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Northwest Trek News
Nov 15, 2019

It was a glorious day to be a fisher. In the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, just south of Randle, Washington, fall leaves crackled underfoot and the November air was crisp. As a crowd of humans watched in hushed silence, the door lifted on a crate – and the first of four new Cascades fishers darted out into the ferns. The latest chapter in the recovery of a species was being told. “We are here today as partners in bringing fishers back to Washington,” explained Jeff Lewis, conservation biologist for the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. “Individually, as a species, …

Nov 04, 2019

Taking a one-year-old for his physical check-up is not usually that difficult – unless, of course, he happens to be a 450-pound grizzly cub. Last week, Northwest Trek veterinarian Dr. Allison Case had not one but two enormous grizzlies to examine – so naturally enough, she made a house call. On Thursday morning it was Hawthorne’s turn. Huckleberry had had his check-up on Wednesday, and all went well. Now, he was out in the bears’ forested habitat, intently chewing an elk hide treat, while Hawthorne lay peacefully on a cot bed in their sleeping area, anesthetized for the exam. “We’re …

Oct 24, 2019

She’s named after a mountain, but she’s the smallest of the herd. As her human care team watched closely, little mountain goat Ellinor – one of ten kids cared for at the wildlife park after recent mountain goat relocation efforts in the Olympic Mountains – trotted out to the Free-Roaming Area Wednesday morning to meet the rest of the Northwest Trek herd. There to meet her were the five yearling goat kids who’d found a home here after last year’s relocation project, and an older nanny. And while there was some initial surprise all round, it was soon clear that …

Oct 21, 2019

With the grace of a ballerina and the timing of an opera diva, Carly the cougar pads into her den. Behind the scenes at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, the den has a mesh wall with a waist-high perch on one side, where keeper Haley Withers is waiting patiently outside with some meatballs. “Come on, girl,” she calls softly. Carly pauses. Looks the scene over. Then in one swift movement she’s up on the perch, positioning her tail near a small horizontal opening. It’s cougar-training time. Trust me – just hold still “To train any animal, you need their trust,” says …

Oct 16, 2019

Wildlife products now illegal to sell in Washington can be dropped off at Oct. 26 event. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 25, 2019 TACOMA, Wash. – Have any ivory carvings tucked away at home? A shark fin souvenir? Grandma’s antique turtle-shell brooch? Thanks to the passing of the Washington Animal Trafficking Act – I-1401 – those wildlife products are now illegal to sell in Washington state without proper documentation, in order to protect endangered species from poaching. Yet there may be many South Sounders who still own such products, through inheritance or prior sale. What to do with those items? Hand …

Oct 15, 2019

For Veterinary Technician Week 2019, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them! Vet techs assist veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care and they care deeply about our animals, often in very practical ways. We couldn’t care for our animals without them. Meet Tracy Cramer, our new full-time clinical veterinary technician at Northwest Trek. Why did you become a veterinary technician? I’ve always loved animals. I grew up with a lot of pets, everything from tarantulas to horses. We lived in rural Michigan, with woods behind our house. My friends and I would spend …

Oct 09, 2019

Examining three mountain goat kids in a row? That’s all in a day’s work for a wildlife park that’s looking after 10 goat kids until they go to their new homes. “All right,” said Dr. Allison Case, Northwest Trek veterinarian, checking off her notes. “We’ve done weight, we’ve done blood samples, fecal samples, dewormer, fly spray, vaccinations, hoof trim, antibiotic. We just have the rest of the physical and we’re done.” The goat kid with the yellow ear tag sleeping peacefully under anesthetic was just the first of three to have exams that day in the Northwest Trek veterinary clinic, …

Oct 08, 2019

There are people who decorate for Halloween. There are people who recreate a haunted house. And then there’s Hoot ‘n’ Howl. An entire wildlife park full of spooky decorations, lights and glowing pumpkins, not to mention games, treats and even a ghost tram, the annual Northwest Trek fall event (this year Oct. 11-12 and 18-19) takes weeks of preparation from almost every single staff member: zookeepers, naturalists, admissions staff, maintenance crew and more. But it’s worth every minute. Pumpkins and Prep “It’s a lot of work, but it’s so much fun,” says Emily Santiago, the lead naturalist in charge of …

Oct 08, 2019

Plenty of schools go on pumpkin patch field trips. Some get to visit grizzly bears at Northwest Trek. But there’s only one school where you get to grow pumpkins, then hide them for grizzly cubs to find – and that’s Weyerhaeuser Elementary, whose second- and third-graders came to Northwest Trek early this October (and last year too) to do exactly that. It’s all part of the school’s focus on outdoor STEM education, helped along by volunteer expertise from Trek horticulturalist Jake Pool. “Look, this one’s enormous!” cried one boy, stepping between vines to a giant Cinderella pumpkin. “And this one’s …

Oct 01, 2019

Rubber boas usually don’t get a lot of attention. In the wild, this Western American snake stays out of the spotlight, active at night and burrowing during the day. Their smooth, light brown skin blends perfectly with the forest floor. But at Northwest Trek this month, the rubber boa in the Cheney Discovery Center was the center of some extraordinary care – and affection – from veterinary staff and keepers alike. “All right, girl,” murmured keeper Wendi Mello, crouching at the back of the rubber boa habitat and gently reaching inside. At her touch, the snake instantly started to curl …