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Northwest Trek News
Oct 06, 2020

It’s true – bats have a bad rap. They’re best buddies with Dracula and have a cameo in “Macbeth.” They inspire spooky Halloween decorations. And if we’re not careful, we ourselves could become “batty.” They can carry viruses, including (most notably) the coronavirus that spread to humans from wildlife markets as Covid-19. But then there’s Batman. And those of us who know bats – like here at Northwest Trek and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – know that they truly are the superheroes of the night: zipping effortlessly in the dark using echolocation or cutting-edge wing design, munching their own …

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 …

Sep 24, 2020

Fall looks pretty much the same across the country: changing leaves, plaid or flannel clothing, pumpkin spice lattes (or pumpkin spiced everything), corn mazes and hay bales on doorsteps. But at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, there’s something else to add to the list that signals the change of the seasons: Roosevelt elk mating season, known as rut. On the first day of fall, a few park employees hopped into the Keeper Adventure Tour Jeep and headed out into the park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area to experience rut. It was a classic autumn morning in Western Washington, dark, drizzly, kind-of-cold but not-quite-freezing-cold …

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 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. …

Jul 30, 2020

I had my howls all ready to go. When Northwest Trek keepers agreed I could try playing some music to our gray wolves, I was stoked. I’m primarily a writer in our marketing department – I run our websites and write blog stories, emails and more. But I’m also a classically-trained musician and have, in the last few years, developed a unique voice improvising on double bass using a looping pedal to create my own harmonies. I especially love taking this music outside, incorporating natural sounds like whalesong and birdsong. Playing music for actual wolves took this to a whole …

Jul 21, 2020

We all love summer in the Pacific Northwest, but there’s no doubt that some days get pretty hot. Humans are pretty creative in finding ways to beat the heat – splashing, shade, cool clothes – and our Northwest Trek animals do it too! Grizzly bear Our grizzly “cubs” Huckleberry and Hawthorne just love the pool in their huge forested habitat. They plunge, paddle, splash and dive, playing underneath the waterfall and generally having a lot of fun! When the cubs were small, our maintenance staff put a false bottom in the pool to keep it safely shallow while they learned …

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 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 …