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Northwest Trek News
Dec 30, 2020

Everyone agrees: 2020 was a really tough year. Covid-19 turned our world upside down, and many of us knew loss. Our Zoo/Northwest Trek had to close for months, and reopen with completely new ways of doing everything. Like so many, we lost money, and had to say goodbye to many staff members. We lost beloved animals to old age and illness. But to counter these very real sorrows, we had many joys, like connecting people safely with each other, animals and nature. Welcoming new animals into the world. Healing others from sickness. Winning Association of Zoos & Aquariums awards for …

Dec 30, 2020

What a year this has been! From closing to opening, new Wild Drive to baby animals, we’ve had plenty of ups and downs. Here’s 2020, seen in our best photos.

Dec 16, 2020

Reindeer tend to steal the spotlight in December, but this year it’s their close relative, the caribou, that are turning heads at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. For the first time ever, the caribou are staying out in the park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area during the fall and winter months. In past years, the caribou were separated from the other animals in their own 15-acre forested enclosure during the fall and winter. “That’s the time of year when rut, also known as breeding season, can cause the larger and stronger elk to be more aggressive,” said Keeper Dave Meadows. “So we’d move …

Nov 23, 2020

Just as humans get excited for a full plate of food- so do animals. Some of Northwest Trek’s woodlands and wetland animals were recently given their own Thanksgiving feast. Their dinner plate: a cornucopia. Skunk Skunks are omnivores and eat a variety of foods seasonally, including vegetable material and up to their weight in insects every week. For Milton the skunk’s feast, keeper Wendi Mello gave him a mixture of blueberries, pears, yams, omnivore and insectivore chow and a handful of mealworms. Mealworms are his favorite food, said Mello. She added that Milton also likes cranberries (how festive!) and eats …

Nov 19, 2020

The black bears at Northwest Trek are slowing down and getting ready 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. They do have periods of activity during the winter months, where they will eat, defecate/urinate and remake their …

Nov 10, 2020

Brrr! You can feel the chill in the air as the temperature drops. You’re likely pulling out your winter coats, if you haven’t already! Many of the animals at the wildlife park also have their winter coats ready and are well-prepared for the colder weather. You know that wildly famous Frozen song “Let it Go”? “The cold never bothered me anyway”- it’s definitely the theme song of these animals. Wolverines Wolverines are made for the cold- and our wolverines Rainier and Ahma are no exception. Wolverines are well-adapted for winter living, with extremely dense fur, large snowshoe-like paws that allow …

Oct 29, 2020

There’s a new cat in town! Northwest Trek is now home to Tahoma, a 4-year-old male bobcat. Tahoma was raised as a pet until recently. Bobcats are illegal to own as pets in Washington State, and his owner was forced to surrender him. Tahoma joins the wildlife park’s resident male bobcat, 8-year-old Tanner, who was also raised by humans before coming to Northwest Trek. Because of the cats’ comfortability around people, they both are not able to be released back into the wild. “Bobcats are wild animals, and wild animals don’t make good pets. It takes generations of careful breeding …

Oct 13, 2020

Black cats, pumpkins, ghosts… skulls and skeletons. They’re all symbols of the Halloween season. We asked Northwest Trek’s Head Veterinarian, Dr. Allison Case, to give us an “inside” look at a few of the wildlife park’s animals and their not-so-spooky skeletons. Dr. Case regularly takes radiographs or X-rays of the animals to check on their health and care for them. Tolmie the Porcupine There’s a lot more under the prickly surface of a porcupine’s quills that you can see in an X-ray. “During a routine wellness exam, I’ll look at the animal’s joints, shape of the heart, liver and intestines …

Oct 08, 2020

Once upon a time there were two wolf species: red wolves and gray wolves. Neither of them were “big and bad,” but they were often feared by humans. Over time, more and more were hunted. By 1940 gray wolves were decimated in the American wild and by the 1970s, so were red wolves. It was time for the story’s hero to step in. “Humans have a long history of blaming predators for problems, like wolves and grizzly bears,” says Marc Heinzman, zoological curator at Northwest Trek. “But scientific data shows that’s just not true in all cases.” While it’s true …

Oct 06, 2020

Staff at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are mourning the loss of two beloved moose, Nancy and Spruce, who died over the weekend at the Eatonville wildlife park. “We have lost two much-loved members of our Northwest Trek family,” Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman said. “We have cared for Nancy and Spruce since they were calves and watched them grow up into big, majestic moose who’ve inspired and humbled us every day.” While the two moose died within a day of each other, their histories and medical conditions were very different, said the wildlife park’s head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case. Nancy, an …