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Northwest Trek News

Closed but Still Caring

We may be closed due to recent restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), but our keepers and veterinary team are still at Northwest Trek every day caring for our animals. From enrichments to treats, check-ups to antler rubs, here’s how we’re #closedbutstillcaring. Here’s the video: And the gallery: Click on any image to start the slideshow. Mouse over to see captions (desktop).

Apr 08, 2020

Animals

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Apr 10, 2020

How are you coping in quarantine? Staying home and isolated during the coronavirus pandemic isn’t easy, and it’s really important to take care of yourself and those you live with. Luckily, our animals and keepers are experts in caring! Here are 10 Animal Tips to help you stay well at home. Click on any image to start the gallery.

Apr 08, 2020

We may be closed due to recent restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), but our keepers and veterinary team are still at Northwest Trek every day caring for our animals. From enrichments to treats, check-ups to antler rubs, here’s how we’re #closedbutstillcaring. Here’s the video: And the gallery: Click on any image to start the slideshow. Mouse over to see captions (desktop).

Mar 19, 2020

“Caaaribou!” sings Northwest Trek Free-Roaming Area keeper Dave Meadows. The morning sun seeps through the trees and the birds are chirping. It’s an exciting day in the park. It’s the day the woodland caribou will leave their behind-the-scenes winter home and join the other animals in the 435 acre Free-Roaming Area. Each fall during elk breeding season or “rut”, the bull elk battle over dominant status and mating rights. To keep the caribou safe, the caribou are taken to their own large, forested space, away from the rutting elk. On this sunny March day, Meadows calls the caribou. They know …

Feb 11, 2020

EATONVILLE, Wash.—Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and love is in the air at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park! There’s no concrete way to measure an animal’s love but many of the animals at Northwest Trek are coupled up, or longtime companions, and enjoy each other’s company. Of course, Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples- it’s about celebrating friendship and family, too! Swans: Trumpeter swans mate for life, and the current pair in Northwest Trek’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area are no exception. Rescued with wing injuries that left them unable to fly, they are always by each other’s side, waddling or …

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 …

Apr 08, 2020

We may be closed due to recent restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), but our keepers and veterinary team are still at Northwest Trek every day caring for our animals. From enrichments to treats, check-ups to antler rubs, here’s how we’re #closedbutstillcaring. Here’s the video: And the gallery: Click on any image to start the slideshow. Mouse over to see captions (desktop).

Feb 19, 2020

As any dog-owner knows, canine animals explore with their mouths. They lick. They chew things they shouldn’t. And sometimes, they eat things they shouldn’t. But it was still a surprise when Northwest Trek veterinary staff discovered that Darci the gray wolf had accidentally swallowed a rock. What was amazing was how it came out – and how Darci helped them every step of the way. X-rays and Crates “Hi, Darci, you’re okay. There’s a good girl,” called keeper Haley Withers, peeking through the window of a large metal crate in the back of a van. A black nose appeared at …

Conservation

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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, …

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 …

People

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Apr 17, 2020

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park employees thank the park’s irreplaceable volunteers for their time and energy all year-round. In 2019, 190 volunteers at Northwest Trek logged a total of 9,115 hours. They volunteered in many departments, including animal care, veterinary, conservation, education, horticulture, and maintenance, as well as with the Northwest Trek Foundation Board and on special events. “We are so grateful for every single one of our volunteers who helps to make the park thrive,” said volunteer coordinator, MacKenzie Shaefer. Highlighting our volunteers Terri Terault, Animal Care Volunteer Terri Terault has volunteered at Northwest …

Mar 18, 2020

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park recently became the classroom for local middle school students. Northwest Trek’s education experts created lesson plans about the different types of enrichment the animals can receive for the students from Columbia Crest A-S.T.E.M Middle School in Ashford. Animal enrichment is an important part of animal care. It creates a more stimulating environment for the animals while encouraging natural behaviors. The keeper staff at Northwest Trek provide a variety of enrichment that challenge the animals both physically and mentally. In February, Jessica Moore, the Education Curator at Northwest Trek, visited the Columbia Crest students in their classroom. …

Feb 26, 2020

EATONVILLE, Wash.—Beep. Beep. Beep. The alarm rings, it’s time to get up. One by one, eleven young adults hop out of bed. They look out the window: another rainy day in Washington state,  something they’ve adjusted well to since they first arrived over a month ago. They are far from home, some raised in the Midwest and others on the East Coast. They slowly wake up, eat breakfast, then throw on their boots, khaki pants and grey fleece jackets and head out the door to see what the day has in store for them. They are part of the AmeriCorps …

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 …

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 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 …

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 …