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Northwest Trek News

Grizzly cubs – together!

Double the cubs, double the fun. So far, our grizzly bear cubs have been exploring their Northwest Trek habitat one at a time. Huckleberry enjoys hanging out by the pool, in the forest, and wherever he finds food. Hawthorne likes standing on the log over the pool. But this weekend, they’ll be sharing their home – with visitors sharing the fun. From Friday Oct. 12 you can see them both outside from 9:30-11:30am, and 1-3pm. Here’s a sneak peek at how our cubs play together!

Oct 11, 2018

Animals

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Nov 13, 2018

Mountain goat kids from the Olympics introduced to new home at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. A group of mountain goat kids scampered into the vast expanses of our 435-acre Free-Roaming Area Tuesday morning and began exploring their new home.   There were five altogether. Four of the young goats – females Fairchild and Bailey and males Klahhane and Elwha – will remain at Northwest Trek where they can choose to roam through meadows, forested areas and rocky hillsides. The fifth eventually will move to another zoo.   We are delighted to provide a permanent home for these mountain goat kids. …

Oct 15, 2018

The look on Tymbre Green’s face was irreplaceable. As she stared out into the wet green woods of the Northwest Trek gray wolf habitat, two wolves loped up and nosed around a fallen log. With swift precision, one snapped up something in her jaws and began to munch. It was a pumpkin – one that Tymbre herself had just hidden in the log with a keeper, while the wolves were safely behind the scenes. Even more impressive? It was a pumpkin that one of Tymbre’s classmates – now third-graders at the local Weyerhaeuser Elementary School in Eatonville – had planted …

Oct 11, 2018

Double the cubs, double the fun. So far, our grizzly bear cubs have been exploring their Northwest Trek habitat one at a time. Huckleberry enjoys hanging out by the pool, in the forest, and wherever he finds food. Hawthorne likes standing on the log over the pool. But this weekend, they’ll be sharing their home – with visitors sharing the fun. From Friday Oct. 12 you can see them both outside from 9:30-11:30am, and 1-3pm. Here’s a sneak peek at how our cubs play together!

Sep 28, 2018

When you’re nine months old – and a grizzly bear – the world is a pretty exciting place. It was 10am on his first day out in public, and Hawthorne the grizzly cub was having a wonderful adventure – every ten seconds. First he sniffed around his habitat a little, checking out what was new this morning. He nosed logs, flipped over a small branch, then picked it up and shook it. Then he galloped a complete lap of the space, backside jiggling, and ran right up his favorite perch – a log cantilevered over the small pool. “He can …

Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them to you! 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 do without them. Sara Dunleavy, full-time clinical veterinary technician at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park How long have you been a vet tech – and when did you begin at Northwest Trek? Sara: I’ve been a licensed veterinary technician for 12 years – and started here six months ago. What inspired you to do this work? …

Aug 15, 2018

How do you give two grizzly bear cubs their first physicals? With equal measures of intense preparation, precision timing, and the caring and compassion that can be provided only by an expert team of veterinary and animal-care staff members. Oh, and you need two adorable grizzly bear cubs, too. Check. Check. And check! Fortunately the pair, one orphaned in Alaska, one orphaned in Montana, have a new permanent home at Northwest Trek. Both were so young they needed human care to survive. Following their first full physicals in our Veterinary Clinic this week, Dr. Allison Case declared both to be …

Jun 19, 2018

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s two new snowy owl siblings received their first wellness exams at Northwest Trek. The exams included a complete hands-on physical inspection from beak to toe, including radiographs, weight, eye and ear exams, and blood work. And keeper Wendi Mello, veterinarian Dr. Allison Case and technician Sara Dunleavy even included a beak trim and claw clipping. All of these tests provide a good picture of overall health and allow veterinary and animal care staff to monitor any changes over time. Both snowy owls are in great condition and received extra TLC following their exams.  

May 30, 2018

It was a fairly routine wellness exam in the Northwest Trek veterinary clinic this week – but with a very special guest. “See, I’m just extending the wing out here to look at his plumage,” says Trek veterinarian Dr. Allison Case, gently unfolding the white underfeathers of Teklus, the barn owl. Reaching with one finger, Dorothy “Doro” Oliver leaned over the peacefully-sleeping bird in awe. “He’s so soft,” she whispered. For Teklus – the Lushootseed word for owl, pronounced “tukloose” and shortened to “Tuck” by staff – it was just an ordinary exam. But for Oliver – celebrating a birthday …

Conservation

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Jul 16, 2018

The mission began at sunset. After a quick briefing to receive assignments and equipment, 26 staff and volunteers spread silently out to their locations. In the entrance breezeway, near the tram garage and underneath trees, they hunkered low on the ground as darkness grew. They waited, breath hushed. And then, with a chattering and creaking overhead, the mission began: The Great Trek Bat Count of 2018. As bats began to fly out from their roosts into the night to hunt, the humans sitting quietly below them began to click their counters, one for each outgoing bat. One staff member had …

Jun 05, 2018

Some was sprinkled around the base of a tree. More was scattered over the floor of the tram garage. But it was just outside one of the veterinary clinics, under a wide overhanging awning, that Michelle Tirhi got really excited. “Look at all that!” she exclaimed, sweeping her eyes around the concrete floor. “And it’s all fresh! We could just scoop up some right now.” Bending down, she picked up a tiny black sliver the size and shape of a rice grain and held it up triumphantly. Bat poop. Or guano, to be precise. Tirhi, the District II wildlife biologist …

Jun 04, 2018

Amazing. That’s the word used to describe the outcome of the 2018 Point Defiance Park BioBlitz, a 24-hour survey of living things observed in the 760-acre park. By sheer numbers, the BioBlitz more than met its purpose of forging connections between people and their natural surroundings, said Metro Parks Tacoma’s Craig Standridge. In his role as community engagement coordinator at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, he oversaw the April 27-28 event, as well as the previous one in 2011. “There was an overwhelming level of participation and enthusiasm,” he said. “It showed there is a real craving for this type …

Jun 04, 2018

Deep in the forests of Mount Rainier National Park, a female fisher holes up in the crook of a towering Douglas fir, protecting and feeding her newborn kits. Far below and several miles away, a propeller spins faster and faster, generating the speed needed to hurl a small aircraft down an airstrip and into the Northwest skies. The plane’s belly and wings bristle with antennae as it heads off on a mission to pinpoint the fisher’s location using signals from a transmitter implanted before her release. This is a fisher reconnaissance mission, funded with the donations made by Northwest Trek …

People

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Oct 24, 2018

Experiencing a Northwest Trek Virtual Field Trip   You could almost touch the anticipation. Twenty first-graders from Tacoma’s Roosevelt Elementary waved excitedly to the face on the big screen in the front of their room – and as teacher Kaylin Gasparach toggled with the screen windows, the face waved back. It was Wendi Mello, keeper at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, and as the class gasped, the owl on her arm slowly turned its head and blinked. Mello – and the owl – were taking the class on a raptor adventure full of science, learning and animals – a Northwest Trek …

Oct 15, 2018

The look on Tymbre Green’s face was irreplaceable. As she stared out into the wet green woods of the Northwest Trek gray wolf habitat, two wolves loped up and nosed around a fallen log. With swift precision, one snapped up something in her jaws and began to munch. It was a pumpkin – one that Tymbre herself had just hidden in the log with a keeper, while the wolves were safely behind the scenes. Even more impressive? It was a pumpkin that one of Tymbre’s classmates – now third-graders at the local Weyerhaeuser Elementary School in Eatonville – had planted …

Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them to you! 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 do without them. Sara Dunleavy, full-time clinical veterinary technician at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park How long have you been a vet tech – and when did you begin at Northwest Trek? Sara: I’ve been a licensed veterinary technician for 12 years – and started here six months ago. What inspired you to do this work? …

May 07, 2018

Jake Pool had a problem most gardeners wouldn’t even imagine: His baby plants were getting ripped up by wolves. Gray wolves, to be precise. Because Pool is the horticulturalist here at Northwest Trek, and he doesn’t just have the usual Northwest garden challenges of slugs and deer. He’s got bigger animals to deal with. Luckily, he also has animal keepers to help find solutions. “Keepers design enrichment to give animals opportunities to express natural behavior,” says keeper Angela Gibson, who looks after the canines, bears and big cats at Northwest Trek. “For wolves these behaviors include territorial marking, caching, tracking …

Trails & Tours

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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 …