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Northwest Trek News

How to Train Your Cougar

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 21, 2019

Animals

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Oct 24, 2019

She’s named after a mountain, but she’s the smallest of the herd. As her human care team watched closely, little mountain goat Ellinor – one of ten kids cared for at the wildlife park after recent mountain goat relocation efforts in the Olympic Mountains – trotted out to the Free-Roaming Area Wednesday morning to meet the rest of the Northwest Trek herd. There to meet her were the five yearling goat kids who’d found a home here after last year’s relocation project, and an older nanny. And while there was some initial surprise all round, it was soon clear that …

Sep 30, 2019

Regional zoos partner with agencies on Olympics mountain goat relocation; 10 kids cared for at Northwest Trek before finding new homes. Eatonville, Wash. – Ten fluffy white mountain goat kids paused halfway up a log behind the scenes this week at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Then, as one, they scampered outside to explore. The kids were making history in two ways: They were the largest group of mountain goats the Eatonville wildlife park has ever cared for. But more importantly, the kids represented another successful collaboration by Northwest Trek, regional zoos and government agencies to relocate mountain goats out of …

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 …

Aug 27, 2019

It couldn’t fly, but it had all the tiny, angular cuteness you could possibly want. In a small meshed container in the Northwest Trek veterinary clinic, a little brown bat hung in folds of soft pink cloth, sleepily chomping a mealworm and getting ready to be an ambassador – a new lease on life, thanks to Northwest Trek staff. “One of our keepers found him on the floor of the exit breezeway,” explained keeper Wendi Mello, gently lifting the sleepy bat out of its temporary house. “It was injured and couldn’t fly, but we knew we could help.” Keepers brought …

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 …

Oct 09, 2019

Examining three mountain goat kids in a row? That’s all in a day’s work for a wildlife park that’s looking after 10 goat kids until they go to their new homes. “All right,” said Dr. Allison Case, Northwest Trek veterinarian, checking off her notes. “We’ve done weight, we’ve done blood samples, fecal samples, dewormer, fly spray, vaccinations, hoof trim, antibiotic. We just have the rest of the physical and we’re done.” The goat kid with the yellow ear tag sleeping peacefully under anesthetic was just the first of three to have exams that day in the Northwest Trek veterinary clinic, …

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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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 …

Sep 23, 2019

Hoot ‘n’ Howl is the best Northwest fall event, ever – and YOU can help make it even more fun! Volunteer at Northwest Trek’s spookiest event! Volunteers will help with crafts, games and trick-or-treat stations. Dress up for the festivities and encourage your friends and family to volunteer too! WHEN Event runs 5-9pm Oct. 11, 12, 18, 19. Volunteer minimum: Two of the four evenings from 4-10pm (one-hour orientation at 3pm for new volunteers). DUTIES Directing visitors, leading craft and activity stations, staffing trick or treat stations and assisting staff with event set-up and take-down. QUALIFICATIONS Be 14 years of …

Sep 06, 2019

  The San Diego Zoo, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are partnering to provide a virtual adventure television channel in Mary Bridge Children’s hospital patient rooms. The new channel is being provided by San Diego Zoo Global as part of its children’s hospital network that airs at almost 200 facilities. This collaborative effort between children’s hospitals and zoos and aquariums has been made possible by a generous gift from noted philanthropist Denny Sanford and a grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services. San Diego Zoo Kids Channel provides family-friendly, …

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 …