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Northwest Trek News
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 …

Mar 06, 2019

Northwest Trek keeper/veterinary technician Deanna Edwards cradled the massive head of Ellis the moose in her arms, taking care that his breathing was regular as he lay on the grass, anesthetized, in a Free-Roaming Area field. He made a low-pitched thrumming noise as he slept, sounding a bit like a machine of some kind had invaded the quiet of the forest. But, nope, it was just the normal vocalization of a sedated moose – and this forest “house-call” was all in a day’s work for Ellis’ dedicated veterinary and keeper team. Vet on the ground To Ellis’ rear, Northwest Trek …

Jan 24, 2019

Giving a porcupine a physical exam can get a bit prickly – but our stellar veterinary team managed it easily! Head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case and veterinary technician Sara Dunleavy gave Thistle the porcupine his annual wellness exam recently, including ear, nose, eye and mouth checks, vital signs, palpation, blood tests and more, giving Thistle a clean bill of health. Here are the photos (click to expand).  

Dec 20, 2018

It’s a cold morning at Northwest Trek – a hushed, frozen stillness rising off the lake. But it’s not bothering Fern at all. The black bear has her head down, wrenching a branch off a fir tree to pad out her winter den. As she does, keeper Angela Gibson looks on in satisfaction: this is no ordinary holiday tree. It’s a piece of enrichment, carefully designed to improve Fern’s life – and it’s definitely working. “Enrichment is about providing the animals with experiences where they can express their natural behaviors and desires,” explains Gibson. “It creates opportunities for the animals …

Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them to you! Vet techs assist veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care, and they care deeply about our animals – often in very practical ways. We couldn’t do without them. Sara Dunleavy, full-time clinical veterinary technician at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park How long have you been a vet tech – and when did you begin at Northwest Trek? Sara: I’ve been a licensed veterinary technician for 12 years – and started here six months ago. What inspired you to do this work? …