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May 13, 2024

They are well-rested and wide awake from their winter naps. That’s right: the grizzly bears and black bears at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are energized and back in action!


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 their keepers have left for them.

Born in the winter of 2018, our grizzly bears were orphaned in the wild: Hawthorne in Alaska and Huckleberry in Montana. Neither would have survived without their mom. Cared for by local zoos, they arrived at their new Northwest Trek home in August 2018.

When the bears first arrived as cubs, they were about 90 pounds. Now, Hawthorne weighs an estimated 681 pounds, and Huckleberry weighs about 604 pounds. They each consume about 19 pounds of food a day.

Hawthorne is dark chocolate-colored (grizzly bears can have blonde, brown, or even black fur) and loves to play with the enrichment toys he receives from his keepers. He’s quick to bang around anything he can carry or throw and likes to rearrange natural “furniture” in his den.

“Hawthorne is a curious bear and loves to investigate anything new in his habitat,” said keeper Haley. “When it’s warm, he enjoys playing in the water from the keeper’s hose.”

Huckleberry is a lighter brown. He’s great at balancing on logs, climbing trees, and finding food that keepers have hidden in logs and other crevices around his forested habitat. Keepers say he is more deliberate with his actions.

While they are not related, the bears are often referred to by staff and guests as the “grizzly bros” and are almost always near each other, curious about what the other is doing.


The black bears live next door to the grizzlies. They are often seen walking or running through their habitat, napping in the sun, foraging for food, or even rolling around and enjoying piles of fresh pine shavings for enrichment.

Benton (male) and Fern (female) are brother and sister. They were rescued as orphans in Oregon in 2008, living at another zoo before finding a home at Northwest Trek in 2014. They’re very comfortable together, even taking turns resting in the den they’ve dug together.

Keepers describe Benton as a “go-getter” when there’s something he wants, like food. At other times, though, he can be very laid-back.  He enjoys napping, foraging, finding insects in rotting logs and soaking in the pool on hot days. Benton’s favorite foods include anything sweet, like apples, pears and grapes, but he also likes avocados. Benton weighs 465 pounds.

“Meanwhile, Fern is always very aware of her surroundings,” said keeper Haley. “She can be cautious but is sometimes playful. She’s very motivated by food, especially anything sugary like apples, pears and grapes.”

Fern likes making herself daybeds around her habitat where she can nap and observe everything. She also likes making mulch out of rotting logs and foraging for food. Fern weighs 253 pounds.


To celebrate bears and the important role they play in our ecosystem, Northwest Trek is bringing back its popular “Bear Camp” weekend, May 18-19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Of course, the stars of Bear Camp are Hawthorne, Huckleberry, Benton and Fern. Guests can see them splash in their pools, climb logs, forage, or soak up the sun. Plus, don’t miss these special keeper chats:

  • Saturday at 11:30 a.m.: See Sundew the skunk investigate a pint-sized campsite
  • Saturday at 1:30 p.m.: Watch grizzlies explore bear-safe camping equipment
  • Sunday at 11:30 a.m.: See Sundew the skunk investigate a pint-sized campsite
  • Sunday at 1:30 p.m.: See black bears explore a mock campsite and learn what could happen if you don’t make your campsite “bear safe.”

“Black bears are a top native predator in Washington and are excellent foragers,” said Nature Engagement Curator Craig Standridge. “We hope guests leave this event inspired to live in harmony with wildlife.”

Guests are invited to explore a mock campsite and learn how to make it wildlife-safe.

Younger guests can discover their inner bear with crafts, activities, and storytime with a naturalist. Storytime will be at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Learn more here.