Black bears at Northwest Trek get names

For the first time in more than three decades, animals at the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park will get names.

The new policy starts with Benton and Fern, two black bears who arrived at the Eatonville park in May after spending most of their lives at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas.

“Northwest Trek’s primary missions are education and conservation and we believe the naming of some animals will strength the connection out visitors make with those animals,”deputy director Donna Powell said.

Records indicate the park hasn’t named its wild animals since the 1980s.

Staff members chose four sets of possible names for the black bears, who are brother and sister, and then put them online for a public vote.

Benton and Fern were the bears’ unofficial names in Kansas. The other options were Tahoma and Olympia; Sitka and Madrona; and Ridge and Meadow.

Visitors can find the bears in their 1-acre exhibit, where they spend time climbing trees, swimming in pools and exploring.