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Northwest Trek News
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 …

Apr 28, 2022

If Dr. Karen Wolf needs another skilled set of hands for a polar bear procedure, she knows who to call. And if Dr. Allison Case has a beaver or owl that needs attention while she’s out of town, she has a second clinic just a van-trip away. The two women are head veterinarians of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, respectively – and these sister zoos have veterinary teams with a long tradition of helping each other. “People don’t realize there’s this crossover,” explains Dr. Wolf of the unique veterinary partnership. “I have absolute confidence that …

Apr 20, 2022

It’s spring cleaning season at Northwest Trek and our maintenance staff recently used their big lift to retrieve small tree limbs that had fallen on top of the netting of Eagle Passage, while pressure washing around the area, too. So our animal care and veterinary teams took advantage of the opportunity to give annual health exams to bald eagles Sequoia, Sucia, Salish and Cheveyo. All four rescued birds traveled to the onsite veterinary clinic where they got a massive “hug” from Keeper Wendi. Because it was not necessary to anesthetize the bald eagles during these exams, animal care and veterinary …

Feb 18, 2022

The word “enrichment” is said dozens of times a day around Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. As in, “we have the enrichment ready for the otters” or “Aspen the moose really seemed to enjoy her enrichment today” or “we need to create the beavers’ enrichment this afternoon.” Providing enriching experiences is a vital part of providing high-quality animal care at Northwest Trek- but what exactly is enrichment? “Enrichment items are things like food, smells or toys that enhance the health and well-being of the animals in our care,” said Haley, animal keeper and coordinator of the Behavioral Husbandry Committee at Northwest …

Jul 14, 2021

“I love working here. It’s a unique place, and I love the challenges that come with it.” – Dave, assistant curator and Free-Roaming Area keeper, Northwest Trek 8am Dave 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 …

Jul 08, 2021

“People think that being a zookeeper is just playing with animals all day long. Actually, it’s caring for them and making their lives meaningful. And getting visitors to connect with them. That’s amazing to do.” – Wendi, Forest+Wetlands keeper, Northwest Trek 7:30am Wendi arrives at Northwest Trek for the early shift. On this mid-summer morning it’s a fine time to be working outside in a forest, but in winter it’s dark, cold and frequently icy. But for Wendi, that’s all part of the job. As one of the keepers in the Forest/Wetlands habitat, she cares for otters, beavers, badgers, wolverines, …

Jul 02, 2021

“The reason I love it here is because we care for native wildlife. If you go hiking in the Northwest, you’ll never see a lion or zebra, but you might see elk or black bear. Teaching people how to live conflict-free with wildlife – that’s what’s so cool about this job.” – Haley, carnivore keeper, Northwest Trek 10:30am Haley’s hot and sweaty. She’s been whacking weeds in the wolf habitat for two and a half hours, and now it’s time to clean out grizzly bear dens. “We wear many hats,” she says with a small smile, of herself, fellow keeper …

Jun 29, 2021

Focusing intently, Jessica stares into the swirling depths of a big black water tank. Summer sun reflects off the surface, air bubbles stir up the mid-layer and the bottom is in deep shadow. On first glance it’s nearly impossible to see that the tank contains over 100 plump, wriggling tadpoles. But Jessica – an animal keeper at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park – suddenly dives her bare arm into the water with a small net scoop. “There you are!” she says, pleased, and gently deposits one tadpole into a shallow net pen floating at the surface. It’s vet check-up time for …

May 10, 2021

“It’s your turn tomorrow!” Northwest Trek head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case yelled to Hawthorn the grizzly bear. Hawthorn, out in his habitat, was peeking inside his den, curiously watching as keepers and veterinary staff circled around his buddy Huckleberry, who was laying anesthetized on the den floor ready for his wellness exam. There were only a few more nudges at the den door before Hawthorne was distracted by a tub filled with food and a big, berry-flavored popsicle left just for him. “I’m going to need a few people to help me move Huckleberry!” called out Dr. Case. Instead of …

Apr 20, 2021

If Dr. Karen Wolf needs another skilled set of hands for a walrus procedure, she knows who to call. And if Dr. Allison Case has a beaver or owl that needs attention while she’s out of town, she has a second clinic just a van-trip away. The two women are head veterinarians of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, respectively – and these sister zoos have veterinary teams with a long tradition of helping each other. “People don’t realize there’s this crossover,” explains Dr. Wolf of the unique veterinary partnership. “I have absolute confidence that if …