Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Baby Skunk Is Stinkin' Cute

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A four-month old baby Skunk is the newest star of the live animal show at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.  Thurston makes his debut this weekend in the zoo’s twice-daily show entitled “Captain Adventure vs. Dr. Do-Nothing: The Quest to Get Outside!”

Thurston has had his scent glands removed to protect the audience from any unexpected skunky outbursts.


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Striped Skunks live throughout North America, where they inhabit forests, grasslands, and urban areas.  They feed on insects, small animals, fruits, grains, and nuts, with their diet varying considerably with the seasons.  When threatened by another animal, Skunks release a very unpleasant odor from their highly- developed anal scent glands.

The zoo’s live animal show features a superheroine, a superdog, a dastardly villain, 13-16 animals and five zoo staff to deliver a message about the importance of getting out into nature. 

Photo Credits:  Point Defiance Zoo & Aquraium

Point Defiance Zoo Steps In To Hand-rear Tiny Sumatran Tiger Cub


Last week, vets and zoological staff at Tacoma, Washington's Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium decided to hand-rear it's then 6-day-old Sumatran Tiger cub. The cub appeared to be losing weight and was not getting enough milk from his mother.

“It’s in his best interest so he can receive round-the-clock feedings with special formula,” head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf said. Wolf made the decision to move him from the den box in which his mother, Jaya, gave birth and put him in the zoo’s Animal Health Care clinic after she consulted with zoological staff in the Asian Forest Sanctuary.


Photo credit: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

About 200 Sumatran tigers live in zoos around the world. They are native only to the island of Sumatra. There are an estimated 300 in the wild.

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Take a Peek! Day-Old Sumatran Tiger Cub Seen on Hidden Camera

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On August 22, Sumatran Tiger named Jaya gave birth to an adorable and healthy cub at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.  A hidden camera has been used to observe mother and baby while keeping disturbances to a minimum.  These photos and the accompanying must-see video were taken when the cub was just one day old. 

From all accounts, mother and cub appear to be doing well. The zoo hopes to introduce Jaya and her cub to visitors in about two months. Until then, the two will remain behind the scenes at the zoo.

Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered in their native home in Indonesia.  The destruction of Sumatra’s rain forests for the illegal planting of palm oil plantations has raised international awareness of the precarious state of Sumatran Tigers in the wild.  Unfortunately, zoo births for this species are extremely rare, so the arrival of this tiny cub is of great importance to the species. 

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Photo Credits:  Point Defiance Zoo & Aqaurium

Critically Endangered Red Wolf Pups Born at Point Defiance


ZooBorns strives to highlight the ways animals born at accredited zoos and aquariums can directly support vital conservation programs in the wild. Perhaps no effort better illustrates this than the Red Wolf Recovery Program, for which the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is the flagship breeding facility.

Hunted, poisoned and cut off from natural habitat, Red Wolves were formally declared extinct in the wild after biologists captured the remaining 17 wolves in the 1970s for an ambitious new pilot breeding program. Remarkably, 14 of the those wolves bred in captivity and by 1987 enough pups had been born for the US Fish & Wildlife to attempt reintroduction efforts.

Today over 100 Red Wolves roam their native habitats in northeastern North Carolina. While this a far cry from the tens of thousands that once ranged from New England to Florida, it still represents a tremendous success, marking the first time a predator population has been rebuilt in the wild after being declared extinct in the wild.



On May 14, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium staff were delighted to welcome 8 critically endangered Red Wolf pups to mother Millie, an 8-year-old female, and father 9-year-old Graham. Millie is an attentive and protective mother, said Will Waddell, the zoo’s Red Wolf program coordinator, who also manages the nationwide Red Wolf Species Survival Plan and is part of the Red Wolf Recovery Team. 

While these pups are first born on zoo grounds in 29 years, the program has produced hundreds of pups at off-site breeding facilities since its inception.



Zoo staff are working on a closed-circuit camera feed of Millie and her pups in their den so they might be viewable by the media and the public. They likely will come out of their den and into the exhibit in three to four weeks – a purely voluntary action – Waddell said.

470789_10150826218914624_125282134623_9734552_398132010_oPhoto credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Learn more about the Point Defiance Zoo's leadership in the Red Wolf Recovery Program and visit the program's official US FIsh & Wildlife page. For more info and photos, continue reading after the jump.

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Clouded Leopard Cubs To Turn Two Months Old!

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Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo's Clouded Leopard cubs have names: The female, is now Suksn (pronounced Sook-Son); her brother, is Chận sūng (pronounced Chan-Soon). Her new name means "mischievous;" his means "noble." Nearly 6,000 votes were cast in the name-the-cubs survey. This Sunday, the cubs turn two months old and, as you can see, they are getting more playful every time we check in with them!

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See more pics after the fold...

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Clouded Leopard Cubs at One Month


Three weeks ago we brought you photos and video of the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium's beautiful Clouded Leopard cubs at just one week old. Time to check back in. On April 6, the cubs celebrated their one month birthday. Just three zoos breed Clouded Leopards in North America and this is Point Defiance's second litter for mom Chai Li and dad Nah Fun. See the whole photo set on the Point Defiance Zoo's Facebook page

Native to Southeast Asia, the Clouded Leopard is a skilled climber that can walk headfirst down a tree trunk or climb upside down along the underside of a branch. Reaching up to 50 lbs., Clouded Leopards are under increasing pressure in the wild as a substitute for tiger in traditional medicines.






Photo credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Clouded Leopard Babies Are Back!

Photo credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium's endangered Clouded Leopard, Chai Li, gave birth to two healthy cubs yesterday, one female (photo) and one male. It is Chai Li and Nah Fun's second litter and mom and cubs are doing well. Learn more about the birth at the zoos web page about the cubs and stay tuned for more photo and video updates!

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