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Northwest Trek News

Meet Hudson: Chip the Beaver’s New Buddy

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s female beaver, Chip, has a new buddy just in time for Valentine’s Weekend! Hudson, a 7-year-old male beaver from New York, has been “courting” Chip behind the scenes for the last few weeks, hoping she takes to him. Fortunately, she did! Now, guests can see them together in their habitat in the wildlife park’s Wetlands area. “We are overjoyed with how well the two beavers are getting along,” said keeper Wendi. “They enjoy snuggling together in their den and grooming each other.” Beavers are social animals, and in the wild, they work together to construct elaborate …

Feb 07, 2024

Animals

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Mar 01, 2024

For many, it’s a late-winter hobby, but for the keepers in Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area, it’s just another part of their job: shed hunting. The bull (male) elk are beginning to drop their antlers—a yearly occurrence that happens a few months after breeding season due to a decrease in testosterone. “We’ve already seen some impressively large antlers drop,” said assistant curator Dave. When a bull elk drops its antlers, they immediately begin growing a new set. “Antler grows faster than any other bone,” said Dave. “During the summer months, bull elk antlers can grow up to ¾ …

Feb 28, 2024

Being native to the Pacific Northwest, the animals at Northwest Trek don’t seem to mind the colder winter weather. But the snowy owls at the park don’t just put up with it, they thrive in it. Tundra, a male, and Taiga, a female, embrace these cooler temperatures and it shows. “They’re more active at this time of year and we notice a big increase in their food drive,” said keeper Miranda Mauck. “Their favorite food is mice!” In the wild, snowy owls live near beaches and fields in the winter in Alaska and Canada… brrr! Now you see me, now …

Feb 12, 2024

February 29th is the hoppiest day of the year! Frogs, cats, goats, and more. We’re celebrating our leaping and jumping creatures this Leap Day. Cougar Cougars are powerful runners, leapers, and climbers. They can leap higher than any other mammal and have been recorded making a vertical jump of over 20 feet from a stationary position. Look for Carly, the cougar on the cat loop. BOBCATS Bobcats are also impressive jumpers. They can leap up to 10 feet high in the air. Look for bobcats Tanner and Tahoma on the cat loop. FROGS Some frogs can jump over 20 times their body …

Feb 07, 2024

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s female beaver, Chip, has a new buddy just in time for Valentine’s Weekend! Hudson, a 7-year-old male beaver from New York, has been “courting” Chip behind the scenes for the last few weeks, hoping she takes to him. Fortunately, she did! Now, guests can see them together in their habitat in the wildlife park’s Wetlands area. “We are overjoyed with how well the two beavers are getting along,” said keeper Wendi. “They enjoy snuggling together in their den and grooming each other.” Beavers are social animals, and in the wild, they work together to construct elaborate …

Jan 10, 2024

One of Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s resident river otters, Blakely, recently had a dentist appointment to fix a fractured tooth. Blakely traveled with Northwest Trek’s head veterinarian, Dr. Allison Case, to sister zoo Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s healthcare hospital for the exam. Typically, Blakely would be treated at Northwest Trek, but the dentist was already at Point Defiance Zoo treating a tiger for a similar dental issue. Dr. Alice Sievers, a board-certified veterinary dentist and one of only 250 veterinary dental specialists in the world, volunteered her time with veterinary assistant Sharon Ghormley and veterinary technician Taylor Parker, all …

Oct 09, 2023

We’re celebrating Northwest Trek’s two incredible vet techs for Veterinary Technician Week (Oct. 15-21)! The vet techs assist the veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care: Prepping for procedures. Monitoring animal vitals. Taking blood samples. Working with keepers to help animals participate in their health care. Giving treatments. Endless administrative support. “Our veterinary technicians, Tracy and Deanna, perform a vast array of duties, and the veterinary clinic could not function without them,” said Head Veterinarian Dr. Allison Case. “We are so grateful for what each of them brings to the position and consider ourselves very lucky to have them …

Jul 20, 2023

To train any animal, you need their trust! A blood draw can be one of the most challenging behaviors – especially for a 478-pound bear – and one that has taken keeper Haley and black bear Benton nearly two months to achieve. When animals participate in their own healthcare, everyone wins! Watch as carnivore keeper Haley patiently works with 15-year-old Benton behind the scenes on blood draw training with a blunt syringe as a training device. Benton carefully presents his massive paw through a bear paw-sized opening in the training space as Haley coaches him and then uses tasty honey …

Jun 30, 2023

Black bears Fern and Benton are long-time residents of Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. And the veterinary teams at Northwest Trek and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium have a long-standing history of joining forces. So, when it was time for the bears’ triennial wellness exams, Northwest Trek head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case invited Zoo intern veterinarian Dr. Cassidy Soehnlein to participate. The Exams Routine wellness exams are a critical component of animal well-being. With regular check-ups, the veterinary staff (veterinarian) can monitor the health of Fern and Benton. They can also act quickly if any concerns arise. Both black bears received …

Conservation

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Feb 12, 2024

Most people visit Northwest Trek Wildlife Park to see animals like grizzly bears, gray wolves, bald eagles, moose, and bison. But beyond the animals living at Northwest Trek under human care, guests will notice the “bonus” animals throughout the wildlife park: wild raccoons, squirrels, snakes, and many birds. “The forest and habitat surrounding Northwest Trek provide a wonderful home for a diversity of native species,” said the wildlife park’s conservation program coordinator, Rachael Mueller. “It’s one of the reasons Northwest Trek is a key place to band birds.” Northwest Trek and partner Puget Sound Bird Observatory (PSBO) hosted four bird …

Dec 27, 2023

On Nov. 29, just a month before the federal Endangered Species Act’s 50th anniversary (Dec. 28), the American wolverine received protection as a threatened species in the lower 48 states. North American wolverines are rare in the wild, with fewer than 300 in the lower 48 U.S. states and around three dozen in Washington state. The new protection for wolverines prohibits federal actions likely to jeopardize their continued existence and requires a permit for anyone to harm, kill, capture, or collect a wild wolverine. Wolverines are the largest land species in the mustelid (weasel) family and are known in biology …

Sep 19, 2023

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park and other local partners recently won the 2023 Certificate of Excellence in Public Service from the Public Relations Society of America Puget Sound chapter for their anti-wildlife trafficking display at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The Certificate of Excellence is awarded to an organization that advances the public understanding of a social issue, problem, or concern. Point Defiance Zoo and Northwest Trek, along with Woodland Park Zoo, Association of Zoos & Aquariums Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, Port of Seattle and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, unveiled a first-of-its-kind interactive installation in 2022 to …

Sep 05, 2023

Nearly 300 endangered northern leopard frogs raised at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park hopped back into the wild at the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Grant County at the end of August. The releases are made possible by a partnership of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Oregon Zoo, and Washington State University (WSU). Since early spring, when WDFW collected northern leopard frog eggs, the frogs have grown from egg masses to tadpoles to froglets at Northwest Trek and Oregon Zoo, growing large enough to have a fighting chance …

People

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Feb 21, 2024

During Tacoma Public Schools January mini-term, students at the Science and Math Institute (SAMi), School of the Arts (SOTA), and Industrial Design Engineering and Art (IDEA) choose one class from a variety of exciting, hands-on courses to deep-dive into all month long. You’ll see students enthusiastic and eager to learn on any given day. Students in the “Jurassic Zoo and Aquarium” class studied the habitats at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park to re-create the famous Jurassic Park using current zoo and aquarium design criteria. “We encouraged the students to create their own more ethical, sustainable, …

Dec 04, 2023

On a chilly, sunny November morning in Eatonville, more than 150 third, fourth, and fifth-grade students from Tacoma’s Lister Elementary gathered at the entrance to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. “We can’t wait to see the bears!” “The wolves!” “The cougar!” students all chimed in, bundled up in jackets and hats. Their excitement far outweighed the 40-degree temperature. They split up into small groups and gathered around a park map. “Where should we start?” asked fifth-grade teacher Anna Paker. “The bobcats!” her group of five students exclaimed, and off they were to explore the cat loop. Immediately, the students pointed out …

Oct 09, 2023

We’re celebrating Northwest Trek’s two incredible vet techs for Veterinary Technician Week (Oct. 15-21)! The vet techs assist the veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care: Prepping for procedures. Monitoring animal vitals. Taking blood samples. Working with keepers to help animals participate in their health care. Giving treatments. Endless administrative support. “Our veterinary technicians, Tracy and Deanna, perform a vast array of duties, and the veterinary clinic could not function without them,” said Head Veterinarian Dr. Allison Case. “We are so grateful for what each of them brings to the position and consider ourselves very lucky to have them …

Jul 16, 2023

National Zookeeper Week takes place July 18-24 this year. The week is devoted to sharing the passion and dedication of keepers. Our zookeepers are a dedicated group of people who work tirelessly each day to provide the animals with the best care possible. Rain or shine, keepers must be ready for anything 365 days a year. They are involved in the lives of the animals they care for often from birth to death and every moment in between, creating lifelong bonds. Whether it’s rearranging an animal’s “furniture” in their habitat to keep them new, fresh, and exciting, helping with medical …

plants

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Jan 14, 2021

What a windstorm! Tuesday night’s strong gusts hit Northwest Trek hard. Fallen trees and branches covered nearly every road and pathway in the park and fences had to be rebuilt. But, with great team effort and the help of a few leaf blowers, the park will open just in time for the 3-day weekend ahead (it even has dry weather in the forecast!). It was all hands on deck this week, as employees from each department surveyed the forested paths, picking up branches while maintenance staff worked tirelessly to clear trees. “Thank you all for pitching in so we can …

Jun 22, 2020

Tomatoes. Apples. Almonds. Pumpkin. Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. All pretty important, right? And they all have one thing in common: they need pollinators. Around 1,000 plants that humans use for food, drink, fiber, spices or medicine need to be pollinated by a very special group of animals called pollinators. Bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, hummingbirds, bats and even some kinds of beetles, flies and ants are incredibly necessary to produce much of the food humans need to survive. As pollinators forage for nectar, they transfer pollen from male to female flowers to allow the plant to reproduce – and feed humans. But …

Things to Do

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Jan 18, 2024

When it’s wet and cold outside, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Northwest Trek Wildlife Park and meet amazing animals! Step inside the E.H. Baker Cabin Step inside the cozy forest cabin to get an up-close look at the gray wolf pack. Climb into a tunnel to get nose-to-nose with a gray wolf (through a window). You might even catch a howl or two! Visit the Cheney Discovery Center Guests of all ages will discover a tiny world of reptiles and amphibians like a gopher snake, northern leopard frogs, rough-skinned news, and more inside the Cheney Discovery Center. While the animals are …

Trails & Tours

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Aug 25, 2023

At Northwest Trek, fall is a magical time. A palette of bronze sweeps the hillsides. Golden light streams through the trees. Dust rises from bison, rolling and sparring. And through the forest comes an eerie, haunting whistle – the sound of elk bugling. The rut – mating season – runs September-October. Out in the Free Roaming Area, male elk, bison and bighorn sheep vie for dominance and select their mates. The perfect way to experience this magic up close? An Elk Bugling Tour. This year, we get you off-road and up to the action in the keeper Jeep, with just …

Sep 14, 2022

Need to get out in nature? Get up close to animals? And eat great food? We have the answer: a Northwest Trek day trip. Combine a morning or afternoon visit to the wildlife park with a half-day hike, picnic and local dinner outside, and you’ve got the makings of an awesome family day or romantic date. Keep reading to build your perfect itinerary. Step 1: Animals up close You can spend a morning or afternoon at Northwest Trek, getting up-close to grizzlies, bald eagles, cougar and more. There’s plenty of guaranteed parking. Wander the paved paths and learn all about …

May 12, 2022

Down a peaceful side trail at Northwest Trek, just past the zipline, a tiny door is just visible in the grass. No, you’re not imagining things. It’s a fairy house, and there are at least a dozen more dotted along the same trail – just keep your eyes open. “I was inspired by a ‘gnome trail’ I hiked with my family,” says Rick Dietz, Northwest Trek’s Deputy Director. “I thought it would be a fun way to add some excitement to our trails and encourage people to explore them more.” Fairy Fun And the Trek Fairy Trail does make for …

Aug 18, 2021

There’s a new bald eagle at Northwest Trek. Just outside the entry to the Eagle Passage habitat, a larger-than-life-size bird perches on a tall snag, wings spread. Like many an eagle, it stares into the distance, motionless. But this bald eagle won’t ever grow old or weaken. Cast in bronze, it immortalizes the iconic American birds that call the wildlife park home – and stands as a tribute to the human donors who made their habitat possible. “This is a project very dear to our hearts,” says Cathy Torgerson, president of the Northwest Trek Foundation which raised the $500,000 funding …

Uncategorized

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Nov 03, 2023

For the holidays this year, consider gifting those close to you something wildly fun to experience together at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Get up close to a moose, pet a goat (in a holiday coat!) or touch a jellyfish. 1. Enjoy Zoolights Give a magical evening of holiday wonder with tickets to Zoolights. Your loved ones can explore seas of dazzling lights, be mesmerized by classic animal displays (like a 100-foot-wide giant Pacific octopus!) and warm up with tasty treats. Don’t forget to hunt for Sasquatch. Zoolights runs from Nov. 24-Jan. 1, with a …