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Northwest Trek News

Making a Wild Escape

Six heads bent over a piece of paper on the Northwest Trek path. The atmosphere was intense. “All right, team – our first mission is Bears,” said Lauren Bentson, camp director at the Tacoma Nature Center. “That’s where our clues are, and our lockbox. Do we have a name?” “El Panthero!” called out one of the group. Others nodded. “Okay,” said Bentson. “Are you excited?” “Yeah!” came the reply. For the Wildlife Biologist campers from the Nature Center, it was time for a Wild Escape. Escape Rooms without walls “Wild Escape is a new program for kids or adults to …

Aug 29, 2019

Animals

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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 …

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 …

Jul 31, 2019

Q: What does it take to move bald eagles into a new home? A: An expert keeper and animal care team – and plenty of patience. It was the week of the Eagle Passage Grand Opening, and two of Northwest Trek’s new bald eagles were ready to move in. Quiet, please Early one morning, before the park filled with guests and noise, veterinarian Dr. Allison Case gathered with curator Marc Heinzman, keepers Wendi Mello and Miranda Mauck and a team of keepers and interns. All were ready to gather up the eagle pair from where they had been living behind …

Jul 31, 2019

Hard to believe, but it’s been a year exactly since our two grizzly cubs arrived as rescued orphans. Now well over a year old, Huckleberry and Hawthorne are much bigger, much stronger but just as lovable. The bear equivalent to teenagers, they are looking a lot more like adults, but still love to play like cubs. Our keepers are celebrating with a special enrichment at 1pm Saturday Aug. 3: yummy watermelon cake for both bears. We decided to honor the moment with a side-by-side comparison of our cubs, then and now. WEIGHT Then: Hawthorne weighed 90 lb, Huckleberry 80 lb. …

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 …

Aug 19, 2019

For Bailey and Fairchild, the morning started like any other. Northwest Trek keeper Dave Meadows drove up, unloaded buckets of food from the truck and divided it into piles on the road in the Free-Roaming Area. The two mountain goat kids, now just over one year old, ambled up from the lakeside with Klahhane, Elwha and Rocky, and began munching. But today was going to be very different for the two female goats, who came to the wildlife park last summer as part of a multiagency effort translocating mountain goats to the Cascades (where they are native) from the Olympic …

Aug 13, 2019

It’s something you don’t realize about bald eagles until you’re two feet away from one: just how big they really are. It was a Thursday afternoon at Northwest Trek, and the veterinary clinic had a very special patient. Sequoia, a recently-arrived bald eagle, was getting a wellness exam in preparation for joining her fellow eagles Salish and Sucia in the new Eagle Passage exhibit. Sequoia was already under anesthetic, and keeper Wendi Mello carried her into the clinic, cradled like a child in gauntleted arms. Rescued from the wild with a shoulder injury that prevents her from fully flying, Sequoia …

Aug 13, 2019

In the raccoon habitat at Northwest Trek, McKenna and McChord are snuggled together, gently licking and nibbling each other’s gray-white fur. The pace is calm, the grooming serene. You would never know that one of these raccoons had cancer – and that well-being is exactly what their keepers and veterinarians are striving for. McKenna, the eight-year-old female of the duo, has bladder cancer, but thanks to the very best of therapies and ongoing care, she’s as content as she can be, hanging out with the animal she’s closest to. “We first noticed her straining, with some blood in her urine, …

Conservation

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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, …

May 13, 2019

As pink sky slowly darkens behind tall trees, six scientists stand motionless outside the veterinary clinic at Northwest Trek. Only a robin’s chirp pierces the cool air. All eyes are fixed on the clinic’s overhang roof, straining to see through the shadows. They’re waiting for the appearance of a tiny creature that’s often misunderstood, yet is vital to human health, and is now in danger from a deadly disease. They’re waiting for bats. 6:00 p.m. Scientists Michelle Tirhi and Abby Tobin arrive at Northwest Trek, and start scouting bat roosts with Trek staff: conservation engagement coordinator Rachael Mueller, veterinary technician …

Apr 18, 2019

It’s a sunny spring afternoon at Northwest Trek, and in the Free-Roaming Area pond a small turtle is basking on a log. Keeper Dave Meadows, passing by, stops the truck and whips out a camera – because this is no ordinary turtle. It’s a rare western pond turtle, endangered in Washington. And it’s the first one seen at the wildlife park in two years. “You really only see them in spring, when they come out of hibernation and it’s sunny, but before the water levels fall too much,” says Meadows. Native – and endangered Western pond turtles are around 4-8 …

People

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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, …

Aug 29, 2019

Six heads bent over a piece of paper on the Northwest Trek path. The atmosphere was intense. “All right, team – our first mission is Bears,” said Lauren Bentson, camp director at the Tacoma Nature Center. “That’s where our clues are, and our lockbox. Do we have a name?” “El Panthero!” called out one of the group. Others nodded. “Okay,” said Bentson. “Are you excited?” “Yeah!” came the reply. For the Wildlife Biologist campers from the Nature Center, it was time for a Wild Escape. Escape Rooms without walls “Wild Escape is a new program for kids or adults to …

Aug 26, 2019

It’s that perfect time of year – summer in the Pacific Northwest. But if you’re looking for ways to cool off, look no further than Northwest Trek. Not only do we have animals that love to beat the heat (the moose swim in the lake, the grizzly cubs splash in the pool and the elk just hang out in the shade), we have plenty of tips for humans too! Here are seven ways you can cool off this summer at Northwest Trek. 1. Feel the breeze on our Keeper Adventure Tour Jeep Our Keeper Adventure Tours get you off road …

Jul 17, 2019

“I love working here. It’s a unique place, and I love the challenges that come with it.” – Dave Meadows, Free-Roaming Area keeper, Northwest Trek 8am Dave Meadows swings into the keeper truck with the ease of someone who’s been doing it for 25 years. As he pulls slowly through the gate into the Free-Roaming Area, he’s already on duty. Alert eyes scan the road ahead and forest to either side. It’s something he’ll be doing constantly over the next two hours, whether he’s driving around the 435-acre habitat, pulling out feed buckets or taking radio calls from fellow keepers. …

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 …