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Conservation

Sep 16, 2020

Sister zoo Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has won two significant awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, announced today at the 2020 AZA online conference. One is shared with Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. The prestigious Edward Bean Award was given to Point Defiance Zoo in collaboration with the National Zoo’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Nashville Zoo for its work in breeding endangered clouded leopards. The award, which goes jointly to all three zoos as members of the Clouded Leopard Consortium, is in the Innovation category, and recognizes outstanding efforts in breeding that either significantly enhance the …

Jul 30, 2020

It’s a warm summer evening, and you’re out for a twilight walk. Suddenly, you spot a pair of bright eyes in the undergrowth. You freeze. A coyote steps out into the silence, bushy-tailed, followed by – yes! – three young pups. Quick as lightning, you whip out your phone and snap a photo. Alerted, they turn and swiftly vanish to hunt their dinner – and you upload the shot and location to a crowd-sourcing nature app, to feed into a study. Another triumph for community science! Sounds futuristic? Actually, it could be you this summer, if you’re willing. The Grit …

Jun 17, 2020

UPDATE 7/14/20: We are saddened to report that Macklin unexpectedly passed away yesterday from internal complications. He will be deeply missed.   Northwest Trek Wildlife Park has a new fisher in the Forest & Wetland habitat, just in time for the park’s reopening on June 18. Macklin is an 8-year-old male fisher from British Columbia – and he also tells an incredible story of conservation and care. Bringing back fishers Fishers, furry mammals in the weasel family, are native to the Northwest and historically ranged from the Cascades to Canada. But deforestation and demand for their thick, silky fur had …

Mar 26, 2020

Amphibians are excellent ecosystem monitors. If their populations are changing, you can bet something is happening in the habitat. That’s why Northwest Trek staff routinely survey the grounds for eight different species: rough skinned newts, northwestern salamanders, long-toed salamanders, Western toads, Oregon spotted frogs, red legged frogs, Pacific tree frogs and bull frogs. That data is regularly reported to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to better protect and conserve the amphibians for the future. Northwest Trek’s recent temporary closure to help slow the spread of coronavirus has not stopped staff on grounds from monitoring for egg masses of …

Nov 15, 2019

It was a glorious day to be a fisher. In the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, just south of Randle, Washington, fall leaves crackled underfoot and the November air was crisp. As a crowd of humans watched in hushed silence, the door lifted on a crate – and the first of four new Cascades fishers darted out into the ferns. The latest chapter in the recovery of a species was being told. “We are here today as partners in bringing fishers back to Washington,” explained Jeff Lewis, conservation biologist for the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. “Individually, as a species, …

Oct 16, 2019

Wildlife products now illegal to sell in Washington can be dropped off at Oct. 26 event. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 25, 2019 TACOMA, Wash. – Have any ivory carvings tucked away at home? A shark fin souvenir? Grandma’s antique turtle-shell brooch? Thanks to the passing of the Washington Animal Trafficking Act – I-1401 – those wildlife products are now illegal to sell in Washington state without proper documentation, in order to protect endangered species from poaching. Yet there may be many South Sounders who still own such products, through inheritance or prior sale. What to do with those items? Hand …

Jul 10, 2019

You could see 500 bats – or you could see three. Either way, every one of the 49 Northwest Trek staff, interns and volunteers that gathered for the twilight Bat Counts on June 28 and July 5 was vital. Armed with data sheets, click counters and plenty of comfy chairs, the bat counters were helping the wildlife park study its native population of bats – a study that in turn is crucial to helping scientists better understand and protect these tiny mammals. Plus, it’s becoming a Trek tradition. Bat Spotting “Is that –?!” “No, it’s a bird.” I slumped back …

Jun 28, 2019

Forget the ugly duckling. These cygnets are only a week old, and already beautiful. But the six baby swans, which hatched early June at Northwest Trek, aren’t just pint-sized bundles of fluffy gray cuteness. They’re part of a success story for trumpeter swans in North America, helping the species flourish in the wild. “This year we had six cygnets, which is more than we’ve had in years,” said curator Marc Heinzman. “It’s great to see such a healthy population here.” Paired for life, breeding for the future The new cygnets were hatched to the wildlife park’s breeding pair of swans, …

May 13, 2019

As pink sky slowly darkens behind tall trees, six scientists stand motionless outside the veterinary clinic at Northwest Trek. Only a robin’s chirp pierces the cool air. All eyes are fixed on the clinic’s overhang roof, straining to see through the shadows. They’re waiting for the appearance of a tiny creature that’s often misunderstood, yet is vital to human health, and is now in danger from a deadly disease. They’re waiting for bats. 6:00 p.m. Scientists Michelle Tirhi and Abby Tobin arrive at Northwest Trek, and start scouting bat roosts with Trek staff: conservation engagement coordinator Rachael Mueller, veterinary technician …

Apr 18, 2019

It’s a sunny spring afternoon at Northwest Trek, and in the Free-Roaming Area pond a small turtle is basking on a log. Keeper Dave Meadows, passing by, stops the truck and whips out a camera – because this is no ordinary turtle. It’s a rare western pond turtle, endangered in Washington. And it’s the first one seen at the wildlife park in two years. “You really only see them in spring, when they come out of hibernation and it’s sunny, but before the water levels fall too much,” says Meadows. Native – and endangered Western pond turtles are around 4-8 …