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Feb 06, 2024

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! Moose “Moose are generally solitary animals, but our three moose calves love being in their own micro-herd,” said keeper Jordan. “They are seldom seen alone and prefer to forage, go on walks, swim, play in the meadows, and even …

Dec 18, 2023

As another year ends, we reflect on the special moments Northwest Trek Wildlife Park had the privilege of being a part of in 2023. We raised and released hundreds of endangered northern leopard frogs into the wild, provided a new home to a hoary marmot, and helped Tacoma students develop empathy for wildlife through our award-winning Wildlife Champions program. Enjoy some of our favorite photos from this year, taken by staff photographer Katie Cotterill. Brothers gotta hug! Grizzly bears Huckleberry and Hawthorne hug during a wrestling play session. Mountain goat Klahhane sticks out his tongue. An elk calf stays close …

Oct 30, 2023

The black bears at Northwest Trek have gone down for their winter naps, also known as torpor. During torpor, a bear’s body temperature, respiratory rate and metabolic rates all decrease to conserve energy. The bears can maintain this low energy sleeping state for days, weeks or even months without having much activity outside of their den, including eating and going to the bathroom.  Northwest Trek’s black bears, Benton and Fern, typically go into torpor from November until February or March. “Benton and Fern do have periods of activity during the winter months, where they will eat, go to the …

Sep 22, 2023

Fat Bear Week, October 4-October 10, is a celebration of success and survival, where brown bears in the Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska are matched against each other in a “march madness” style online voting competition to see who is crowned the Fat Bear Week Champion of 2023. No, it’s not fat shaming- it’s highlighting the resilience and adaptability of brown bears. The winner will be announced on Fat Bear Tuesday (Oct. 10). While the grizzly bears at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park aren’t in the competition, we think they’re worth celebrating, too. Huckleberry and Hawthorne, both five years old, …

Sep 22, 2023

It’s time for a new seasonal menu! A considerable part of a keeper’s job is preparing specialized, enriching diets for the animals in their care. For Northwest Trek grizzly bears, Hawthorne and Huckleberry, that means a whole new slate of delicious foods related to the season. “In the fall, we offer the grizzly boys butternut and acorn squash,” explained keeper Carly. “We also make a special trail mix, which includes sunflower and walnut seeds, peanuts, shredded coconut, raisins, dried dates, figs, plums, and cranberries.” But don’t worry- that’s not all. The five-year-old bears are preparing for their winter torpor naps …

Jul 20, 2023

To train any animal, you need their trust! A blood draw can be one of the most challenging behaviors – especially for a 478-pound bear – and one that has taken keeper Haley and black bear Benton nearly two months to achieve. When animals participate in their own healthcare, everyone wins! Watch as carnivore keeper Haley patiently works with 15-year-old Benton behind the scenes on blood draw training with a blunt syringe as a training device. Benton carefully presents his massive paw through a bear paw-sized opening in the training space as Haley coaches him and then uses tasty honey …

Jun 30, 2023

Black bears Fern and Benton are long-time residents of Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. And the veterinary teams at Northwest Trek and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium have a long-standing history of joining forces. So, when it was time for the bears’ triennial wellness exams, Northwest Trek head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case invited Zoo intern veterinarian Dr. Cassidy Soehnlein to participate. The Exams Routine wellness exams are a critical component of animal well-being. With regular check-ups, the veterinary staff (veterinarian) can monitor the health of Fern and Benton. They can also act quickly if any concerns arise. Both black bears received …

Oct 04, 2022

Fat Bear Week, October 5-October 11, is a celebration of success and survival, where brown bears in the Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska are matched against each other in a “march madness” style online voting competition to see who is crowned the Fat Bear Week Champion of 2022. No, it’s not fat shaming- it’s highlighting the resilience and adaptability of brown bears. Fat Bear Tuesday (Oct. 11) is when the winner is announced. While the grizzly bears at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park aren’t in the competition, we think they’re worth celebrating too. Huckleberry and Hawthorne, both 4 years …

Oct 04, 2022

Huckleberry, the 4-year-old grizzly bear, recently had an examination with his veterinarian and animal care team to perform an annual checkup on his right ankle. Keepers first noticed Huckleberry walking on his tippy toes and avoiding putting his heel on the ground in 2020. After a diagnostic exam, Northwest Trek’s head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case determined that Huckleberry had developed moderate arthritis in his ankle. Since then, he’s been treated with anti-inflammatory medications and joint supplements as needed. Dr. Case scheduled an annual examination to perform another in-depth check this fall to provide further treatment for the bear. “X-rays show …