Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

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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10929117_10152714563699624_6544985182555077372_oPhoto Credits: Point Defiance Zoo

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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UPDATE! Clouded Leopard Cub Plays with Future Mate at Point Defiance Zoo

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At the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the Clouded Leopard cub Tien has a new playmate, who will hopefully become his mate one day. Sang Dao (pronounced Sing Dow), five and a half months old, arrived on September 12 from Tanganyika Wildlife Park near Wichita, Kansas. She’s been settling into her new zoo, and keepers have started introducing her to Tien, who was born May 1 at Point Defiance. These photos were taken the day after her arrival. The two cubs—and their caretakers—seem to have had a wonderful rough-and-tumble time at the introduction. 

“She’s a go-getter girl with high energy,” Senior Staff Biologist Andy Goldfarb says of the new arrival. 

Sang Dao will be visible to visitors in the cub den at the zoo, and she and Tien will sometimes appear there together. The pair will be raised together with the aim of eventually breeding to further their endangered species. They are part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Clouded Leopards. Clouded Leopards typically breed around the age of two.

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5 leopardPhoto Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Counting Sang Dao, the zoo now has seven of these endangered creatures.  Overall, there are 96 in North American zoos, and it is not known how many live in their native habitat in Southeast Asia, according to Point Defiance.

See many more playdate photos after the fold!

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Update! Point Defiance's Clouded Leopard Makes Friends in the Cub Den

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Point Defiance Zoo's Clouded Leopard cub Tien, first announced HERE on Zooborns, has warmed up to Sumatran Tiger cub Kali at the Zoo's Cub Den. Tien was born on May 1st, making him just over two months old. Tien now weighs 7.8 pounds and continues to grow rapidly.

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The Cub Den houses all the zoo's cubs, where keepers can care for them and visitors can get a rare glimpse of the interactions between various endangered species. While Kali lives in the den, keepers have been bringing Tien into the den twice a day for feedings and keeper interactions. Keepers are careful to keep an eye on the two because of their size difference. At 25 pounds, Kali is nearly triple the weight of Tien! Read more about Kali on Zooborns herehere and here.

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Point Defiance Zoo is one of only three zoos in the US that breeds these Endangered cats. Native to Southeast Asia, the Clouded Leopard's habitats are threatened by the expansion of palm oil plantations. Point Defiance Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP®), which oversees the clouded leopard populations in zoos worldwide and makes breeding recommendations based on the genetics of each cat. 

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Photo Credit Point Defiance Zoo