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Northwest Trek News

MOOSE ON THE LOOSE IN NORTHWEST TREK’S FREE-ROAMING AREA

A moose is on the loose. Quick, look for his ears popping out from behind the ferns. A five-month-old moose calf named Birch ambled into Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area Wednesday and will make his public debut this weekend. Birch arrived in early November from Alaska Zoo and has been adjusting to his new Eatonville home off-exhibit. He recently met his new buddy Aspen, a 5-year-old female moose. “We’re delighted to welcome another generation of moose and provide a new companion for Aspen,” said zoological curator Marc Heinzman. Aspen will teach Birch how to be a moose here …

Nov 18, 2021

Animals

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Nov 18, 2021

A moose is on the loose. Quick, look for his ears popping out from behind the ferns. A five-month-old moose calf named Birch ambled into Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area Wednesday and will make his public debut this weekend. Birch arrived in early November from Alaska Zoo and has been adjusting to his new Eatonville home off-exhibit. He recently met his new buddy Aspen, a 5-year-old female moose. “We’re delighted to welcome another generation of moose and provide a new companion for Aspen,” said zoological curator Marc Heinzman. Aspen will teach Birch how to be a moose here …

Nov 10, 2021

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is now home to a healthy, five-month-old Alaskan moose calf named Birch. He will soon join Aspen, the wildlife park’s 5-year-old resident female moose, in the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area alongside Roosevelt elk, American bison, trumpeter swans, caribou, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. “It’s exciting to welcome another generation of moose to Northwest Trek, and to provide a new companion for Aspen,” said zoological curator Marc Heinzman. “Once Birch grows into adulthood, he will be a thrilling sight for our visitors as he grows his rack of antlers each year.” Birch arrived at Northwest Trek from the Alaska …

Oct 06, 2021

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 05, 2021

Fat Bear Week is a celebration of success and survival, where brown bears in the Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska are matched against each other in a “march madness” style online voting competition to see who is crowned the Fat Bear Week Champion of 2021. No, it’s not fat shaming- it’s highlighting the resilience and adaptability of brown bears. Fat Bear Tuesday (Oct. 5) is when the winner is announced. While the grizzly bears at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park aren’t in the competition, we think they’re worth celebrating too. Huckleberry and Hawthorne, both 3 years old, still have …

Oct 20, 2021

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 17-23, 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 …

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, …

Jul 02, 2021

“The reason I love it here is because we care for native wildlife. If you go hiking in the Northwest, you’ll never see a lion or zebra, but you might see elk or black bear. Teaching people how to live conflict-free with wildlife – that’s what’s so cool about this job.” – Haley, carnivore keeper, Northwest Trek 10:30am Haley’s hot and sweaty. She’s been whacking weeds in the wolf habitat for two and a half hours, and now it’s time to clean out grizzly bear dens. “We wear many hats,” she says with a small smile, of herself, fellow keeper …

Conservation

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Nov 17, 2021

On Friday, November 5, federal, state, tribal and partner biologists released five fishers from Alberta, Canada into the lush, coastal forest near Lake Ozette, the latest event in a nearly two decades-long project to restore the native species to Washington State. Fishers- a member of the mustelid or weasel family roughly the size of a housecat that feeds on rodents, hares and even porcupines- were extirpated from Washington by the 1930s due to over-trapping, poisoning and fragmentation of their forest habitat. This latest fisher release is part of an ongoing partnership led by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the National …

Oct 26, 2021

You could say we’re a bit batty for bats at Northwest Trek. We appreciate what bats offer our ecosystems — and because of that, we work hard to protect them. Northwest Trek is home to one of the largest wild bat colonies in the South Puget Sound region. The bats roost under the eaves of many of our buildings and around the wildlife park, including in all the bat boxes we’ve put on trees. Protecting bats is important Bats keep us all healthy. Pacific Northwest bats are insectivores, consuming their own body weight in bugs every night. If we didn’t …

Aug 10, 2021

OTHELLO, Wash.– Hundreds of endangered northern leopard frogs leapt back into the wild at the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Grant County last week. The releases were made possible by a partnership of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Oregon Zoo, Washington State University (WSU), and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. WDFW collected northern leopard frog eggs earlier this spring, and after months of growing at the Oregon Zoo and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, the frogs were ready for release. Once abundant throughout North America, northern leopard frogs are rapidly disappearing from their …

Aug 05, 2021

The scene was hushed with concentration. Eleven scientists and Northwest Trek staff members bent over rows of tables outside the Northwest Trek conservation center, far outside the public area at the Eatonville wildlife park. Birds chirped in the surrounding forest. But the real stars of the intense scientific focus were some 350 northern leopard frogs – most of whom were sleeping soundly under anesthetic. It was tagging and measuring day, an effort involving three different partner organizations, in careful preparation for releasing these endangered frogs back into the wild of eastern Washington. The goal? To help repopulate a vanishing species. …

People

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Oct 21, 2021

They were literally jumping up and down as soon as they got off the buses. “Animals! We’re going to see animals!” It was the first-ever field trip for Beyond the Bell, a groundbreaking new partner program offering after-school activities and childcare to Tacoma students. But Friday October 8 was a no-school data day – and so Beyond the Bell was bringing any K-5 child who signed up on a field trip to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, all day long. And every single one of the 155 students was incredibly excited. Beyond the Bell is a comprehensive program for Tacoma elementary …

Oct 20, 2021

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 17-23, 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 …

Sep 22, 2021

Eagle Passage isn’t just a forever home for rescued, injured bald eagles, or an immersive experience that inspires visitors with a conservation success story. Now, the unique habitat at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park has also been nationally recognized with top honors in the 2021 Exhibit Award category from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The award was presented online at the AZA Virtual Annual Conference on Wednesday Sept. 22. “Receiving this award is a high honor for Northwest Trek,” said Alan Varsik, director of Northwest Trek and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. “Our visitors know how special Northwest Trek …

Sep 08, 2021

Each weekend in October, “spooky” fall fun can be found at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. From a scavenger hunt to exploring the forest at night, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The park will be decorated with eerie spider webs, spooky glow-in-the-dark eyes and pumpkins everywhere! We encourage guests to wear their Halloween costumes any weekend of the month (we ask that adults leave their scary masks and face paint at home, please). Haunted Hike: Oct. 1-31 (Friday-Sunday), 9:30am-3pm Did you hear that? Something’s afoot at Northwest Trek. Walk our paths while you do an online scavenger hunt to …

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 …

Trails & Tours

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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 …

Jul 05, 2021

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 …

Dec 03, 2020

A poem about birds next to a snowy owl habitat? A tree poem planted in a forest? That’s Poetry in the Park at Northwest Trek! This December, guests can wander around the wildlife park to find poetry signs right next to native Northwest animals and plants in a partnership with Tahoma Audubon Society, who installs Poetry in the Park elsewhere in Tacoma during the year. The park is also filled with festive decorations like evergreen gnomes, white pumpkin “snowmen”, giant snowflakes on trees and a trail of animal cutouts showing just how animals (and us) need trees to live, year-round. …

Nov 18, 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 …