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Northwest Trek News

First Baby Animals of the Season Born

It’s baby season at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Guests can try and spot three Roosevelt elk calves and six black-tailed deer fawns in the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area during a Wild Drive or Keeper Adventure Tour. Plus, an added bonus: wild goslings and ducklings occasionally making an appearance. “We expect even more births this spring and summer,” said Assistant Curator Dave Meadows. “It’s fun to watch the newborns as they grow, sticking very close to their mothers at first and later gaining the confidence to venture a bit farther away.” Roosevelt elk (named for President Theodore Roosevelt) are social, polygamous members …

Jun 17, 2022

Animals

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Jul 11, 2022

He enjoys climbing and watching the trees sway in the wind and the birds fly by, making the name ‘Forest’ a perfect fit for Northwest Trek’s newest animal, an American marten. Martens are omnivores, members of the weasel family and live in forests in Washington, Alaska, northern New England, the Great Lakes region, Canada, and the Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. Staff at Northwest Trek are honored to give Forest a home, after he was rescued and survived a challenging past. Visitors will notice that Forest’s tail is missing, as result of an incident before he was rescued. When Forest was first rescued, he …

Jun 17, 2022

It’s baby season at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Guests can try and spot three Roosevelt elk calves and six black-tailed deer fawns in the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area during a Wild Drive or Keeper Adventure Tour. Plus, an added bonus: wild goslings and ducklings occasionally making an appearance. “We expect even more births this spring and summer,” said Assistant Curator Dave Meadows. “It’s fun to watch the newborns as they grow, sticking very close to their mothers at first and later gaining the confidence to venture a bit farther away.” Roosevelt elk (named for President Theodore Roosevelt) are social, polygamous members …

Jun 15, 2022

It’s a cool, wet spring morning at Northwest Trek, and keeper Wendi is cleaning out the fisher habitat. She scoops some poop, then bends down intently. “Aha!” she exclaims, and reaches out a gloved hand. It’s a banana slug, long, mottled and yellow – and Wendi scoops it up in all its slimy glory. Slug Fest is coming, and Northwest Trek is getting ready. Slug Hunting “Fifty to sixty degrees and raining, that’s prime slug hunting time,” explains Wendi. One of the Wetlands keepers, she’s taking part in the staff’s Longest Slug Contest for the ever-popular annual Slug Fest event, …

May 20, 2022

Both the black bears and grizzly bears are well-awake from their winter naps and energetic in their habitats at Northwest Trek. The grizzly “brothers” are playful and can often be seen splashing in their 7-foot deep pool, wrestling one another, head-butting and searching for hidden treats keepers have left them. The black bears next door can also be seen walking or running through their habitat and playing with enrichment from the keepers. It’s an exciting time of year for both the bears and the visitors who get to see them! But, seeing bears in the wild, while exciting, requires you …

Aug 03, 2022

Nettle nestled herself along the steep hillside within Northwest Trek’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area, as if she knew it was time for her annual exam. It’s an easy adventure for a one-year-old mountain goat – and not so simple for those who care for her. But Veterinarian Dr. Allison Case, Veterinary Technician Tracy and Keeper Deanna are used to doing what it takes to ensure the animals at Northwest Trek receive exceptional care. “It’s a very physical job,” Dr. Case said. After Keeper Deanna tries to entice Nettle off the hillside with some food, Dr. Case darts her with an anesthetic. …

Jun 09, 2022

American badger sisters Poppy and Lavender recently had annual wellness exams with Northwest Trek’s animal care and veterinary team. Both sisters had their eyes checked, nails trimmed, X-rays taken, and received routine vaccinations. They also contributed to critical scientific research. During the exam, the veterinary team gathered a small tissue sample- a 4-millimeter biopsy- from the left ear of each sister. “This tissue will allow researchers to study the evolutionary history of badgers,” explained veterinary technician Tracy. Researchers are interested in studying the adaptations that lead to the badger’s underground and burrowing lifestyle. They reached out to Association of Zoos …

May 04, 2022

How do you vaccinate a wolverine or draw blood from a grizzly bear? It takes dedication, teamwork, patience – and a lot of trust. Northwest Trek keepers train many of the animals daily to voluntarily participate in their own healthcare — holding still to receive medical injections or X-rays, presenting paws for blood draws, allowing eye drops. The list goes on. And, most importantly, it’s all collaborative. “If they don’t want to participate, they don’t have to,” explained keeper Wendi, who has cared for animals at the wildlife park for 21 years. “It’s all positive reinforcement training. We must earn …

Apr 29, 2022

Wolverines are tough survivors. They are exposed to harsh, frozen Northwest mountain winters. They are agile climbers, strong diggers, and aren’t afraid of anything. At Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Ahma the wolverine has proved to be all those things and more in her 15 years of life. She is the second oldest wolverine in human care in the United States. And over the past few weeks, she has faced her biggest challenge yet: having surgery to remove both of her eyes after her animal care team noticed a significant change in her eye color and was diagnosed with a lens …

Conservation

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Aug 04, 2022

Hundreds of endangered northern leopard frogs will leap back into the wild at the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Grant County this month. The releases are made possible by a partnership of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Oregon Zoo, Washington State University (WSU), and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. WDFW collected northern leopard frog eggs earlier this spring, and after months of growing at the Oregon Zoo and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, the frogs are almost ready for release. WSU researchers will also fit a couple dozen of the frogs with small …

Jun 17, 2022

More than 650 observers took part in this year’s City Nature Challenge spanning King and Pierce counties, including Everett, Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Snohomish and any place in between! Between April 29 and May 2, community scientists submitted 7,705 nature observations and identified more than 1,200 species showing the world the incredible biodiversity in the region’s hom e turf. That’s the region’s all-time record! “This year we had more observers participate, more observations made and more species identified in the Seattle-Tacoma area than we have since our region joined City Nature Challenge in 2017,” said Zach Hawn, conservation engagement coordinator at …

Mar 23, 2022

Locating Amphibian Egg Masses What species of amphibians are thriving in the Pacific Northwest? One way to find out is to locate and identify their egg masses, and March is a perfect month to monitor for amphibian egg masses in the ponds at Northwest Trek. Just north of the wildlife park is a 4-acre wetland mitigation site where this search frequently takes place. “This is an ideal place for monitoring egg masses,“ says Northwest Trek’s Conservation Program Coordinator Rachael. “Since the wetland’s restoration, we’ve identified eggs from seven of the eight monitored species of stillwater-breeding amphibians.” “The biggest diversity of …

Nov 17, 2021

On Friday, November 5, federal, state, tribal and partner biologists released five fishers from Alberta, Canada into the lush, coastal forest near Lake Ozette, the latest event in a nearly two decades-long project to restore the native species to Washington State. Fishers- a member of the mustelid or weasel family roughly the size of a housecat that feeds on rodents, hares and even porcupines- were extirpated from Washington by the 1930s due to over-trapping, poisoning and fragmentation of their forest habitat. This latest fisher release is part of an ongoing partnership led by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the National …

People

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Jul 18, 2022

National Zookeeper Week takes place July 17-23 this year. The week is devoted to sharing the passion and dedication of keepers. Our zookeepers are a dedicated group of people who work tirelessly each day to provide the animals with the best care possible. Below are stories from just a few of our incredible zookeepers chosen by their curator. MEET KEEPER JORDAN MEET KEEPERS HANNAH & ARMANDO MEET KEEPER BECKY MEET KEEPER AMANDA

Jul 14, 2022

For National Tattoo Day we are highlighting some of the unique animal and nature tattoos of Northwest Trek staff who care for our animals and connect our community to wildlife. Check out their beautiful tattoos and the inspiration behind them. Craig, Education Curator “I discovered the inspiration for this red wolf tattoo when I was working on the design for signs in the new Red Wolf Woods habitat at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. I found a dusty, mysterious scroll rolled up with this haunting and majestic image. There was no attribute to the artist, and no one on our …

Jul 13, 2022

This Zookeeper Week, we shadowed Amanda, a zookeeper at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Amanda works with the black bears, grizzly bears, cougar, lynx, bobcats, foxes, and gray wolves.  We asked her about her experiences in zookeeping and what working with animals and wildlife means to her. Q: What is your favorite part of the job? A: I love providing enrichment to the animals and watching them express their natural behaviors. For example: I will put an antler up in a tree in Carly the cougar’s habitat to encourage her  to  climb and explore. Q: What is your favorite animal at …

Jul 13, 2022

This Zookeeper Week, we shadowed Jordan, a zookeeper at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Jordan works with all the animals in the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area, including nearly 90 bison, mountain goats, elk, swans, caribou, and bighorn sheep and dozens of black-tailed deer.  We asked him about his experiences in zookeeping and what working with animals and wildlife means to him. Q: What is your favorite part of the job? A: I love how different every day can be. If an animal is behaving abnormally or needs a medical procedure, it can change my whole routine. I also enjoy the solitude and …

plants

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Jan 14, 2021

What a windstorm! Tuesday night’s strong gusts hit Northwest Trek hard. Fallen trees and branches covered nearly every road and pathway in the park and fences had to be rebuilt. But, with great team effort and the help of a few leaf blowers, the park will open just in time for the 3-day weekend ahead (it even has dry weather in the forecast!). It was all hands on deck this week, as employees from each department surveyed the forested paths, picking up branches while maintenance staff worked tirelessly to clear trees. “Thank you all for pitching in so we can …

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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Aug 05, 2022

Need to get out in nature? Get up close to animals? And eat great food? 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 You can spend a morning or afternoon at Northwest Trek, getting up-close to grizzlies, bald eagles, cougar and more. There’s plenty of guaranteed parking. Wander the paved paths and learn all about …

May 12, 2022

Down a peaceful side trail at Northwest Trek, just past the zipline, a tiny door is just visible in the grass. No, you’re not imagining things. It’s a fairy house, and there are at least a dozen more dotted along the same trail – just keep your eyes open. “I was inspired by a ‘gnome trail’ I hiked 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 explore them more.” Fairy Fun And the Trek Fairy Trail does make for …

Aug 18, 2021

There’s a new bald eagle at Northwest Trek. Just outside the entry to the Eagle Passage habitat, a larger-than-life-size bird perches on a tall snag, wings spread. Like many an eagle, it stares into the distance, motionless. But this bald eagle won’t ever grow old or weaken. Cast in bronze, it immortalizes the iconic American birds that call the wildlife park home – and stands as a tribute to the human donors who made their habitat possible. “This is a project very dear to our hearts,” says Cathy Torgerson, president of the Northwest Trek Foundation which raised the $500,000 funding …

Jul 05, 2021

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. This year, we get you off-road and up to the action in the keeper Jeep, with just …