Northwest Trek recently held a naming contest for their newest Moose calf. Members of the public cast 4,337 votes in a naming survey conducted over a couple of weeks. There were three ‘tree-name’ choices up for the vote: Spruce, Douglas and Ash. And the winner is…Spruce!
Spruce, born June 12, is the second Moose born at the wildlife park near Eatonville, Washington, in the last 16 years. (See our previous article: "New Moose Calf for Northwest Trek Wildlife Park")
Spruce’s big sister, Willow, arrived last July 17 – a surprise gift on Northwest Trek’s 40th birthday.
Many of Northwest Trek’s members, visitors and friends liked and commented on the naming survey on social media, giving their opinions on the choices submitted by keepers – and suggesting a few of their own. One comment, though, perfectly summed up what seemed to be the prevailing sentiment: “Awww Spruce the Moose would be adorable!” And, in fact, he is adorable.
Spruce spends his days hanging out with mother Connie, staying close but venturing out a little into the forest to munch on browse (twigs, leaves, tree branches). He also continues to nurse, and is growing quickly.
According to keepers, they just can’t haul a scale out into the woods, track down a moose and weigh him, so they have to estimate his weight. It’s approximately 50 pounds. (While nursing, a calf can gain up to three pounds a day.)
Spruce’s parents were named for Northwest Trek icons: Connie for the wildlife park’s co-founder, Connie Hellyer and his father, Ellis, was named for longtime wildlife park deputy director and conservationist, Dave Ellis. But in keeping with the wildlife park’s animal naming procedures that began a couple of years ago, Willow and the new calf will have identities that reflect the forests in which their species live.
Moose are the only residents of the wildlife park’s Free-Roaming Area that are given names.
Visitors aboard narrated tram tours of forests and meadows in the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area should keep sharp eyes out the windows, seeking a sighting of Northwest Trek’s five moose: adults Connie, Ellis, and Nancy and calves Willow and Spruce.
The area also is home to an American Bison herd that includes six calves born this spring; Woodland Caribou and Roosevelt Elk herds with two calves each; plus two lambs among the Bighorn Sheep population.
Meanwhile, over in Northwest Trek’s central area, where visitors walk along forested pathways to view a wide variety of animals, three Beaver kits born on May 5 are growing quickly, too, becoming accomplished swimmers and spending time in their den with their parents.
Visitors can look for the Beaver kits on exhibit in the Wetlands area of the wildlife park. The Wetlands also are home to an energetic pair of 1-year-old North American River Otters who arrived at Northwest Trek last month. There’s a new Skunk on exhibit, too, along with a Badger, Wolverine and other animals.
Along other pathways, visitors come upon exhibits holding two young Black Bears, a Grizzly Bear, a family of Wolves, Red Foxes, a Cougar, Coyotes, Canada Lynx, Bobcats and other animals.
The wildlife park is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6p.m. daily.