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Northwest Trek News

A Tale of Two Wolves

Once upon a time there were two wolf species: red wolves and gray wolves. Neither of them were “big and bad,” but they were often feared by humans. Over time, more and more were hunted. By 1940 gray wolves were decimated in the American wild and by the 1970s, so were red wolves. It was time for the story’s hero to step in. “Humans have a long history of blaming predators for problems, like wolves and grizzly bears,” says Marc Heinzman, zoological curator at Northwest Trek. “But scientific data shows that’s just not true in all cases.” While it’s true …

Oct 08, 2020

Animals

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Oct 13, 2020

Black cats, pumpkins, ghosts… skulls and skeletons. They’re all symbols of the Halloween season. We asked Northwest Trek’s Head Veterinarian, Dr. Allison Case, to give us an “inside” look at a few of the wildlife park’s animals and their not-so-spooky skeletons. Dr. Case regularly takes radiographs or X-rays of the animals to check on their health and care for them. Tolmie the Porcupine There’s a lot more under the prickly surface of a porcupine’s quills that you can see in an X-ray. “During a routine wellness exam, I’ll look at the animal’s joints, shape of the heart, liver and intestines …

Oct 08, 2020

Once upon a time there were two wolf species: red wolves and gray wolves. Neither of them were “big and bad,” but they were often feared by humans. Over time, more and more were hunted. By 1940 gray wolves were decimated in the American wild and by the 1970s, so were red wolves. It was time for the story’s hero to step in. “Humans have a long history of blaming predators for problems, like wolves and grizzly bears,” says Marc Heinzman, zoological curator at Northwest Trek. “But scientific data shows that’s just not true in all cases.” While it’s true …

Oct 06, 2020

Staff at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are mourning the loss of two beloved moose, Nancy and Spruce, who died over the weekend at the Eatonville wildlife park. “We have lost two much-loved members of our Northwest Trek family,” Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman said. “We have cared for Nancy and Spruce since they were calves and watched them grow up into big, majestic moose who’ve inspired and humbled us every day.” While the two moose died within a day of each other, their histories and medical conditions were very different, said the wildlife park’s head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case. Nancy, an …

Oct 06, 2020

It’s true – bats have a bad rap. They’re best buddies with Dracula and have a cameo in “Macbeth.” They inspire spooky Halloween decorations. And if we’re not careful, we ourselves could become “batty.” They can carry viruses, including (most notably) the coronavirus that spread to humans from wildlife markets as Covid-19. But then there’s Batman. And those of us who know bats – like here at Northwest Trek and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – know that they truly are the superheroes of the night: zipping effortlessly in the dark using echolocation or cutting-edge wing design, munching their own …

Oct 22, 2020

Inflammatory bowel disease is no fun. Diarrhea, vomiting, unpleasant gut sensations, even pain or fever. But if you’re an American red wolf, there are worse implications: That inflammation in your intestines might cause you to lose weight, get stressed and maybe even fail to reproduce. For an endangered species with less than 300 like you left on the planet, that’s a big worry. That’s exactly why Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium veterinarians have been investigating IBD in red wolves. Head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf first discovered that red wolves do, in fact, develop the disease, just like people and pets. …

Oct 13, 2020

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 11-17, and we’re celebrating our wonderful veterinary technicians with a virtual thank-you card. Keepers, curators and veterinarians all weighed in to thank our superhero vet tech Tracy Cramer, plus keeper Deanna Edwards who’s also a licensed vet tech, for all they do to care for animals and help staff: prepping for procedures, monitoring animal vitals and taking samples, working with keepers to help animals take part in their own health care, giving therapies, endless administrative support and generally being awesome. “Our veterinary technicians (also known as veterinary nurses) are invaluable. They do a tremendous …

Oct 01, 2020

To an outsider, it didn’t look unusual. As two keepers stood still inside the Forest & Wetlands habitat at Northwest Trek, they watched an old beaver slowly make his way into the pool. Sniffing everywhere, he walked slowly but steadily. Then he swam with front paws and whiskers outstretched to feel for the underwater entrance to his lodge before slipping inside. “There you go!” called one keeper encouragingly. R.B. Beaver, affectionately known as “Papa” for his role in the Northwest Trek beaver family, had just successfully shown that he could live a comfortable, capable life – without his eyesight. Eye …

Sep 30, 2020

Congratulations, McKenna! Our resilient raccoon has been fighting cancer for over a year now, and October sees her 15th round of successful oral chemotherapy. What’s more, she’s living a full, comfortable life, says Dr. Allison Case, Northwest Trek veterinarian. “It’s just mind-boggling,” says Dr. Case, who confirmed McKenna’s bladder cancer in summer 2019, and has treated her ever since with monthly doses of oral chemotherapy drugs. “She just keeps going. Usually in cases like this, the oncologists would be estimating her to live another three, six, maybe nine months. With McKenna they are so surprised – it’s just terrific.” It’s …

Conservation

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Oct 22, 2020

Inflammatory bowel disease is no fun. Diarrhea, vomiting, unpleasant gut sensations, even pain or fever. But if you’re an American red wolf, there are worse implications: That inflammation in your intestines might cause you to lose weight, get stressed and maybe even fail to reproduce. For an endangered species with less than 300 like you left on the planet, that’s a big worry. That’s exactly why Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium veterinarians have been investigating IBD in red wolves. Head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf first discovered that red wolves do, in fact, develop the disease, just like people and pets. …

Oct 08, 2020

Once upon a time there were two wolf species: red wolves and gray wolves. Neither of them were “big and bad,” but they were often feared by humans. Over time, more and more were hunted. By 1940 gray wolves were decimated in the American wild and by the 1970s, so were red wolves. It was time for the story’s hero to step in. “Humans have a long history of blaming predators for problems, like wolves and grizzly bears,” says Marc Heinzman, zoological curator at Northwest Trek. “But scientific data shows that’s just not true in all cases.” While it’s true …

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 …

People

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Oct 13, 2020

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 11-17, and we’re celebrating our wonderful veterinary technicians with a virtual thank-you card. Keepers, curators and veterinarians all weighed in to thank our superhero vet tech Tracy Cramer, plus keeper Deanna Edwards who’s also a licensed vet tech, for all they do to care for animals and help staff: prepping for procedures, monitoring animal vitals and taking samples, working with keepers to help animals take part in their own health care, giving therapies, endless administrative support and generally being awesome. “Our veterinary technicians (also known as veterinary nurses) are invaluable. They do a tremendous …

Oct 02, 2020

Animals, Costumes and Fun at Point Defiance Zoo & Northwest Trek  It’s time to have some spooky fun while staying safe at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Both zoos are getting in the fall spirit, with pumpkin enrichment for animals and costumes encouraged for everyone in October! Whether you want to visit the Zoo or Northwest Trek in person or join in on the festivities online, we’re here to help you have a healthy and enjoyable Halloween. Haunted Hike When: Fri.-Sun., Oct. 16-Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Where: Northwest Trek Wildlife Park What: Let’s get …

Aug 06, 2020

It’s now a reality: Most Puget Sound-area schools are now all-online this fall. Many parents and educators are scrambling to supplement and engage students in core areas like science. Enter Online Wildlife Academy, a brand-new program launching Aug. 11 at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Using the common Zoom platform, Online Wildlife Academy offers a fun, interactive, online lesson delivering key science concepts via something most kids love: Animals. The lessons weave animal videos from Northwest Trek with real-time discussions, Q&A and facts about animal and ecosystem biology, all delivered live on Zoom by a wildlife educator at Northwest Trek. Online …

Jul 30, 2020

I had my howls all ready to go. When Northwest Trek keepers agreed I could try playing some music to our gray wolves, I was stoked. I’m primarily a writer in our marketing department – I run our websites and write blog stories, emails and more. But I’m also a classically-trained musician and have, in the last few years, developed a unique voice improvising on double bass using a looping pedal to create my own harmonies. I especially love taking this music outside, incorporating natural sounds like whalesong and birdsong. Playing music for actual wolves took this to a whole …

plants

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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 …

Trails & Tours

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Sep 22, 2020

Quick – what’s even better than a rambunctious grizzly bear splashing in a pool? A 180-degree view of him from a brand-new platform! Now over two years old, our grizzly bears Hawthorne and Huckleberry are bigger and more playful than ever. Last winter we took the false bottom out of their pool (put there to protect them when they were small) and they really enjoy splashing around in the full depth of seven feet. “Huckleberry loves the pool – he’s a real water bear,” comments keeper Jordan Bednarz. “But they’re both super playful with everything.” And the sand that was …

Aug 10, 2020

EATONVILLE, Wash.– Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is reopening its Keeper Adventure Tours on Friday, Aug. 14, with timed online tickets and enhanced safety protocols designed to help guests connect up close with wildlife while staying safe and healthy. Timed online tickets will go on sale Aug. 10. The 90-minute Keeper Adventure Tours take guests aboard an open-air Jeep on paved roads rarely traveled, on gravel tracks and occasionally off-road to see bison, moose, mountain goats, elk, deer, swans and more in the park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area. If guests book now, they can see Northwest Trek’s baby animals and experience the …

Jul 30, 2020

Need to get out in nature? Hike without the crowds? Get up close to animals? Stay safe? And keep the cost down? 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 For less than the price of a movie ticket ($12/$10), you can spend a morning or afternoon at Northwest Trek, getting up-close to grizzlies, bald …

Jan 27, 2020

It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s the Pacific Northwest in winter – and that includes Northwest Trek. But there’s also a certain magic out here in winter: hushed silence, frosted ferns, thick bison coats. Don’t wait until spring. Here are seven reasons to visit Northwest Trek in the most magical season of the year – winter. 1. Peace and Quiet Feeling that cabin fever yet? Step onto our paved trails and experience nature at its most hushed. Tall, solemn trees; quiet meadows; a lake so still it reflects the mist. Come spend the day in the kind of peace that refreshes …