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Author: Rosemary Ponnekanti

Aug 12, 2021

Whenever Friday the 13th rolls around, even the least superstitious of us might look askance at a black cat or shiver at an owl hoot. But animal superstitions, although fun, can cause pretty bad luck for the wildlife who cross their paths. After all, we live in a world where 350,000 tourists can visit Scotland in one year just to try and spot the Loch Ness monster. If that same number of people all decided to hunt wolves or support the illegal trade in tiger parts, that would have a devastating effect on some amazing animals who are neither good …

Aug 10, 2021

OTHELLO, Wash.– Hundreds of endangered northern leopard frogs leapt back into the wild at the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Grant County last week. The releases were made possible by a partnership of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Oregon Zoo, Washington State University (WSU), and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. WDFW collected northern leopard frog eggs earlier this spring, and after months of growing at the Oregon Zoo and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, the frogs were ready for release. Once abundant throughout North America, northern leopard frogs are rapidly disappearing from their …

Aug 05, 2021

The scene was hushed with concentration. Eleven scientists and Northwest Trek staff members bent over rows of tables outside the Northwest Trek conservation center, far outside the public area at the Eatonville wildlife park. Birds chirped in the surrounding forest. But the real stars of the intense scientific focus were some 350 northern leopard frogs – most of whom were sleeping soundly under anesthetic. It was tagging and measuring day, an effort involving three different partner organizations, in careful preparation for releasing these endangered frogs back into the wild of eastern Washington. The goal? To help repopulate a vanishing species. …

Jul 27, 2021

Human athletes might be battling it out for medals at the Olympic Games in Japan this month, but here at Northwest Trek, we have our own incredible athletes to celebrate: our animals! Who can leap the furthest? Climb the highest? Who’s the fastest swimmer, the cleanest diver, the most agile? Check out our “gold medal” list for the winners – we might even have a couple of honorable mentions for effort! Climbing – Mountain goat No contest here: mountain goats are excellent climbers, hence the name. Swimming – Beaver They may not win the speed prize, but anyone who can …

Jul 22, 2021

Zookeepers and the animals they love What’s the animal you feel most deeply inside? The one you connect with, love, relate to, share traits with? For National Zookeeper Week 2021, we asked our longest-tenured keepers that very same question. Then our incredible staff photographer Katie Cotterill took portraits of both keeper AND animal, superimposing them in her camera as a double-exposure shot. The results are magic. (Curious about how she did it? Scroll to the bottom to find out.) Deanna, with Ellinor the mountain goat   Miranda, with Ahma the wolverine   Wendi, with Yakima the golden eagle   Dave, …

Jul 22, 2021

Welcome, Nettle! After a week of public voting, fans chose this plant as the name for the new mountain goat kid, born May 29 at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. The name was one of a slate of three names chosen by keepers after Northwest plants or locations, per park tradition. Nettle is a common plant found in many parts of the Free-Roaming Area, where all the park’s mountain goats live. Brinnon is a town along the eastern edge of the Olympic peninsula, while Briar is a general term for prickly, rambling shrubs. Over 900 votes came in online during the …

Jul 15, 2021

It’s not every day you get asked to name someone else’s kid. But Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is inviting the public to help name theirs – a mountain goat kid, born May 29 in the Free-Roaming Area. The female kid 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 goats from Washington’s Olympic Mountains to the North Cascades where their populations were depleted. Northwest Trek partnered with Woodland Park Zoo and Oregon Zoo to provide permanent homes to goat kids without …

Jul 14, 2021

“I love working here. It’s a unique place, and I love the challenges that come with it.” – Dave, assistant curator and Free-Roaming Area keeper, Northwest Trek 8am Dave swings into the keeper truck with the ease of someone who’s been doing it for 25 years. As he pulls slowly through the gate into the Free-Roaming Area, he’s already on duty. Alert eyes scan the road ahead and forest to either side. It’s something he’ll be doing constantly over the next two hours, whether he’s driving around the 435-acre habitat, pulling out feed buckets or taking radio calls from fellow …

Jul 08, 2021

“People think that being a zookeeper is just playing with animals all day long. Actually, it’s caring for them and making their lives meaningful. And getting visitors to connect with them. That’s amazing to do.” – Wendi, Forest+Wetlands keeper, Northwest Trek 7:30am Wendi arrives at Northwest Trek for the early shift. On this mid-summer morning it’s a fine time to be working outside in a forest, but in winter it’s dark, cold and frequently icy. But for Wendi, that’s all part of the job. As one of the keepers in the Forest/Wetlands habitat, she cares for otters, beavers, badgers, wolverines, …

Jul 05, 2021

At Northwest Trek, fall is a magical time. A palette of bronze sweeps the hillsides. Golden light streams through the trees. Dust rises from bison, rolling and sparring. And through the forest comes an eerie, haunting whistle – the sound of elk bugling. The rut – mating season – runs September-October. Out in the Free Roaming Area, male elk, bison and bighorn sheep vie for dominance and select their mates. The perfect way to experience this magic up close? An Elk Bugling Tour. This year, we get you off-road and up to the action in the keeper Jeep, with just …