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2021 Year in Photos

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2021 Year in Photos
December 20, 2021

What a year this has been! Northwest Trek Wildlife Park won top honors in Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ 2021 Exhibit Award for Eagle Passage, head-started and released hundreds of endangered northern leopard frogs back into the wild, welcomed a new moose calf and celebrated the birth of a mountain goat kid, among so many other moments. Thanks for being here on this journey with us. Enjoy our best photos of 2021, taken by staff photographer Katie Cotterill.

female caribou

Northwest Trek won a national award for the Eagle Passage exhibit.

eagle sitting on log

Northwest Trek welcomed a five-month-old moose calf named Birch to the park in November.

Birch the moose up close

moose standing in field

In February, animals at the wildlife park enjoyed a snow day.

grizzly bears wrestling in snow

bald eagle in snow

red fox in snow

cougar in snow

elk in snow

Elk calves in the Free-Roaming Area made a new bird friend.

A bull elk showing off a new fashion trend.

elk in rut

Hawthorn plays with his beloved stick.

grizzly bear plays with stick

Northwest Trek, along with federal, state, tribal and partner biologists released fishers from Alberta, Canada into the lush, coastal forest in Olympic National Park, the latest event in a nearly two decades-long project to restore the native species to Washington State.

Fisher release at Staircase

A female mountain goat kid, named Nettle, was born to mom Bailey, one of five goat kids that arrived at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in fall 2018 under a multi-agency project to relocate non-native mountain goat kids  from Washington’s Olympic Mountains to the North Cascades where their populations were depleted.

mountain goat in field

Mountain goat kid born to mom Bailey.

The wildlife park welcomed many baby animals, including bighorn sheep lambs and elk calves.

bighorn sheep lamb

elk calf and mom

Wolverine Rainier celebrated Valentine’s Day with a special card from his keepers.

Rainier and Ahma get Valentine's Day enrichment

Black bears Benton and Fern demonstrated how easy it is for bears to get into your campsite if you don’t take the right precautions, like safely storing your food.

bear having picnic

The gray wolves celebrated their 8th birthday with a donut-themed party.

Gray wolves celebrate their 8th birthday

A trumpeter swan named Lily arrived at the wildlife park to be a companion for Reed.

trumpeter swan in lake

trumpeter swan released

Northwest Trek celebrated Pride in July. “We’re committed to being a welcoming and inclusive place of connection for everyone in our community,” said Director Alan Varsik.

Raccoon with pride enrichments

Northwest Trek raised hundreds of Northern Leopard frogs, and eventually released them into the wild to help boost the native population.

WDFW drops off leopard frog eggs, some with tadpoles emerging

northern leopard frogs

tagging northern leopard frogs

Huckleberry poses for the perfect selfie.

grizzly bear

Hawthorn goes for a swim with antlers.

grizzly bear with elk antler

Fern the black bear enjoys her habitat at Northwest Trek on a warm spring day.

black bear standing up

Wolverine Ahma shows off her beautiful coat that separates her from other wolverines. Each wolverine has a slightly different coat.


Northwest Trek hosted students for the first-ever Beyond the Bell field trip, a groundbreaking new partner program offering after-school activities and childcare to Tacoma students.

field trip to Northwest Trek

Grizzly bears Hawthorn and Huckleberry had a health check-up with the wildlife park’s veterinary staff.

vet exam on Grizzly bear

Vet Exam on Grizzly bear

vet exam on grizzly bear

The river otters show off their playful side year-round.

river otter

Wild geese visit the park’s Free-Roaming Area.

Grizzly bear Huckleberry takes a snooze.

Northwest Trek’s incredible staff photographer Katie Cotterill took portraits of keepers and their favorite animals, superimposing them in her camera as a double-exposure shot. The results were magic.

Aspen enjoys a fall day in the Free-Roaming Area.

Golden eagle Hayward stares intensely at our staff photographer.

Northwest Trek hosted its annual Hoot ‘n’ Howl event in October.

Caribou lick lichen off a tree.