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Northwest Trek News
Jul 16, 2020

It’s 11am, and Ed Cleveland is hoisting 50-pound bags of bear chow into a small storage shed. In a mask. On an 80-degree day. As he catches his breath, he jokes with fellow keeper Deanna Edwards, who’s restocking the keeper truck for a midday feed. Then he takes a long, assessing look at stock levels and heads back to the office to book in a major delivery. For Cleveland, a 62-year-old with a long Santa Claus beard and quiet smile, it’s just one part of being head keeper at Northwest Trek – a place he’s worked at for 36 years, …

Jul 16, 2020

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park opened on July 17, 1975. Today, the park embodies the vision of Dr. David T. “Doc” and Connie Hellyer, who donated their land to Metro Parks Tacoma in the early 1970s to preserve it as a wildlife park. If the Hellyers were alive today to walk through the park, they would see 185 animals, including eagles, bison, grizzlies and wolves enjoying the land they left behind just for them. They would also see many of the same towering trees. The Hellyers knew their lake-and-forest-studded land in the shadow of Mount Rainier was something special, and they …

Jul 06, 2020

It’s summer – and that means baby animal time at Northwest Trek! Book a Wild Drive Premier Tour and head out to our Free-Roaming Area meadows to look for bison and elk calves, black-tailed deer fawns and maybe even a bighorn sheep lamb or two. “It’s my favorite time of year!” said Jessie Knust, assistant naturalist, who has guided tours around the Free-Roaming Area for 5 years. How hard is it to spot little ones? Well, it depends on the animal. Bison calves Bison calves are the easiest, says Knust. With their rust-orange coats and hefty size (a bison already …

Jul 02, 2020

Even America’s most iconic symbol needs vaccinations to stay healthy. At Northwest Trek this spring, all four bald eagles received their annual shots against West Nile virus, keeping them – and the human population – safer from the disease. But the vaccination visit to Eagle Passage was also a great opportunity for the veterinary team to check up on Sucia, Salish, Sequoia and Cheveyo, getting weights, trimming beaks and nails and making sure everyone was doing well. The fun part for us? Veterinarian Dr. Allison Case decided to put on a chest Go-Pro while she worked, giving fans an eagle-eye …

Jul 01, 2020

Omak was a Colorado guy who came to Northwest Trek as a youngster in 2014. Nuka swung into town in 2018, a female originally intended to be his mate. Now, finally, both Canada lynxes are together on exhibit – but just as companions. And they’re getting along extremely well. “Nuka and Omak were first introduced behind the scenes and over time became comfortable together” said Withers. “Guests can often see them on opposite sides of the habitat, but they don’t seem to mind sharing the space. Sometimes they even share enrichment items!” Change of Plan Originally, the plan was to …

Jun 22, 2020

Tomatoes. Apples. Almonds. Pumpkin. Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. All pretty important, right? And they all have one thing in common: they need pollinators. Around 1,000 plants that humans use for food, drink, fiber, spices or medicine need to be pollinated by a very special group of animals called pollinators. Bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, hummingbirds, bats and even some kinds of beetles, flies and ants are incredibly necessary to produce much of the food humans need to survive. As pollinators forage for nectar, they transfer pollen from male to female flowers to allow the plant to reproduce – and feed humans. But …

Jun 19, 2020

Our Bear Tracks event had to be cancelled this year due to Covid-19 restrictions – but that didn’t stop our keepers from giving black bears Benton and Fern a fun camping experience! Even without guests watching, the bears really enjoyed exploring this “camp picnic” keepers set up for them, complete with their own unique way of using a cooler. Why do we do this? Well, for starters, it’s great enrichment for our bears. Offering things or experiences that encourage their natural behaviors (think sniffing, foraging, digging) is excellent for their physical and mental well-being. For this experience, our keepers carefully …

Jun 17, 2020

UPDATE 7/14/20: We are saddened to report that Macklin unexpectedly passed away yesterday from internal complications. He will be deeply missed.   Northwest Trek Wildlife Park has a new fisher in the Forest & Wetland habitat, just in time for the park’s reopening on June 18. Macklin is an 8-year-old male fisher from British Columbia – and he also tells an incredible story of conservation and care. Bringing back fishers Fishers, furry mammals in the weasel family, are native to the Northwest and historically ranged from the Cascades to Canada. But deforestation and demand for their thick, silky fur had …

Apr 17, 2020

If Dr. Karen Wolf needs another skilled set of hands for a walrus procedure, she knows who to call. And if Dr. Allison Case has a beaver or owl that needs attention while she’s out of town, she has a second clinic just a van-trip away. The two women are head veterinarians of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, respectively – and these sister zoos have veterinary teams with a long tradition of helping each other. “People don’t realize there’s this crossover,” explains Dr. Wolf of the unique veterinary partnership. “I have absolute confidence that if …

Apr 17, 2020

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park employees thank the park’s irreplaceable volunteers for their time and energy all year-round. In 2019, 190 volunteers at Northwest Trek logged a total of 9,115 hours. They volunteered in many departments, including animal care, veterinary, conservation, education, horticulture, and maintenance, as well as with the Northwest Trek Foundation Board and on special events. “We are so grateful for every single one of our volunteers who helps to make the park thrive,” said volunteer coordinator, MacKenzie Shaefer. Highlighting our volunteers Terri Terault, Animal Care Volunteer Terri Terault has volunteered at Northwest …