 and 3 pounds at birth.  They now weigh about 22 pounds each and are beginning to eat small amounts of meat in addition to mother’s milk.

The cubs are starting to show distinct personalities. Kirana is the "sassy" one who likes to run after her sisters and nip at them. Dari is mellow and tends to hang back a bit. Indah is feisty and vocal, often using her voice to get attention from Jaya.

Kirana, Indah, and Dari represent a success in the Species Survival Plan for Sumatran Tigers. Fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers exist in the wild on their native island of Sumatra, and their numbers are dwindling due to habitat loss and poaching.  Only about 80 Sumatran Tigers live in United States zoos.  

See more photos of the cubs below.

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Help Name Three Sumatran Tiger Cubs

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Three endangered Sumatran Tiger Cubs, at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington, need names!

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140922_pdza_108Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium/Ingrid Barrentine

Zoo staff members are eager to have names for the tiny tiger triplets and are conducting a public vote on a slate of names for the 3-week-old cubs. In the spirit of the season, voting begins today!

The zoo is also releasing the tiger cubs’ first official photos, taken during a well-cub check by staff veterinarian Dr. Allison Case and staff biologist Christy Webster.

The three female cubs, born Oct. 8, are healthy and thriving. They are living behind the scenes in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary with their mother, ‘Jaya’, who is very attentive to their needs. The cubs, who weighed between 2.5 and 3 pounds each at birth, now weigh in at 7.67, 7.80 and 8.31 pounds.

There is no date set for their public debut, but it will likely occur in just over a month when the cubs have grown a bit more and are not quite as wobbly on their legs. The new family is also enjoying additional bonding time. Cool outdoor temperatures could also play a role in when the tiny tigers come out to meet the public. 

Members of the public may vote on names, which Asian Forest Sanctuary staff biologists chose from Bahasa Indonesia, the Indonesian language. The cubs will receive the top three names. Voting runs through Nov. 13 and the names will be announced Nov. 14.

The public may vote at www.pdza.org/cubs  and can find another link at https://www.facebook.com/PtDefianceZoo.

Once the votes are tallied, zookeepers will decide which name best fits which cub based on their personalities and appearances.

“The birth of the three cubs also presents a rich opportunity for the public to learn more about Sumatran Tigers, which are a critically endangered species,” Goodrowe Beck said. “Every one of these tigers is precious. We strongly want tiger species to survive so they will be there for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren to see and appreciate.”

The cubs’ birth was part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Sumatran Tigers. Goodrowe Beck coordinates the SSP for North America.

Only about 300 Sumatran Tigers remain in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Their numbers are dramatically dwindling due to poaching and habitat destruction, primarily for the growth of oil palms. There are just 80 Sumatran Tigers in North American zoos and approximately 400 in zoos worldwide.

The three cubs bring the total number of tigers at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to nine. In addition to ‘Jaya’ and her litter, the zoo is home to Sumatran Tigers ‘Malosi’ (the cubs’ father), ‘Bima’, ‘Dumai’ and ‘Kali’. Malayan tiger ‘Berani’ also lives in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary. The tigers rotate on and off a number of exhibits.

More great photos below the fold!

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New Meerkats Join the Mob

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Four new Meerkat “kits” were born September 26th, at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington!  They’ll be on exhibit for the first time during the “Zoo Boo” event, occurring, at the zoo, this weekend, October 18th and 19th

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10661961_10152494376634624_2497394806536504099_oPhoto Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

The four babies bring the Meerkat total to 21, for the zoo. The little ones weigh just 90 grams, which is comparable to about a half-cup of M&Ms candy!

Meerkats, 'Suricata suricatta', are native to the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, much of the Namibian Desert, southwestern Angola, and South Africa. They are small, diurnal, group-living carnivores belonging to the Herpestid family (mongooses). Primarily insectivores, they will, however, also eat smaller animals, arachnids, small birds, and fungi.

Meerkats are sexually mature at about one year and breed year-round. After an 11 week gestation, females give birth to an average of 3 offspring. Females can have as many as 3 litters a year. Babies are usually weaned between 49 and 63 days. Both parents, as well as non-breeding helpers, provide care to the offspring.

Meerkats are highly social. A meerkat group, known as a “mob" "clan" or "gang," may include as many as three family groups (up to 30 individuals). Each family group is made up of parents and their offspring. Mobs live in burrows consisting of elaborate tunnel systems with multiple entrances. Their dark skin and hair help them absorb heat. When it's time to eat, one adult stays with the young as a "babysitter" while the rest of the mob forages by digging in soil and grass or overturning rocks. They will also take turns doing other jobs, including "sentry," "teacher" and "hunter."

Meerkats are currently listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.


Jasper the Lynx out Perusing the Pumpkins

Jasper_lynx_PtDefiance_1Canada Lynx kitten, ‘Jasper’, was out enjoying the fall atmosphere, recently, at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington. The six-month-old was helping the zoo promote their upcoming annual event, “Zoo Boo”, a special fall themed weekend that will be held October 18th and 19th.

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Jasper_lynx_PtDefiance_4Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo

Jasper was a feature on ZooBorns in July of this year and it is exciting to see him working toward fulfilling his duties as an ambassador for his species, as part of the Species Survival Plan. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums developed the Species Survival Plan (SSP) in 1981, in an effort to help ensure the survival of selected species. SSP programs focus on animals that are in danger of extinction in the wild, when zoo conservationists believe captive breeding programs may be their only chance to survive. 

AZA accredited zoos that are involved in SSP programs engage in cooperative population management and conservation efforts that include research, public education, reintroduction, and field conservation projects. Animal Ambassadors, like Jasper, are an important part of the education provided by SSP programs. By being able to more intimately interact with the animal ambassadors, zoo visitors can gain an understanding about the impact each species can have on the world.

The Canada Lynx is native to North America, and it ranges across Canada, into Alaska and in some parts of the northern Continental United States. Although currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the Canada Lynx as a “Threatened Species” in the lower 48 states.  The species is trapped for its fur and has declined in many areas due to habitat loss.

More great photos below the fold!

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Jasper The Lynx Cub Struts His Stuff At Point Defiance Zoo

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Meet Point Defiance Zoo's 9-week-old Canada Lynx kitten. Jasper is part of the Species Survival Plan® for Canada Lynx, which are listed as endangered in Washington state. He now weighs about 4 pounds and is being hand-reared by Point Defiance Zoo staff. Jasper will make periodic appearances around the zoo this summer as he grows into his role as an ambassador for his species.

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