2013-10-03 at 10:23
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An autopsy report shows a moose that died recently at the city-owned Chippewa Park zoo succumbed to liver failure.
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The post-mortem report, conducted by local veterinarian Dan Matyasovszky, shows the animal was adequately cared for, despite a public outcry in the weeks leading up to the moose’s Aug. 27 death suggesting it was malnourished and sickly.
“Moose are notoriously hard to care for in captivity,” Matyasovszky said in a release issued by the city on Thursday.
“They are susceptible to disease, and have specific dietary requirements that simply can’t be reproduced in the required amounts in a wildlife exhibit or zoo setting. Ninety per cent of moose die before the age of six when in captivity; 70 per cent die within their first year.”
The veterinarian said the moose, which arrived with a sibling after its mother was struck and killed by a vehicle, exhibited signs of poor body condition and loose manure, common among the captive moose population.
While elk, caribou and deer can survive on a diet of grass and grain, moose cannot, Mstyasovszky added.
A city official said the moose will be missed.
“We were very sad to see this animal pass away,” said Paul Fayrick, the city’s manager of its parks division. “It had been a staple of the Chippewa facility for many years, and our staff there cared about it a great deal.”
Fayrick said given the difficulties associated with keeping a moose in captivity, it’s unlikely the animal will be replaced at the zoo. He noted a more rigorous, monthly inspection program has been instituted at the zoo.
Previously vets were called in on an as-needed basis.
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