Joy and Sadness at the Point Defiance Zoo

There has been a lot of joy and a lot of sadness this past year at the Point Defiance Zoo and Acquarium in Tacoma, WA.  My children and I first saw the red wolf pair Ocean Blue and Graham at the opening of the Red Wolf Woods exhibit last September, and there was joy that day to see them in their beautiful new home, and there was joy the day in April that we heard Ocean Blue might be pregnant.  There was huge relief and joy when the Sumatran Tiger Cub Mali recovered from her near escape with death last November and when she and her brother Bima went on to celebrate together their first birthday in May.  There was great joy when it was discovered the clouded leopard Chai Li was pregnant and then when the cubs were born in June. And there was deep sadness when the Sumatran Tiger Cub Mali died suddenly earlier this month.  The fact that each of these species of animals are endangered makes their births and deaths even more full of meaning.

Sumatran Tiger Cub Mali 

Precious Sumatran tiger cub Mali got sick and died suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday, July 22nd. This past November she almost died, and we were so very, very happy when she lived. She and her brother Bima celebrated their 1st birthday on May 25th. We feel heartbroken that she has died.

Mama Jaya and her cubs Mali and Bima
(picture taken on July 30, 2010, by my then 11-year-old son)

The cubs' father, Bali, on 7/28/11.
He has a form of lymphoma, but the disease is in remission.

taken by my 10-year-old daughter on 6/26/11 -- I think this is both of the cubs.

I took this picture on September 1, 2010.
I feel bad that it's so hard for me to tell them apart,
but we think this is a picture of Mali.

Sweet Mali, little flower, we will miss you.

Red Wolf Ocean Blue

Another precious animal died earlier this year at the zoo.  Back on May 9th, the red wolf Ocean Blue died suddenly of a uterine infection.  We had visited the zoo on April 22nd and listened to a keeper talk about Ocean Blue and her mate Graham, and the keeper excitedly shared that they were hopeful that Ocean Blue might be pregnant.  Then to hear that she died. . . .  oh, goodness, we felt so sad.

Ocean Blue and Graham (I took this on 4/22/11.)
Ocean Blue is on the left and Graham is on the right.

My 12-year-old son took this on April 22, 2011 -- I think this is Ocean Blue.

 Rest in Peace, Ocean Blue.

Clouded Leopard Cubs

The zoo has sweet, little 6 week old clouded leopard cubs.  The zoo had thought that at 20 months old their parents, Chai Li and Nah Fun, were too young to breed, and it was a happy and exciting surprise when they discovered Chai Li was pregnant.   She gave birth to a boy and a girl on June 14, 2011.  Their their names were announced on the 28th, and the boy's name is "Taji" (TA-jee), meaning “little brother” in Burmese, and the girl's name is "Sumalee" (su-ma-LEE), meaning “flower” in Thai (I thought it was neat to hear that her name means flower because Mali's name also meant "flower").

My children and I got to see them when we visited the zoo on Thursday, but they were asleep in their carrier.  It was still fun to see them, though!  I'm hoping that we can go sometime soon during one of their public feeding times, which are at 9:30pm and 2:30pm. Be sure to check out this page on the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium's website for more information (and videos!) about the clouded leopard cubs.

(above picture taken by my younger daughter)

Taji and Sumalee
(above picture taken by my younger daughter)

Welcome to the world, Taji and Sumalee! 
May you have a long, peaceful, and joyful life!

Camera Critters 


  1. Joy and sadness reading about these gorgeous animals. Fine work they're doing to help protect these endangered species.

  2. Great serie sof photos! I love the tiger cubs photos.


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