Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Meet Sheldon the Playful Serval Cub at Point Defiance Zoo

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Meet Sheldon, Point Defiance Zoo's baby Serval. In addition to little Sheldon, there are a few other young cats at the zoo right now - Kali the Tiger cub and Tien the baby Clouded Leopard. Keepers get them together for playtime both behind the scenes and now at certain times within public view so guests can enjoy their antics. Sheldon can always be identified by his big ears. That size, along with the ability to rotate them independently, allows them to pinpoint small animals close by when hunting.

The Serval (Leptailurus serval), a medium-sized cat found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, lives mainly in thickly covered areas close to water. This species is unusual in that it loves to play in the water.  They practice leaping in it as well, a hunting method they use to catch birds in flight, as well as pouncing on hares and mole rats, which round out their carnivorous diet.

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Photo Credit: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

Although the Serval is not considered to be at great risk in the wild, they are being subjected to increasing loss of their wetland habitats, which has led to population declines in certain areas. They are also extensively hunted for their fur. 

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A Second Seal Pup for Point Defiance Zoo

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The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium welcomed its second Pacific Harbor Seal pup in two weeks when mom Qilak delivered a healthy baby on June 10.  Another female, Shila, delivered a pup on June 2.

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Photo Credit:  Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

 

The pair of pups made their public debut on June 20.  Zoo keepers report that Shila and Qilak are taking excellent care of their newborns.  The newest pup weighed 22.6 pounds (10.3 kg) at birth.

In the wild, Seals feed on a wide variety of fish.  You can see mother Seal eating fish in the video above.  For now, of course, both pups get all their nutrition through their mothers’ milk.

 


Got Blubber? Seal Pup Packs It On

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A Pacific Harbor Seal born at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is strong and healthy but needs to gain a layer of blubber before it can go on exhibit in a few weeks, according to its keepers.  The pup, a male, is in an off-exhibit area with his mother, eight-year-old Shila. 

A layer of blubber is important so the pup can regulate his own body temperature. 

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Photo credit: Jesse Michener/Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

“Shila is showing wonderful maternal instincts,” zoo general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said. “She’s pretty calm. She’s a great mom.”

The pups’ father is Q, a 14-year-old male who spent about a year at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on a breeding loan from the Seattle Aquarium. He returned to Seattle last month.

Right now the pup looks bigger than he is.  He weighs only 23 pounds, which is just 12% of Shila’s 180 pounds.  As an adult, he could weigh up to 375 pounds.

Pacific Harbor Seals are found north of the equator in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. On the West Coast, they range from Alaska to Baja California. They live in near-shore coastal waters and frequent rocky islands, sandy beaches, mudflats, bays and estuaries.  Pacific Harbor Seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

See more photos of the pup below the fold.

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UPDATE: Baby Tiger Gets Her Bottle at Point Defiance Zoo

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A 3-week-old endangered Sumatran Tiger cub made her first public appearance at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium last week, and zoo visitors can now watch twice a day as the cub, named Kali, is bottle-fed by zoo keepers.

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Photo credit: Jesse Michener/Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

 

The Tiger was born April 17 to mom Jaya. Malosi is her father.  “She’s spunky, robust, and energetic,” zoo staff biologist Steven Ok said. Kali gets about three ounces of formula five times a day.  Zoo visitors can watch the 10 am and 2 pm feedings.

Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered. Kali is only the third Sumatran Tiger born in North America this year.  There are 74 Sumatran Tigers in North American zoos, and an estimated 300 left in their native habitat on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The Species Survival Plan® works to ensure genetic diversity in the zoo-based Tiger population through careful breeding recommendations and management.  Habitat loss and poaching are the Tigers’ greatest threats.

“Every Tiger is precious,” said Karen Goodrowe Beck, zoo general curator, who also chairs the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan. “We are very pleased at the birth of this cub and with her progress to date. Female cubs are particularly needed in this population. She is a welcome addition.”



One Little Leopard Cub, Just Nine Days Old

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Good news! A healthy male Clouded Leopard cub was born at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium on the morning of May 1. He is the third litter born to Chai Li and her mate Nah Fun. They are part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Plan, which manages and maintains a population of this species. 

The cub is being bottle-fed and will be hand-reared by zoo staff with extensive experience in the care of these exotic cats. This has produced the best results in terms of health and well-being of newborn cubs. Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable in the wild according to the IUCN, so every one is a precious addition to the population. 

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Photo Credit: Point Defiance Zoo


UPDATE! It's Nap Time for Point Defiance Zoo's Sumatran Tiger Cub

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Point Defiance Zoo's tiny baby Sumatran Tiger, whose birth was first announced HERE on ZooBorns, is growing. She's gaining weight too, as staff feeds and cares for her around the clock. This cub is a rare and precious gift, as she is one of only three Sumatran Tiger cubs born in North America so far this year. She does not yet have a name.  Her mom, Jaya, is back in the exhibit and doing well.

Sumatran Tigers are highly endangered. There are only 74 in North American zoos and approximately 200 in zoos around the world. Only about 250 to 300 remain in their native habitat on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

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Watch as the little one takes a snooze:


Photo Credit: Point Defiance Zoo

Critically Endangered Tiger Cub Born at Point Defiance

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This past Wednesday the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington welcomed a critically endangered Sumatran Tiger cub. Zoological staff are closely watching over mom Jaya and the 2.5-pound female cub. Both appear to be healthy and are resting behind the scenes.

It’s the third litter for 9-year-old Jaya. The father is Malosi, who came to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium from Honolulu Zoo last year as part of an approved breeding program through the Species Survival Plan for Sumatran Tigers.



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“We are elated with this birth,” Goodrowe Beck said. “Sumatran Tigers are highly endangered. There are only 74 in North American zoos and approximately 200 in zoos around the world. Only about 250 to 300 remain in their native habitat on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.” Goodrowe Beck chairs the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Sumatran Tigers.



Zoo deputy director John Houck celebrated the zoo’s leadership in the breeding program. “Today there is one more precious Sumatran Tiger in the world,” Houck said. “This is a confirmation of worldwide efforts to conserve this magnificent species.”

Jaya’s two sons, 3-year-old Bima and 8-month-old Dumai, are among the five Sumatran Tigers now at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The zoo also is home to Berani, an 8-month-old Malayan Tiger.

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Point Defiance Zoo Sumatran Tiger Mom JayaPhoto credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium


Nothing Says "It's Springtime" Like The Birth of Clouded Leopard Cubs

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the births of two litters of Clouded Leopard cubs. On March 26, Jing Jai gave birth to one female cub and Baylie gave birth to one male and one female. All three are doing well and are being hand-raised by the Zoo’s animal care staff.

“Nashville Zoo is a leader in Clouded Leopard conservation, with 18 Clouded Leopards born at our off-exhibit breeding facility since 2009,” said Karen Rice, carnivore supervisor at Nashville Zoo. “These cubs will remain a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Clouded Leopard population as breeding cats, education or exhibit animals. Whatever role they play, they will contribute to the ongoing conservation effort.” 

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Photo credits: Amiee Stubbs

 

Clouded Leopards are considered endangered because of deforestation, poaching and the pet trade. Nashville Zoo is a member of the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium, an ongoing collaboration with the National Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo, Clouded Leopard Species Survival Program and Zoological Park Organization of Thailand (ZPO) to develop a multi-faceted clouded leopard conservation program that includes a viable self-sustaining captive population. 

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Presenting Lilo, Mushu, Grimsby, Basil and Fidget!

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The Feb. 26th birth of 5 Meerkat kits, Lilo, Mushu, Grimsby, Basil and Fidget, brings the total Meerkat population at Tacoma, WA's Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to 26. Each new kit is around as heavy as 2/3 of a cup of water! This is the zoo's second batch of kits this month. Zookeepers in the zoo’s Kids’ Zone area say at least one group of adults and kits will be on exhibit for at least half of the day during regular zoo hours.


Meet Frick and Frack, Point Defiance Zoo's Newest Additions

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The Meerkat gangs at Point Defiance Zoo have grown again, and the newest kits – Frick and Frack – are now on exhibit in the Kids' Zone. The two were born to mom Darwin on Feb. 3 and weigh about 140 and 150 grams. That’s around 5 to 6 ounces -- about the same as two-thirds of a cup of water! They will grow to be about 1.5 to 2 pounds each and will measure approximately 14 inches long, not counting the length of their tails.

Meerkats are very social animals, and live together as families known as gangs. Each gang at the Zoo is referred to by the dominant female’s name. So Frick and Frack bring the number of Meerkats in the Darwin gang to seven. There are two other gangs - the Amelia gang of nine and the Huxley gang of five. Each assume roles within the group; Darwin has had help from one or more "babysitters" in the gang, who look after the new babies as they explore and adapt to the habitat. Meerkats belong to the mongoose family and live in the savannahs in the south of Africa.

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Photo Credit: Point Defiance Zoo

See more of Frick anf Frack after the fold!

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