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Northwest Trek News
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 …

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? …

Aug 15, 2018

How do you give two grizzly bear cubs their first physicals? With equal measures of intense preparation, precision timing, and the caring and compassion that can be provided only by an expert team of veterinary and animal-care staff members. Oh, and you need two adorable grizzly bear cubs, too. Check. Check. And check! Fortunately the pair, one orphaned in Alaska, one orphaned in Montana, have a new permanent home at Northwest Trek. Both were so young they needed human care to survive. Following their first full physicals in our Veterinary Clinic this week, Dr. Allison Case declared both to be …