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Northwest Trek News
Aug 27, 2019

It couldn’t fly, but it had all the tiny, angular cuteness you could possibly want. In a small meshed container in the Northwest Trek veterinary clinic, a little brown bat hung in folds of soft pink cloth, sleepily chomping a mealworm and getting ready to be an ambassador – a new lease on life, thanks to Northwest Trek staff. “One of our keepers found him on the floor of the exit breezeway,” explained keeper Wendi Mello, gently lifting the sleepy bat out of its temporary house. “It was injured and couldn’t fly, but we knew we could help.” Keepers brought …

Aug 19, 2019

For Bailey and Fairchild, the morning started like any other. Northwest Trek keeper Dave Meadows drove up, unloaded buckets of food from the truck and divided it into piles on the road in the Free-Roaming Area. The two mountain goat kids, now just over one year old, ambled up from the lakeside with Klahhane, Elwha and Rocky, and began munching. But today was going to be very different for the two female goats, who came to the wildlife park last summer as part of a multiagency effort translocating mountain goats to the Cascades (where they are native) from the Olympic …

Aug 13, 2019

It’s something you don’t realize about bald eagles until you’re two feet away from one: just how big they really are. It was a Thursday afternoon at Northwest Trek, and the veterinary clinic had a very special patient. Sequoia, a recently-arrived bald eagle, was getting a wellness exam in preparation for joining her fellow eagles Salish and Sucia in the new Eagle Passage exhibit. Sequoia was already under anesthetic, and keeper Wendi Mello carried her into the clinic, cradled like a child in gauntleted arms. Rescued from the wild with a shoulder injury that prevents her from fully flying, Sequoia …

Aug 13, 2019

In the raccoon habitat at Northwest Trek, McKenna and McChord are snuggled together, gently licking and nibbling each other’s gray-white fur. The pace is calm, the grooming serene. You would never know that one of these raccoons had cancer – and that well-being is exactly what their keepers and veterinarians are striving for. McKenna, the eight-year-old female of the duo, has bladder cancer, but thanks to the very best of therapies and ongoing care, she’s as content as she can be, hanging out with the animal she’s closest to. “We first noticed her straining, with some blood in her urine, …

Jul 25, 2019

As Jake Pool scoops up a log for the new Eagle Passage habitat at Northwest Trek, he does it with more care than you’d usually use with a bulldozer. This is precious cargo – in many ways. First, it’s a centuries-old trunk, hand-picked in the Free-Roaming Area from where it was cast aside by loggers long ago. It has survived a fire, and now nurses dozens of tiny seedlings and ferns. But most importantly, it’s going to become, along with other logs, a ramp for rescued bald eagles – part of an exhibit designed to make a sustainable home for …

Jul 17, 2019

“I love working here. It’s a unique place, and I love the challenges that come with it.” – Dave Meadows, Free-Roaming Area keeper, Northwest Trek 8am Dave Meadows 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 keepers. …

Jul 08, 2019

“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 Mello, Wetlands keeper, Northwest Trek 7:30am Wendi Mello 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 Mello, that’s all part of the job. As one of the keepers in the Forest/Wetlands habitat, she cares for otters, beavers, …

Jul 02, 2019

“The reason I love it here is because we care for native wildlife. If you go hiking in the Northwest, you’ll never see a lion or zebra, but you might see elk or black bear. Teaching people how to live conflict-free with wildlife – that’s what’s so cool about this job.” – Haley Withers, carnivore keeper, Northwest Trek 10:30am Haley Withers is hot and sweaty. She’s been whacking weeds in the wolf habitat for two and a half hours, and now it’s time to clean out grizzly bear dens. “We wear many hats,” she says with a small smile, of …

Jun 07, 2019

You could call them the “bear” necessities. Healthy teeth are pretty important when you’re a 423-pound black bear that eats seven pounds of food every day. So when Northwest Trek Wildlife Park veterinarian Dr. Allison Case saw that Benton, one of the park’s two black bears, had a fracture in an upper canine, she decided it was time for a root canal. Just a little bare “During his regular physical check-up last month, I had the opportunity to closely examine his upper left canine and the root exposure,” Case said. “It’s a significant tooth, and we want to protect it …

Apr 29, 2019

For four-year-old Blakeley, it was a routine exam. But for the humans who care for her, it was a chance to share and pass on crucial veterinary knowledge and skills. The Northwest Trek river otter was scheduled for a regular triennial wellness check-up, and it was a great opportunity for lead veterinarian Dr. Allison Case and vet technician Sara Dunleavy to teach Brianna Smith, visiting vet tech student extern, some of the skills she’ll need in a career of caring for animals. And at the same time, it helped Case get a little closer to solving a mystery about Blakeley’s …