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Northwest Trek News
Jun 09, 2022

American badger sisters Poppy and Lavender recently had annual wellness exams with Northwest Trek’s animal care and veterinary team. Both sisters had their eyes checked, nails trimmed, X-rays taken, and received routine vaccinations. They also contributed to critical scientific research. During the exam, the veterinary team gathered a small tissue sample- a 4-millimeter biopsy- from the left ear of each sister. “This tissue will allow researchers to study the evolutionary history of badgers,” explained veterinary technician Tracy. Researchers are interested in studying the adaptations that lead to the badger’s underground and burrowing lifestyle. They reached out to Association of Zoos …

May 04, 2022

How do you vaccinate a wolverine or draw blood from a grizzly bear? It takes dedication, teamwork, patience – and a lot of trust. Northwest Trek keepers train many of the animals daily to voluntarily participate in their own healthcare — holding still to receive medical injections or X-rays, presenting paws for blood draws, allowing eye drops. The list goes on. And, most importantly, it’s all collaborative. “If they don’t want to participate, they don’t have to,” explained keeper Wendi, who has cared for animals at the wildlife park for 21 years. “It’s all positive reinforcement training. We must earn …

Apr 29, 2022

Wolverines are tough survivors. They are exposed to harsh, frozen Northwest mountain winters. They are agile climbers, strong diggers, and aren’t afraid of anything. At Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Ahma the wolverine has proved to be all those things and more in her 15 years of life. She is the second oldest wolverine in human care in the United States. And over the past few weeks, she has faced her biggest challenge yet: having surgery to remove both of her eyes after her animal care team noticed a significant change in her eye color and was diagnosed with a lens …

Apr 28, 2022

If Dr. Karen Wolf needs another skilled set of hands for a polar bear procedure, she knows who to call. And if Dr. Allison Case has a beaver or owl that needs attention while she’s out of town, she has a second clinic just a van-trip away. The two women are head veterinarians of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, respectively – and these sister zoos have veterinary teams with a long tradition of helping each other. “People don’t realize there’s this crossover,” explains Dr. Wolf of the unique veterinary partnership. “I have absolute confidence that …

Apr 20, 2022

It’s spring cleaning season at Northwest Trek and our maintenance staff recently used their big lift to retrieve small tree limbs that had fallen on top of the netting of Eagle Passage, while pressure washing around the area, too. So our animal care and veterinary teams took advantage of the opportunity to give annual health exams to bald eagles Sequoia, Sucia, Salish and Cheveyo. All four rescued birds traveled to the onsite veterinary clinic where they got a massive “hug” from Keeper Wendi. Because it was not necessary to anesthetize the bald eagles during these exams, animal care and veterinary …

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 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 …

Oct 20, 2021

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 17-23, and we’re celebrating our wonderful veterinary technicians with a virtual thank-you card. Keepers, curators and veterinarians all weighed in to thank our superhero vet tech Tracy Cramer, plus keeper Deanna Edwards who’s also a licensed vet tech, for all they do to care for animals and help staff: prepping for procedures, monitoring animal vitals and taking samples, working with keepers to help animals take part in their own health care, giving therapies, endless administrative support and generally being awesome. “Our veterinary technicians (also known as veterinary nurses) are invaluable. They do a tremendous …

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, …