The only problem with zoo babies is that, relatively speaking, they're not babies for very long. I was reminded of that when I brought my preschooler to the Woodland Park Zoo last week to see the new Bamboo Forest Reserve exhibit and the lion cubs. Except, we couldn't find cubs in the lion exhibit. Instead, we marveled at the still-magnificent, but-not-quite-as-cute-as-we-expected adolescent lions, born in November. (They are considered grown at two years.)
To keep you from making the same mistake, and because we're in the middle of a zoo baby boom, and because these photos are just really, really cute, here's a round-up of local zoo babies on view right now.
Point Defiance Aquarium & Zoo: Tiger cubs and meerkats
It's cub central at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
Kali, the newest member of the endangered Sumatran tiger family, turned one month on May 17 (check out that pin-up-like photo of her below). She has grown from a birth weight of about 2.5 pounds to more than 10 pounds in just four weeks. Zoo visitors can watch Kali’s feedings and keeper interactions with her in the Cub Den during zoo hours (daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. right now).
Want to see playfulness in action? Berani, a Malayan tiger, and Dumai, a Sumatran tiger, turned 9 months in May. From a birth weight of 2.5 pounds and 3 pounds, respectively, they each weigh well over 100 pounds, roughly a third of the way to full-grown tiger weight.
Point Defiance's Kris Sherman says, "Though from different subspecies and, of course, different parents, these now big boys are 'brothers' in every other sense of the word." They've been raised together since October (Dumai was born at Point Defiance and Berani at the Tulsa Zoo), specifically so the two single-litter tigers could learn tiger behavior from each other. See them chase and play with each other at Point Defiance's Asian Forest Sanctuary.
Not on view yet is a clouded leopard cub, born May 1 to Chai Li and her mate Nah Fun; he is receiving round-the-clock care and feeding.
And don't forget the latest batch of meerkat kits (meerkats are a small member of the mongoose family), which you can see at the Point Defiance's Kids’ Zone; they arrived over the winter and spring.
Woodland Park Zoo: Lion cubs, sloth bear cubs, wallaby, porcupette
Meanwhile, the Woodland Park Zoo is brimming with even more babies. First, there are those aforementioned four lion cubs, born to lioness Aida in November and now 6 months old. You can find them in the African Savanna exhibit. (Here's my non-pro snapshot.)
A porcupette (yes, baby porcupine) was a surprise birth in April. Fun fact: It's born with eyes open and a full coat, unlike many rodents, and within hours of birth its soft coat of quills begins to harden.
There's also a young wallaby (which is on view, though it might be in the pouch at times), two sloth bear cubs (see below) and three jaguar cubs, born in March (currently in a behind-the-scenes den). Oh, and eight penguin chicks and a tawny frogmouth chick (on view later this summer).
There's also this male red-crowned crane chick, born May 13, which you can see following its parents around the wetland exhibit.
Many of these animals will be out over Memorial Day weekend, weather permitting.
Northwest Trek: Bison calf, more babies expected
Head to Eatonville for a look at some native wildlife babies, including a wobbly-legged female bison calf, born at the end of April, bighorn sheep rams and moose calves.
You can see them all in the free-roaming area of Trek. And they're expecting more little ones to show up over the next few weeks.
Cougar Mountain Zoo: Alpaca
At 1-year-old this month, this little alpaca was donated to the Cougar Mountain Zoo by Alpacas at Legacy Ranch after they heard the zoo's 23 1/2 year old alpaca, Charlie Brown, had passed away.
They're also expecting a new baby reindeer soon.
Had enough? Me neither. More updates soon!
About the author: Elisa Murray is ParentMap's Out + About editor. She is a Seattle transplant, arriving here by way of Oklahoma, Boston, and Ecuador, and has one 3-year-old cub of her own who is growing up way too fast.