Moose Calf Born at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park | Visit Rainier

Moose Calf Born at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park


Male moose calf is the second birth in less than a year for 4-year-old mom Connie and dad Ellis

EATONVILLE, Wash. – Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s recent baby boom continued on Sunday with the birth of a male moose calf to 4-year-old mother Connie and father Ellis.

He is the second moose calf born at the wildlife park in the last 11 months and brings the number of moose in the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area at Northwest Trek to five.

His sister, Willow, is now nearly 11 months old. She was born on July 17, 2015, a wonderful gift on Northwest Trek’s 40th birthday.

Keeper Dave Meadows discovered the newborn calf Sunday morning, and careful observation of calf and mother led him to believe the little moose was born sometime after midnight. He appears to be healthy and is hungrily nursing, Meadows said.

“We are pleased to welcome another moose to our family of native Northwest animals,” Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman said. “This birth is particularly notable because both parents were abandoned orphans who were rescued in Idaho and brought to Northwest Trek as malnourished calves in need of special care. Their maturity into reproducing adults is one of the many conservation success stories at Northwest Trek.”

The birth brings the number of recently born animals at Northwest Trek to more than two dozen. In addition to the newborn moose, there are five bison calves, two elk calves, two bighorn sheep lambs, several deer fawns, and an uncounted number of goslings in the meadows and forests of the Free-Roaming Area.

In addition, two newborn woodland caribou calves are living behind the scenes until they’re big enough to live with the other animals in the huge roaming space.

Over in the wetlands area of the wildlife park, there are three newborn beaver kits. And last week, two 1-year-old North American river otters arrived from Zoo Montana. They’re sisters.

Moose are listed as a species of least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ Red List of Threatened Species, meaning their population is viewed as stable.

“Exhibiting animals like moose, which can grow up to 1,800 pounds and stand as tall as 71/2 feet helps our visitors connect more closely with all of the native animals at Northwest Trek,” Heinzman said. “Most people will never see a moose in the wild. We know many of our visitors come here specifically hoping to see members of our moose family. And when they come, in addition to seeing the animals, they learn about actions they can take to help conserve resources and more deeply appreciate all wild animals and wild places.”

Moose are the largest members of the deer family. Unlike some other ungulates (hoofed mammals), moose are solitary animals. One adult can consume up to 60 pounds of browse – leaves, bark and twigs – in a day.

The story of Connie and Ellis, the calves’ parents, is inspiring to many visitors, who eagerly board trams for tours of the Free-Roaming Area, excitedly hoping to spot a moose during the five-mile, 50-minute trip.

Connie, Ellis and a third adult moose, Nancy, were hand-reared by Northwest Trek keepers in the summer and fall of 2012 after arriving scraggly and hungry from Idaho and Alaska.

All were rescued by hunters and wildlife officials after being stranded. Ellis, named for longtime Northwest Trek Deputy Director Dave Ellis who died in 2012, was found abandoned in an Idaho stream by a hunter. He was dehydrated and malnourished. Connie, named to honor Northwest Trek co-founder Connie Hellyer, was discovered beneath an Idaho house, her mother nowhere to be found. Nancy, named for Dave Ellis’ wife, was orphaned in Alaska.

Idaho and Alaska officials participated in their initial rescue, then called on Northwest Trek to take the calves. The animals could not be released into the wild, so they found a home at the wildlife park. Keepers bottle fed them and gradually transitioned them to their diets of browse as they grew. Once big enough and strong enough to live on their own, they were released into the Free-Roaming Area.

Northwest Trek is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Every ticket to the wildlife parks comes with a tram tour of the Free-Roaming Area, which is home to herds of North American bison – the national mammal – and Roosevelt elk, plus bighorn sheep, moose, deer, woodland caribou and other animals.

Admission to Kids’ Trek, the brand new, $1.9 million nature-inspired playground, also is free with every ticket to Northwest Trek.

For more information, go to or

Northwest Trek, accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, is a 725-acre zoological park dedicated to conservation, education and recreation by displaying, interpreting and researching native Northwest wildlife and their natural habitats. The wildlife park is a facility of Metro Parks Tacoma and is located 35 miles southeast of Tacoma off State Highway 161.


ADDRESS: 11610 Trek Dr E, Eatonville, WA 98328
PHONE: (360) 832-6117

See Park Map | Kids’ Trek