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Author: Rosemary Ponnekanti

Oct 01, 2020

To an outsider, it didn’t look unusual. As two keepers stood still inside the Forest & Wetlands habitat at Northwest Trek, they watched an old beaver slowly make his way into the pool. Sniffing everywhere, he walked slowly but steadily. Then he swam with front paws and whiskers outstretched to feel for the underwater entrance to his lodge before slipping inside. “There you go!” called one keeper encouragingly. R.B. Beaver, affectionately known as “Papa” for his role in the Northwest Trek beaver family, had just successfully shown that he could live a comfortable, capable life – without his eyesight. Eye …

Oct 01, 2020

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 5-9pm Oct. 15-16 and 22-23) 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 …

Sep 30, 2020

Congratulations, McKenna! Our resilient raccoon has been fighting cancer for over a year now, and October sees her 15th round of successful oral chemotherapy. What’s more, she’s living a full, comfortable life, says Dr. Allison Case, Northwest Trek veterinarian. “It’s just mind-boggling,” says Dr. Case, who confirmed McKenna’s bladder cancer in summer 2019, and has treated her ever since with monthly doses of oral chemotherapy drugs. “She just keeps going. Usually in cases like this, the oncologists would be estimating her to live another three, six, maybe nine months. With McKenna they are so surprised – it’s just terrific.” It’s …

Sep 22, 2020

Quick – what’s even better than a rambunctious grizzly bear splashing in a pool? A 180-degree view of him from a brand-new platform! Now over two years old, our grizzly bears Hawthorne and Huckleberry are bigger and more playful than ever. Last winter we took the false bottom out of their pool (put there to protect them when they were small) and they really enjoy splashing around in the full depth of seven feet. “Huckleberry loves the pool – he’s a real water bear,” comments keeper Jordan Bednarz. “But they’re both super playful with everything.” And the sand that was …

Sep 16, 2020

Sister zoo Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has won two significant awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, announced today at the 2020 AZA online conference. One is shared with Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. The prestigious Edward Bean Award was given to Point Defiance Zoo in collaboration with the National Zoo’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Nashville Zoo for its work in breeding endangered clouded leopards. The award, which goes jointly to all three zoos as members of the Clouded Leopard Consortium, is in the Innovation category, and recognizes outstanding efforts in breeding that either significantly enhance the …

Aug 12, 2020

Dust flying, shaggy heads butting, deep rumbles. Rut (breeding) season has begun with our bison! As bulls look to dominate the herd and attract the ladies, they roll and spar with each other, raising dust and making big vocalizations. Book a Wild Drive or Keeper Adventure Tour and get front-row seats to the most exciting time of year at Northwest Trek – and meanwhile, watch the video to get a taste of the action.  

Aug 10, 2020

EATONVILLE, Wash.– Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is reopening its Keeper Adventure Tours on Friday, Aug. 14, with timed online tickets and enhanced safety protocols designed to help guests connect up close with wildlife while staying safe and healthy. Timed online tickets will go on sale Aug. 10. The 90-minute Keeper Adventure Tours take guests aboard an open-air Jeep on paved roads rarely traveled, on gravel tracks and occasionally off-road to see bison, moose, mountain goats, elk, deer, swans and more in the park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area. If guests book now, they can see Northwest Trek’s baby animals and experience the …

Aug 06, 2020

Are you missing your family and friends? Do you want to wish them a socially distanced “Happy Birthday!” or “Congrats!”? Animal lovers can now share a special message with a wild touch, all from the comfort of your own couch! Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are now offering “Animal Shoutouts.” Anyone can send a customized video greeting to a friend or loved one, complete with a favorite animal. “Perhaps now, more than ever, we need opportunities for fun and positive connections with each other and with animals and nature,” said Conservation Engagement Curator Wendy Spaulding. …

Aug 06, 2020

It’s now a reality: Most Puget Sound-area schools are now all-online this fall. Many parents and educators are scrambling to supplement and engage students in core areas like science. Enter Online Wildlife Academy, a brand-new program launching Aug. 11 at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Using the common Zoom platform, Online Wildlife Academy offers a fun, interactive, online lesson delivering key science concepts via something most kids love: Animals. The lessons weave animal videos from Northwest Trek with real-time discussions, Q&A and facts about animal and ecosystem biology, all delivered live on Zoom by a wildlife educator at Northwest Trek. Online …

Jul 30, 2020

It’s a warm summer evening, and you’re out for a twilight walk. Suddenly, you spot a pair of bright eyes in the undergrowth. You freeze. A coyote steps out into the silence, bushy-tailed, followed by – yes! – three young pups. Quick as lightning, you whip out your phone and snap a photo. Alerted, they turn and swiftly vanish to hunt their dinner – and you upload the shot and location to a crowd-sourcing nature app, to feed into a study. Another triumph for community science! Sounds futuristic? Actually, it could be you this summer, if you’re willing. The Grit …