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Northwest Trek News

Monitoring for amphibian egg masses

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 …

Mar 26, 2020

Animals

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Mar 19, 2020

“Caaaribou!” sings Northwest Trek Free-Roaming Area keeper Dave Meadows. The morning sun seeps through the trees and the birds are chirping. It’s an exciting day in the park. It’s the day the woodland caribou will leave their behind-the-scenes winter home and join the other animals in the 435 acre Free-Roaming Area. Each fall during elk breeding season or “rut”, the bull elk battle over dominant status and mating rights. To keep the caribou safe, the caribou are taken to their own large, forested space, away from the rutting elk. On this sunny March day, Meadows calls the caribou. They know …

Feb 11, 2020

EATONVILLE, Wash.—Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and love is in the air at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park! There’s no concrete way to measure an animal’s love but many of the animals at Northwest Trek are coupled up, or longtime companions, and enjoy each other’s company. Of course, Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples- it’s about celebrating friendship and family, too! Swans: Trumpeter swans mate for life, and the current pair in Northwest Trek’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area are no exception. Rescued with wing injuries that left them unable to fly, they are always by each other’s side, waddling or …

Jan 31, 2020

Our raccoon McChord has chosen the outcome of this weekend’s Super Bowl! There were two bags set out in his exhibit, each filled equally with some of his favorite foods: eggs, carrots, apples and sweet potato. At first, we thought he’d chosen the 49ers…. but he tackled them to the ground and the Chiefs ran away with the win! ​

Jan 10, 2020

Will the wolves be howling tonight? If you look to the sky tonight, you will see the first full moon of 2020. The full moon in January is traditionally known as the “Full Wolf Moon.” According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the names for full moons come from a number of places, including Native American groups, colonial Americans or other traditional North American names passed down through generations. The name of the January moon is derived from wolves, which tend to howl more often in the winter months. It was thought the wolves howled due to their hunger; however, there’s …

Feb 19, 2020

As any dog-owner knows, canine animals explore with their mouths. They lick. They chew things they shouldn’t. And sometimes, they eat things they shouldn’t. But it was still a surprise when Northwest Trek veterinary staff discovered that Darci the gray wolf had accidentally swallowed a rock. What was amazing was how it came out – and how Darci helped them every step of the way. X-rays and Crates “Hi, Darci, you’re okay. There’s a good girl,” called keeper Haley Withers, peeking through the window of a large metal crate in the back of a van. A black nose appeared at …

Feb 06, 2020

Eatonville, Wash.—There is little that will get in the way of a veterinarian taking care of an animal in need. Heavy rain, cold temperatures and mud certainly did not stop Northwest Trek’s head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case from paying Nancy the moose a special visit. Keepers are constantly monitoring the animals’ behavior and observed Nancy having difficultly urinating. One call to Dr. Case and she was on her way out to the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area to check on Nancy. Keepers set up a canopy to keep Nancy dry and comfortable. A bed for Nancy was made out of hay bales …

Nov 27, 2019

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s three gray wolves were given a clean bill of health at their triennial exams last week.   “Tala weighs 39.1 kilograms or about 86 pounds,” said head veterinarian, Dr. Allison Case.   On average, gray wolves weigh 75 to 110 pounds. That meant 7-year-old Tala, a gray wolf with a white coat, was already on the right track to a healthy doctor’s appointment.   Dr. Case made sure Tala’s exam was as comfortable as possible. She put down a warm blanket, gave her eye drops and sprayed her tongue with water.   “It’s all about the …

Nov 04, 2019

Taking a one-year-old for his physical check-up is not usually that difficult – unless, of course, he happens to be a 450-pound grizzly cub. Last week, Northwest Trek veterinarian Dr. Allison Case had not one but two enormous grizzlies to examine – so naturally enough, she made a house call. On Thursday morning it was Hawthorne’s turn. Huckleberry had had his check-up on Wednesday, and all went well. Now, he was out in the bears’ forested habitat, intently chewing an elk hide treat, while Hawthorne lay peacefully on a cot bed in their sleeping area, anesthetized for the exam. “We’re …

Conservation

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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 …

People

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Mar 18, 2020

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park recently became the classroom for local middle school students. Northwest Trek’s education experts created lesson plans about the different types of enrichment the animals can receive for the students from Columbia Crest A-S.T.E.M Middle School in Ashford. Animal enrichment is an important part of animal care. It creates a more stimulating environment for the animals while encouraging natural behaviors. The keeper staff at Northwest Trek provide a variety of enrichment that challenge the animals both physically and mentally. In February, Jessica Moore, the Education Curator at Northwest Trek, visited the Columbia Crest students in their classroom. …

Feb 26, 2020

EATONVILLE, Wash.—Beep. Beep. Beep. The alarm rings, it’s time to get up. One by one, eleven young adults hop out of bed. They look out the window: another rainy day in Washington state,  something they’ve adjusted well to since they first arrived over a month ago. They are far from home, some raised in the Midwest and others on the East Coast. They slowly wake up, eat breakfast, then throw on their boots, khaki pants and grey fleece jackets and head out the door to see what the day has in store for them. They are part of the AmeriCorps …

Jan 13, 2020

Zoo attendance records smashed They came in waves, breaking records for the second year running to experience the wonders of the state-of-the-art Pacific Seas Aquarium in its first full year of operation at sister zoo Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Visitors by the thousands came to meet sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays and more in the new aquarium and to celebrate the births of animals, including eight endangered red wolf pups and an endangered Malayan tapir calf. Last year, 825,937 guests walked through the turnstiles, the largest total in Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s 114-year history. “We’re delighted that …

Dec 19, 2019

  For 10-year-old Maya, it was a story come to life. The tall, quiet girl with long brown hair had always loved birds – especially owls – reading many books about them. Now, on a cold December morning, she was standing with her classmates of Arlington Elementary School in front of two real live snowy owls at Northwest Trek. One swiveled his head 180 degrees, and Maya gasped with delight. It was the Wildlife Champions field trip to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, and for many of them – including Maya – it was their very first time seeing animals like …

Tours

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Sep 05, 2019

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. But with just eight tour dates, you don’t want to wait. Book your seat here. See the …

Jun 18, 2019

For Northwest Trek guests, the Keeper Adventure Tour through the Free-Roaming Area is a mix of off-road thrills and up-close animals. But for keeper Deanna Edwards, it’s a way to share a passion for wildlife – combined with friendliness, unflagging animal care and some serious driving skills. “I’m always doing new things, like this track here,” she says, gunning the tour jeep up a muddy track into a perfect three-point-turn. “That’s one of the great things about the Free-Roaming Area. I’m also in keeper mode, playing Where’s Waldo with the animals and making sure they’re all okay. But what I …

Trails & Tours

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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 …

Jul 24, 2018

Bison grunt and snort. A caribou calf nurses noisily, its mother calmly munching on grass. The sweet scents of the meadow mingle with more earthy smells as herds of animals pass by. And Northwest Trek Wildlife Park guests are amazingly in the middle of the action, getting closer to the animals of the Free-Roaming Area than ever before aboard a specially equipped Jeep. They’re on a brand new Keeper Adventure Tour. This intimate experience, which takes wildlife park guests on the paved roads rarely traveled, on gravel tracks and occasionally even off-road, opens to the public on Thursday, July 26. …

Jul 03, 2018

Down a peaceful side trail at Northwest Trek, just past the zipline, a tiny door is just visible in the grass. Silver-spattered with a curtain of moss, it shimmers under the nettle leaves like a mirage. No, you’re not imagining things. It’s a fairy house, and there are twenty more dotted along the same trail – just keep your eyes open. “I was inspired by a ‘gnome trail’ I hiked recently 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 …