Northwest Trek has bear necessities
4:29 pm June 2nd, 2014
This male black bear was relocated last week to Northwest Trek after living most of its life in Kansas at Topeka Zoo, where lounging in a pool was one of its favorite pasttimes. (Courtesy photo)
Two new American black bears at Northwest Trek are described as frisky and lovers of fish and berries. One likes to climb trees, while the other seems content to stand against their trunks and scratch his back.
The 6-year-old siblings, a male and female, arrived at the wildlife park May 13 from Topeka Zoo in Kansas, where they’ve lived since they were cubs.
Following a settling-in period, the pair will move into their approximately one-acre exhibit, which features a seven-foot-deep pool.
There are now four bears living at the attraction near Eatonville. Northwest Trek also has two grizzly bears.
Visitors will be able to view the newly acquired black bears in a forested exhibit that Trek officials say is typical of native habitat for the species.
“These are the only American black bears in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoo in Washington,” said Donna Powell, Northwest Trek’s executive director.
Conservation education is at the core of Northwest Trek’s mission, and the wildlife park’s newest residents also will help zookeepers and naturalists inform the public about black bears, which are native to much of the United States and Canada, a spokeswoman said.
The black bears, who are brother and sister, were orphaned as cubs in Oregon and have lived at Topeka Zoo for most of their lives. They were visitor favorites there, with the female often running up to a 10-foot-high tree stump, leaping up and sitting on its top, Topeka zookeeper Jamie Petrie said.
The male bear was more inclined to spend the summer in his water pool, “just hanging out and swimming around in there,” Petrie said. “He also loves to stand up tall, rub up against trees and scratch his back.”
Both bears eagerly eat fish and berries and “absolutely love peanut butter,” Petrie said. “They’re very fun and active bears. I think they’re absolutely going to love their new home at Northwest Trek.”