Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

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


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.


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.


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. 



Photo Credit Point Defiance Zoo

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. 

See more pictures after the fold:

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A Second Seal Pup for Point Defiance Zoo


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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Seal (2)

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


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. 



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


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. 

Leopard cub
Photo Credit: Point Defiance Zoo

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


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.




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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Sumatran Tiger Cub Point Defiance Zoo 2

“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.

Tiger Mom, Jaya

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

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

Clouded Leopard Cubs 2013 - Amiee Stubbs

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.” 



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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