Rescued critters have their coming out ‘parties’
Foxes and moose now can be seen at Northwest Trek
A young female moose munches on foliage near the Baker Research Cabin, just yards away from a group of curious children.
An 8-month-old fox kit skitters across the forest floor, its long bushy tail flowing behind it. The fox pauses, looks at onlookers, and dashes into a clump of bushes. Its four siblings huddle nearby.
The young moose and fox kits are the newest animals on exhibit at Northwest Trek. All were orphaned and rescued by wildlife officials. They’ve been behind the scenes while they grew and exhibit spaces were readied for them.
Northwest Trek officials say moose long have been part of the animal landscape at the wildlife park near Eatonville, and often are sighted in the 435-acre free-roaming area by visitors on tram tours of the grounds. Now, there is a moose in the center section, just a short walk from the main entrance. Moose sightings are never guaranteed – the animals are sometimes hidden in the foliage – but there’s a good chance of spotting this particular female from the railing looking into her new surroundings.
Now about 18 months old, the moose arrived at Northwest Trek in the summer of 2012 after she was found abandoned under a house in Idaho. She required extra care and was kept away from public view while zoological staff worked on an appropriate space for her.
She was one of three orphaned moose brought to the wildlife park that year. The other two, a male from Idaho and a female from Alaska, were released in the free-roaming area in April.
The five fox kits – three males and two females – arrived at Northwest Trek in May following their rescue by wildlife officials in Idaho. They were orphaned after a rancher shot and killed their mother as she was stealing chickens near Rexburg, Idaho. The rancher didn’t know about the kits (or pups) until later. He cooperated in their rescue, in which Idaho wildlife authorities freed them from a 40-foot-long irrigation pipe in which they were hiding, officials said.
Northwest Trek’s zoological curator, Heidi Hellmuth, said the “stories of these animals, and the wild counterparts that they represent, fit nicely into our conservation mission.”
The 725-acre wildlife park, a facility of Metro Parks Tacoma, is home to native Northwest wildlife in their natural habitats.