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Northwest Trek News

Medical care for a moose

Northwest Trek keeper/veterinary technician Deanna Edwards cradled the massive head of Ellis the moose in her arms, taking care that his breathing was regular as he lay on the grass, anesthetized, in a Free-Roaming area field. He made a low-pitched thrumming noise as he slept, sounding a bit like a machine of some kind had invaded the quiet of the forest. But, nope, it was just the normal vocalization of a sedated moose – and this forest “house-call” was all in a day’s work for Ellis’ dedicated veterinary and keeper team. Vet on the ground To Ellis’ rear, Northwest Trek …

Mar 06, 2019

Animals

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Jan 24, 2019

Giving a porcupine a physical exam can get a bit prickly – but our stellar veterinary team managed it easily! Head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case and veterinary technician Sara Dunleavy gave Thistle the porcupine his annual wellness exam recently, including ear, nose, eye and mouth checks, vital signs, palpation, blood tests and more, giving Thistle a clean bill of health. Here are the photos (click to expand).  

Dec 20, 2018

It’s a cold morning at Northwest Trek – a hushed, frozen stillness rising off the lake. But it’s not bothering Fern at all. The black bear has her head down, wrenching a branch off a fir tree to pad out her winter den. As she does, keeper Angela Gibson looks on in satisfaction: this is no ordinary holiday tree. It’s a piece of enrichment, carefully designed to improve Fern’s life – and it’s definitely working. “Enrichment is about providing the animals with experiences where they can express their natural behaviors and desires,” explains Gibson. “It creates opportunities for the animals …

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. We know …

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 …

Mar 06, 2019

Northwest Trek keeper/veterinary technician Deanna Edwards cradled the massive head of Ellis the moose in her arms, taking care that his breathing was regular as he lay on the grass, anesthetized, in a Free-Roaming area field. He made a low-pitched thrumming noise as he slept, sounding a bit like a machine of some kind had invaded the quiet of the forest. But, nope, it was just the normal vocalization of a sedated moose – and this forest “house-call” was all in a day’s work for Ellis’ dedicated veterinary and keeper team. Vet on the ground To Ellis’ rear, Northwest Trek …

Jan 24, 2019

Giving a porcupine a physical exam can get a bit prickly – but our stellar veterinary team managed it easily! Head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case and veterinary technician Sara Dunleavy gave Thistle the porcupine his annual wellness exam recently, including ear, nose, eye and mouth checks, vital signs, palpation, blood tests and more, giving Thistle a clean bill of health. Here are the photos (click to expand).  

Dec 20, 2018

It’s a cold morning at Northwest Trek – a hushed, frozen stillness rising off the lake. But it’s not bothering Fern at all. The black bear has her head down, wrenching a branch off a fir tree to pad out her winter den. As she does, keeper Angela Gibson looks on in satisfaction: this is no ordinary holiday tree. It’s a piece of enrichment, carefully designed to improve Fern’s life – and it’s definitely working. “Enrichment is about providing the animals with experiences where they can express their natural behaviors and desires,” explains Gibson. “It creates opportunities for the animals …

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? …

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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Feb 11, 2019

Maybe it was the bison. Maybe it was the towering evergreens and tranquil lake. Or maybe it just felt like home. But when Mike and Amelia Sharpe first visited Northwest Trek to see if they wanted to get married there, the decision was instant. “We looked at each other and we knew,” says the couple, who not only held their wedding at Northwest Trek in July, 2017 but went back for an anniversary visit in 2018. “We didn’t look anywhere else.” Northwest Beauty A big part of it was that the wildlife park felt like home. Native Washingtonians, Mike and …

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? …

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 …