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Northwest Trek News

Lynxed together

Omak was a Colorado guy who came to Northwest Trek as a youngster in 2014. Nuka swung into town in 2018, a female originally intended to be his mate. Now, finally, both Canada lynxes are together on exhibit – but just as companions. And they’re getting along extremely well. “Nuka and Omak were first introduced behind the scenes and over time became comfortable together” said Withers. “Guests can often see them on opposite sides of the habitat, but they don’t seem to mind sharing the space. Sometimes they even share enrichment items!” Change of Plan Originally, the plan was to …

Jul 01, 2020

Animals

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Aug 06, 2020

Are you missing your family and friends? Do you want to wish them a socially distanced “Happy Birthday!” or “Congrats!”? Animal lovers can now share a special message with a wild touch, all from the comfort of your own couch! Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are now offering “Animal Shoutouts.” Anyone can send a customized video greeting to a friend or loved one, complete with a favorite animal. “Perhaps now, more than ever, we need opportunities for fun and positive connections with each other and with animals and nature,” said Conservation Engagement Curator Wendy Spaulding. …

Jul 30, 2020

I had my howls all ready to go. When Northwest Trek keepers agreed I could try playing some music to our gray wolves, I was stoked. I’m primarily a writer in our marketing department – I run our websites and write blog stories, emails and more. But I’m also a classically-trained musician and have, in the last few years, developed a unique voice improvising on double bass using a looping pedal to create my own harmonies. I especially love taking this music outside, incorporating natural sounds like whalesong and birdsong. Playing music for actual wolves took this to a whole …

Jul 21, 2020

We all love summer in the Pacific Northwest, but there’s no doubt that some days get pretty hot. Humans are pretty creative in finding ways to beat the heat – splashing, shade, cool clothes – and our Northwest Trek animals do it too! Grizzly bear Our grizzly “cubs” Huckleberry and Hawthorne just love the pool in their huge forested habitat. They plunge, paddle, splash and dive, playing underneath the waterfall and generally having a lot of fun! When the cubs were small, our maintenance staff put a false bottom in the pool to keep it safely shallow while they learned …

Jul 06, 2020

It’s summer – and that means baby animal time at Northwest Trek! Book a Wild Drive Premier Tour and head out to our Free-Roaming Area meadows to look for bison and elk calves, black-tailed deer fawns and maybe even a bighorn sheep lamb or two. “It’s my favorite time of year!” said Jessie Knust, assistant naturalist, who has guided tours around the Free-Roaming Area for 5 years. How hard is it to spot little ones? Well, it depends on the animal. Bison calves Bison calves are the easiest, says Knust. With their rust-orange coats and hefty size (a bison already …

Jul 02, 2020

Even America’s most iconic symbol needs vaccinations to stay healthy. At Northwest Trek this spring, all four bald eagles received their annual shots against West Nile virus, keeping them – and the human population – safer from the disease. But the vaccination visit to Eagle Passage was also a great opportunity for the veterinary team to check up on Sucia, Salish, Sequoia and Cheveyo, getting weights, trimming beaks and nails and making sure everyone was doing well. The fun part for us? Veterinarian Dr. Allison Case decided to put on a chest Go-Pro while she worked, giving fans an eagle-eye …

Jun 17, 2020

UPDATE 7/14/20: We are saddened to report that Macklin unexpectedly passed away yesterday from internal complications. He will be deeply missed.   Northwest Trek Wildlife Park has a new fisher in the Forest & Wetland habitat, just in time for the park’s reopening on June 18. Macklin is an 8-year-old male fisher from British Columbia – and he also tells an incredible story of conservation and care. Bringing back fishers Fishers, furry mammals in the weasel family, are native to the Northwest and historically ranged from the Cascades to Canada. But deforestation and demand for their thick, silky fur had …

Apr 17, 2020

If Dr. Karen Wolf needs another skilled set of hands for a walrus procedure, she knows who to call. And if Dr. Allison Case has a beaver or owl that needs attention while she’s out of town, she has a second clinic just a van-trip away. The two women are head veterinarians of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, respectively – and these sister zoos have veterinary teams with a long tradition of helping each other. “People don’t realize there’s this crossover,” explains Dr. Wolf of the unique veterinary partnership. “I have absolute confidence that if …

Apr 17, 2020

While Northwest Trek Wildlife Park may be closed to the public, the animals in the park continue to receive exceptional care. “Despite the concerns of the world, our animals are healthy and doing well,” said Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman. “Our head veterinarian and animal care team continue to work onsite and provide our animals with a high level of care every day during our temporary closure. “ Staff planned in advance for the pandemic, and currently have a surplus of essential food, medicines and medical supplies for the animals. That includes six months of meat, a year of fish, a …

Conservation

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Jul 30, 2020

It’s a warm summer evening, and you’re out for a twilight walk. Suddenly, you spot a pair of bright eyes in the undergrowth. You freeze. A coyote steps out into the silence, bushy-tailed, followed by – yes! – three young pups. Quick as lightning, you whip out your phone and snap a photo. Alerted, they turn and swiftly vanish to hunt their dinner – and you upload the shot and location to a crowd-sourcing nature app, to feed into a study. Another triumph for community science! Sounds futuristic? Actually, it could be you this summer, if you’re willing. The Grit …

Jun 17, 2020

UPDATE 7/14/20: We are saddened to report that Macklin unexpectedly passed away yesterday from internal complications. He will be deeply missed.   Northwest Trek Wildlife Park has a new fisher in the Forest & Wetland habitat, just in time for the park’s reopening on June 18. Macklin is an 8-year-old male fisher from British Columbia – and he also tells an incredible story of conservation and care. Bringing back fishers Fishers, furry mammals in the weasel family, are native to the Northwest and historically ranged from the Cascades to Canada. But deforestation and demand for their thick, silky fur had …

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, …

People

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Aug 06, 2020

It’s now a reality: Most Puget Sound-area schools are now all-online this fall. Many parents and educators are scrambling to supplement and engage students in core areas like science. Enter Online Wildlife Academy, a brand-new program launching Aug. 11 at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Using the common Zoom platform, Online Wildlife Academy offers a fun, interactive, online lesson delivering key science concepts via something most kids love: Animals. The lessons weave animal videos from Northwest Trek with real-time discussions, Q&A and facts about animal and ecosystem biology, all delivered live on Zoom by a wildlife educator at Northwest Trek. Online …

Jul 30, 2020

I had my howls all ready to go. When Northwest Trek keepers agreed I could try playing some music to our gray wolves, I was stoked. I’m primarily a writer in our marketing department – I run our websites and write blog stories, emails and more. But I’m also a classically-trained musician and have, in the last few years, developed a unique voice improvising on double bass using a looping pedal to create my own harmonies. I especially love taking this music outside, incorporating natural sounds like whalesong and birdsong. Playing music for actual wolves took this to a whole …

Jul 17, 2020

9:30am It’s pretty good when your work day starts with a furry fan club as excited as Rainier and Ahma. Keeper Alex Cruz arrives for the “late” shift at Northwest Trek’s Forest+Wetlands habitat at 9:30am. After checking email and chatting with the keepers who’ve been on shift since 7:30am, she makes her way up to two wolverines who are very keen to see her. “I’m their primary trainer right now, and usually the first person in to see them in the morning,” explains Cruz, setting two tubs of raw meat onto a barrel and picking up a pan and brush. …

Jul 16, 2020

It’s 11am, and Ed Cleveland is hoisting 50-pound bags of bear chow into a small storage shed. In a mask. On an 80-degree day. As he catches his breath, he jokes with fellow keeper Deanna Edwards, who’s restocking the keeper truck for a midday feed. Then he takes a long, assessing look at stock levels and heads back to the office to book in a major delivery. For Cleveland, a 62-year-old with a long Santa Claus beard and quiet smile, it’s just one part of being head keeper at Northwest Trek – a place he’s worked at for 36 years, …

plants

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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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Jul 30, 2020

Need to get out in nature? Hike without the crowds? Get up close to animals? Stay safe? And keep the cost down? We have the answer: a Northwest Trek day trip. Combine a morning or afternoon visit to the wildlife park with a half-day hike, picnic and local dinner outside, and you’ve got the makings of an awesome family day or romantic date. Keep reading to build your perfect itinerary. Step 1: Animals up close For less than the price of a movie ticket ($12/$10), you can spend a morning or afternoon at Northwest Trek, getting up-close to grizzlies, bald …

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 …

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 …