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Northwest Trek News
Mar 01, 2024

For many, it’s a late-winter hobby, but for the keepers in Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area, it’s just another part of their job: shed hunting. The bull (male) elk are beginning to drop their antlers—a yearly occurrence that happens a few months after breeding season due to a decrease in testosterone. “We’ve already seen some impressively large antlers drop,” said assistant curator Dave. When a bull elk drops its antlers, they immediately begin growing a new set. “Antler grows faster than any other bone,” said Dave. “During the summer months, bull elk antlers can grow up to ¾ …

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 …

Dec 14, 2023

Ride the Jeep to the elk rut action.
Members $110 / Non-Members: $125

Sep 13, 2023

Some people think springtime is their favorite time to visit the wildlife park to see baby animals. To others, summer is the best time: grizzly bears splashing around in pools and icy treats for everyone. And to others, winter offers a chance to see how animals adapt to colder temperatures and grow extra layers of fur. But to many, autumn is the most magical time: A palette of bronze sweeps the hillsides—golden light streams through the trees. Dust rises from animals, rolling and sparring. And through the forest comes an eerie, haunting whistle – the sound of elk bugling.   …

Aug 25, 2023

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 …

Jan 07, 2022

Ride the Jeep to the elk rut action.
Members $110/Non-Members: $125

Jan 06, 2022

Ride the Jeep to the elk rut action.
Members $110 / Non-Members: $125

Sep 01, 2021

Graceful arched antlers. Soft fuzzy velvet. And then – a touch of deep, blood-filled red. Welcome to the rut, that breeding season for animals like the bison, elk, caribou, bighorn sheep and deer that call our Free-Roaming Area home. If you know anything about rut, you’ll know that for Roosevelt elk and others in the deer family, it means sparring with huge antler clashes to vie for herd dominance. But there’s a less audible part of the rut that’s just as visually striking – and is essential to all that antler clashing. Losing velvet. Velvet (in animal terms) is the …

Jul 22, 2021

Zookeepers and the animals they love What’s the animal you feel most deeply inside? The one you connect with, love, relate to, share traits with? For National Zookeeper Week 2021, we asked our longest-tenured keepers that very same question. Then our incredible staff photographer Katie Cotterill took portraits of both keeper AND animal, superimposing them in her camera as a double-exposure shot. The results are magic. (Curious about how she did it? Scroll to the bottom to find out.) Deanna, with Ellinor the mountain goat   Miranda, with Ahma the wolverine   Wendi, with Yakima the golden eagle   Dave, …

Sep 24, 2020

Fall looks pretty much the same across the country: changing leaves, plaid or flannel clothing, pumpkin spice lattes (or pumpkin spiced everything), corn mazes and hay bales on doorsteps. But at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, there’s something else to add to the list that signals the change of the seasons: Roosevelt elk mating season, known as rut. On the first day of fall, a few park employees hopped into the Keeper Adventure Tour Jeep and headed out into the park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area to experience rut. It was a classic autumn morning in Western Washington, dark, drizzly, kind-of-cold but not-quite-freezing-cold …