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Northwest Trek News

Full Wolf Moon

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 …

Jan 10, 2020

Animals

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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 …

Dec 20, 2019

A new year and a new decade have everyone – even the animals – making New Year’s reZOOlutions. Which animal’s 2020 resolution do you best identify with?

Dec 19, 2019

What would you ask Santa for these holidays if you were a moose? Or a bald eagle? Of course we can’t know what our animals are thinking, and we do give them plenty of holiday enrichment treats at Winter Wildland. But we can definitely make some fun guesses based on what they enjoy doing or eating! Here’s a Northwest Trek wish-list for Santa from some of our animals. Let’s hope the guy in the red suit comes through… Moose Dear Santa, The holidays are here, and apparently you give gifts on request. Well, here is my request: Peace and quiet. …

Dec 19, 2019

With under two weeks until Christmas, staff at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are as busy as Santa’s elves creating unique holiday gifts for the animals. The weekend after Christmas, Dec. 28 and Dec. 29, is “Winter Wildland” at Northwest Trek. At the annual event, animals will be given their holiday-themed treats and gifts, known as “enrichments.” Enrichments are created to challenge animals’ brains and bodies, providing them with the environmental stimuli necessary for their well-being. “During Winter Wildland, our keepers create festive themed enrichments that are made from materials that our animals do not have the chance to interact with …

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 …

Oct 21, 2019

With the grace of a ballerina and the timing of an opera diva, Carly the cougar pads into her den. Behind the scenes at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, the den has a mesh wall with a waist-high perch on one side, where keeper Haley Withers is waiting patiently outside with some meatballs. “Come on, girl,” she calls softly. Carly pauses. Looks the scene over. Then in one swift movement she’s up on the perch, positioning her tail near a small horizontal opening. It’s cougar-training time. Trust me – just hold still “To train any animal, you need their trust,” says …

Oct 15, 2019

For Veterinary Technician Week 2019, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them! Vet techs assist veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care and they care deeply about our animals, often in very practical ways. We couldn’t care for our animals without them. Meet Tracy Cramer, our new full-time clinical veterinary technician at Northwest Trek. Why did you become a veterinary technician? I’ve always loved animals. I grew up with a lot of pets, everything from tarantulas to horses. We lived in rural Michigan, with woods behind our house. My friends and I would spend …

Conservation

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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, …

People

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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 …

Oct 08, 2019

There are people who decorate for Halloween. There are people who recreate a haunted house. And then there’s Hoot ‘n’ Howl. An entire wildlife park full of spooky decorations, lights and glowing pumpkins, not to mention games, treats and even a ghost tram, the annual Northwest Trek fall event (this year Oct. 11-12 and 18-19) takes weeks of preparation from almost every single staff member: zookeepers, naturalists, admissions staff, maintenance crew and more. But it’s worth every minute. Pumpkins and Prep “It’s a lot of work, but it’s so much fun,” says Emily Santiago, the lead naturalist in charge of …

Oct 08, 2019

Plenty of schools go on pumpkin patch field trips. Some get to visit grizzly bears at Northwest Trek. But there’s only one school where you get to grow pumpkins, then hide them for grizzly cubs to find – and that’s Weyerhaeuser Elementary, whose second- and third-graders came to Northwest Trek early this October (and last year too) to do exactly that. It’s all part of the school’s focus on outdoor STEM education, helped along by volunteer expertise from Trek horticulturalist Jake Pool. “Look, this one’s enormous!” cried one boy, stepping between vines to a giant Cinderella pumpkin. “And this one’s …

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 28, 2019

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 …