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Northwest Trek News
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 …

Oct 06, 2020

It’s true – bats have a bad rap. They’re best buddies with Dracula and have a cameo in “Macbeth.” They inspire spooky Halloween decorations. And if we’re not careful, we ourselves could become “batty.” They can carry viruses, including (most notably) the coronavirus that spread to humans from wildlife markets as Covid-19. But then there’s Batman. And those of us who know bats – like here at Northwest Trek and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – know that they truly are the superheroes of the night: zipping effortlessly in the dark using echolocation or cutting-edge wing design, munching their own …

Oct 01, 2020

To an outsider, it didn’t look unusual. As two keepers stood still inside the Forest & Wetlands habitat at Northwest Trek, they watched an old beaver slowly make his way into the pool. Sniffing everywhere, he walked slowly but steadily. Then he swam with front paws and whiskers outstretched to feel for the underwater entrance to his lodge before slipping inside. “There you go!” called one keeper encouragingly. R.B. Beaver, affectionately known as “Papa” for his role in the Northwest Trek beaver family, had just successfully shown that he could live a comfortable, capable life – without his eyesight. Eye …

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 …

Aug 12, 2020

Dust flying, shaggy heads butting, deep rumbles. Rut (breeding) season has begun with our bison! As bulls look to dominate the herd and attract the ladies, they roll and spar with each other, raising dust and making big vocalizations. Book a Wild Drive or Keeper Adventure Tour and get front-row seats to the most exciting time of year at Northwest Trek – and meanwhile, watch the video to get a taste of the action.  

Aug 06, 2020

Are you missing your family and friends? Do you want to wish them a socially distanced “Happy Birthday!” or “Congrats!”? Animal lovers can now share a special message with a wild touch, all from the comfort of your own couch! Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are now offering “Animal Shoutouts.” Anyone can send a customized video greeting to a friend or loved one, complete with a favorite animal. “Perhaps now, more than ever, we need opportunities for fun and positive connections with each other and with animals and nature,” said Conservation Engagement Curator Wendy Spaulding. …

Jul 30, 2020

I had my howls all ready to go. When Northwest Trek keepers agreed I could try playing some music to our gray wolves, I was stoked. I’m primarily a writer in our marketing department – I run our websites and write blog stories, emails and more. But I’m also a classically-trained musician and have, in the last few years, developed a unique voice improvising on double bass using a looping pedal to create my own harmonies. I especially love taking this music outside, incorporating natural sounds like whalesong and birdsong. Playing music for actual wolves took this to a whole …

Jul 21, 2020

We all love summer in the Pacific Northwest, but there’s no doubt that some days get pretty hot. Humans are pretty creative in finding ways to beat the heat – splashing, shade, cool clothes – and our Northwest Trek animals do it too! Grizzly bear Our grizzly “cubs” Huckleberry and Hawthorne just love the pool in their huge forested habitat. They plunge, paddle, splash and dive, playing underneath the waterfall and generally having a lot of fun! When the cubs were small, our maintenance staff put a false bottom in the pool to keep it safely shallow while they learned …