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Northwest Trek News
Oct 04, 2022

Huckleberry, the 4-year-old grizzly bear, recently had an examination with his veterinarian and animal care team to perform an annual checkup on his right ankle. Keepers first noticed Huckleberry walking on his tippy toes and avoiding putting his heel on the ground in 2020. After a diagnostic exam, Northwest Trek’s head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case determined that Huckleberry had developed moderate arthritis in his ankle. Since then, he’s been treated with anti-inflammatory medications and joint supplements as needed. Dr. Case scheduled an annual examination to perform another in-depth check this fall to provide further treatment for the bear. “X-rays show …

Aug 03, 2022

Nettle nestled herself along the steep hillside within Northwest Trek’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area, as if she knew it was time for her annual exam. It’s an easy adventure for a one-year-old mountain goat – and not so simple for those who care for her. But Veterinarian Dr. Allison Case, Veterinary Technician Tracy and Keeper Deanna are used to doing what it takes to ensure the animals at Northwest Trek receive exceptional care. “It’s a very physical job,” Dr. Case said. After Keeper Deanna tries to entice Nettle off the hillside with some food, Dr. Case darts her with an anesthetic. …

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 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 …

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, …