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Northwest Trek News
Apr 18, 2022

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 2021, volunteers at Northwest Trek logged a total of 2,295 hours. “I appreciate all of our volunteers for their hard work and dedication to Northwest Trek and willingness to assist at any time,” said volunteer coordinator Jessica Steele. Six volunteers have each given more than 20 years of service to the wildlife park. Another three have given at least ten years. It’s likely you’ve met a volunteer while visiting Northwest Trek. Many of them have probably …

Apr 15, 2022

Metro Parks Tacoma’s Dickman Mill Park and groundbreaking nature science education curriculum Wildlife Champions have won 2022 Spotlight Awards from the Washington Recreation & Park Association (WRPA). The awards, open to any Washington parks district, were announced Thursday night at the annual WRPA conference in Bellevue, Washington. The Spotlight Award category recognizes outstanding achievement in facilities, parks, trails or programs by parks and recreation agencies. “Metro Parks is extremely proud of both of these outstanding contributions to our community, which perfectly fulfil our mission of creating healthy opportunities to play, learn and grow,” said Andrea Smith, Park Board president. “We’re …

Apr 07, 2022

There are plenty of signs of spring at Northwest Trek: skunk cabbage and red flowering currant are blooming, fern fiddleheads are unfurling, Oregon grape is blossoming, birds are chirping, and the grizzly “brothers” are waking up from their winter naps and becoming more playful every day. After being in a state of torpor (a form of hibernation) all winter, Huckleberry and Hawthorne can be seen playing and exploring in their forested habitat. “A stick in their habitat recently caught Hawthorne’s attention and he rolled around with it all day,” said keeper Carly. Carly says Hawthorne is the more excitable of …

Apr 01, 2022

For the fourth consecutive year, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are certified as sensory-inclusive venues by a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing understanding, acceptance, and inclusion for people with sensory needs. “We want every guest to feel welcome and comfortable throughout their visit,” said Alan Varsik, director of Point Defiance Zoo and Northwest Trek. “Becoming sensory-inclusive helps us engage with everyone in our community and awaken a connection to wildlife.” In 2019, the two sister zoos were among the first venues in Washington to become sensory-certified through KultureCity. Today, eight venues in the state are …

Mar 25, 2022

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park will be open daily (April 2-April 10) just in time for spring breaks and there will be plenty to see and do. Both wild animals and the animals at Northwest Trek become much more active in spring as it warms up and natural food sources become more abundant. Watch Active Bears Both the black bears and grizzly bears seem to be getting their full energy back and will be viewable over spring breaks. The black bears at Northwest Trek are waking up from torpor, a state in which a bear’s body temperature, respiratory rate and metabolic …

Mar 23, 2022

Locating Amphibian Egg Masses What species of amphibians are thriving in the Pacific Northwest? One way to find out is to locate and identify their egg masses, and March is a perfect month to monitor for amphibian egg masses in the ponds at Northwest Trek. Just north of the wildlife park is a 4-acre wetland mitigation site where this search frequently takes place. “This is an ideal place for monitoring egg masses,“ says Northwest Trek’s Conservation Program Coordinator Rachael. “Since the wetland’s restoration, we’ve identified eggs from seven of the eight monitored species of stillwater-breeding amphibians.” “The biggest diversity of …

Mar 16, 2022

Long before Rainier the wolverine was getting his teeth cleaned and blood drawn, he was training with his animal care team to ensure a successful exam day. Northwest Trek keeper Wendi has been working with Rainier for months to get him comfortable with voluntarily receiving medical injections. This critical training means Rainier doesn’t have to be darted for sedation, making it easier for the wolverine as well as his animal care and veterinary teams. And now that he’s comfortable, Rainier won’t have to be sedated for preventive care, such as vaccinations. At Northwest Trek’s veterinary hospital, the 13-year-old wolverine is …

Feb 23, 2022

Birch, a beloved moose at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, died yesterday after a sudden and severe decline in his health. Dr. Allison Case, the wildlife park’s veterinarian, said the 8-month-old moose was showing signs of lethargy and severe gastro-intestinal disease Monday. His veterinary and animal care teams intervened immediately with medical treatment. When his condition didn’t improve yesterday, Birch was moved to the on-site animal hospital for more intensive care and diagnostic testing. Birch died under anesthesia as his intensive medical treatments were concluding, said Dr. Case. “Birch was adored by everyone who knew him and we are devastated to …

Feb 22, 2022

This Black History Month, we sat down with Sunni, a zookeeper at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park who helps make the park the incredibly special place it is. We asked her about her experiences in zookeeping and what working with animals and wildlife means to her. Q: What is your favorite part of the job? A: I love working with and creating a relationship with the animals. I also enjoy creating fun and special moments with children on the Keeper Adventure Tours I lead. It’s wonderful watching them discover something new and cool and seeing their reaction to the animals. Q: …

Feb 18, 2022

The word “enrichment” is said dozens of times a day around Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. As in, “we have the enrichment ready for the otters” or “Aspen the moose really seemed to enjoy her enrichment today” or “we need to create the beavers’ enrichment this afternoon.” Providing enriching experiences is a vital part of providing high-quality animal care at Northwest Trek- but what exactly is enrichment? “Enrichment items are things like food, smells or toys that enhance the health and well-being of the animals in our care,” said Haley, animal keeper and coordinator of the Behavioral Husbandry Committee at Northwest …