Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

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!

Point Defiance Zoo Clouded Leopard Cubs 8
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!

Point Defiance Zoo Clouded Leopard Cubs 9

Point Defiance Zoo Clouded Leopard Cubs 1

Point Defiance Zoo Clouded Leopard Cubs 4

Point Defiance Zoo Clouded Leopard Cubs 2

Point Defiance Zoo Clouded Leopard Cubs 5

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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Meet Libby, Point Defiance Zoo's Sea Otter


Little Libby was found orphaned off the coast in California late April. She is the youngest and smallest sea otter that Monterey Bay Aquarium has successfully rehabilitated. She arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on November 2 and is currently 30 pounds. Libby has formed a close bond with Point Defiance's next youngest sea otter, Kaladi, and the two of them love to splash and play!



Photo credits: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

Meerkat Kit Peeks Out From Under Mom

Pup in hands

This little Meerkat named Kingsley (after British explorer Mary Henrietta Kingsley) was born August 22 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, WA. He spends most of his time tucked under his family members, mainly his mother, Darwin.  

Meerkats are sexually mature at about one year. The females can have as many as three litters a year. There is no breeding season, and favorable conditions can lead to an increase in births.  After an 11 week gestation, an average of three offspring are born.  Babies are usually weaned between 49 and 63 days. Both mother and father may provide care to the offspring. Meerkats lifespan is from 5-15 years. 

Meerkats are highly social and live groups called mobs, which made up of as many as three family groups (up to 30 individuals total). Each family group is made up of parents and their offspring. Kingsley is doing well  and getting to know his extended family.

Under mom 1


Tuck again
Photo Credit: Seth Bynum / Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Look Ma... No Paws!!


The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium's 2-month-old Clouded Leopard cubs born June 14th are growing up fast and struttin' their stuff in pictures taken Friday.  Point Defiance Zoo is one of only three zoos in the country breeding endangered Clouded Leopards, along with the Smithsonian's National Zoo and The Nashville Zoo.





Photo credits: Seth Bynum / Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium