At 4-months-old, Willow the Moose calf is growing fast. Keepers at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, near Eatonville, Washington, estimate she weighs between 120 and 130 pounds. Her legs are still long and spindly, but her body is filling out.
Willow is nearly weaned from her mother’s milk and is growing more independent each day.
She moves farther away from mom, Connie, in search of the foliage that makes up the bulk of her herbivore diet. She also has a hearty appreciation for the grain that keepers leave out to supplement the browse (branches and leaves) moose like to munch on.
She still has a quite a bit of growing to do. An adult female moose can weigh around 800 pounds.
The young moose was a most special surprise for Northwest Trek staff in 2015. She was born on July 17, the wildlife park’s 40th birthday. ZooBorns shared news of her birth in an article from early September: "First Moose Born in Fifteen Years at Northwest Trek"
Photo Credits: Ingrid Barrentine / Northwest Trek
Willow’s name was chosen by members of the public who gave it the most votes from a slate of prospective names selected by wildlife park keepers.
Every visit to Northwest Trek includes a 50-minute, narrated tour of the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area, which is home to Willow and her mom, Connie; two other moose, Ellis and Nancy; plus herds of American bison and majestic Roosevelt Elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, a pair of trumpeter swans and other animals.
In addition to the chance to see Willow during the tram tour of the Free-Roaming Area, visitors also can walk forested pathways past natural exhibits with many other native Northwest animals, including black and grizzly bears, wolves, foxes, Canada lynx, bobcats, beavers, river otters, owls – and, fittingly this week, a turkey vulture.
She is tough and resilient and as beautiful as an integral piece of the Northwest landscape. So it’s not surprising that members of the public picked "Willow" as the name for Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s 7-week-old moose calf.
Photo Credits: Oona Copperhill/Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
Willow is the first moose born at the 725-acre wildlife park near Eatonville, Washington, in 15 years, and she arrived as a very special delivery on July 17 – Northwest Trek’s 40th birthday.
Staff members nominated three Northwest-themed names for the calf: Willow, Lily and Aspen. The public chose Willow through voting in an online survey over the last month.
Willow’s mother, Connie, was named in honor of Northwest Trek co-founder Connie Hellyer. Her father, Ellis, was named in memory of Dave Ellis, a longtime deputy director of the wildlife park.
One other adult moose, Nancy, also wanders the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area at Northwest Trek. The moose are often visible to members of the public as visitors ride trams for a narrated tour of the forests and meadows.
Anyone visiting Northwest Trek is up for a possible peek at the moose family, as well as up-close views of other animals in the Free-Roaming Area, which is home to American bison, Roosevelt elk, deer, and bighorn sheep. And, of course, there also are black and grizzly bears, gray wolves, foxes, Canada lynx, bobcats, coyotes, a cougar, beavers, a river otter, fishers, badgers, skunks, raccoons, owls and other animals in natural exhibits along paved pathways in the main area of the wildlife park.
In the Free-Roaming Area, Willow continues to thrive, Northwest Trek Deputy Director Alan Varsik said, “She is still nursing and also sampling browse, such as willow and maple cuttings, and she’s starting to show a little more independence,” he said. “Connie is taking the occasional time out, where she leaves Willow for a brief period of time. Under the watchful eye of Connie, Willow has also had positive encounters with our other moose.”
The moose (alces alces) is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males. They typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. Unlike most other deer species, moose prefer to be solitary and do not form herds.
Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, moose can become aggressive and move surprisingly quickly if angered or startled. Their mating season in the autumn can lead to spectacular fights between rivaling males.
The moose is a herbivore and is capable of consuming many types of plant or fruit. Much of a moose’s energy is derived from terrestrial vegetation, mainly consisting of forbs and other non-grasses, and fresh shoots from trees such as willow and birch.
Moose lack upper front teeth, but they have eight sharp incisors on the lower jaw. They also have a tough tongue, lips and gums, which aid in the eating of woody vegetation. A moose’s upper lip is also very sensitive, to help distinguish between fresh shoots and harder twigs. Their lip is also prehensile, for grasping their food.
Moose are excellent swimmers and are known to wade in search of aquatic plants. Moose are known to dive underwater, as well, to reach plants on lake bottoms. Their complex snout allows such a feat; it is equipped with fatty pads and muscles that close the nostrils when exposed to water pressure.
Although moose rarely gather in groups, there may be several in close proximity during the mating season (September and October). Females have an eight-month gestation period, usually bearing one calf. Newborn moose have fur with a reddish hue, which is a contrast to the brown appearance of an adult. The young will stay with the mother until just before the next young are born. The life span of an average moose is about 15-25 years.
Guess what's new at Tierpark Hellabrunn? They have overly-long legs, uncertain movements, ears that seem way too big and fuzzy muzzles. If you guessed Moose you guessed right! Known in Europe as Eurasian Elk, the majesty of the animals they’ll grow into, especially the bulls with their impressive antlers, is hard to see right now. However these three little Moose calves, born at the end of May at Munich Zoo, are real attention grabbers.
After a pregnancy lasting approximately seven and a half months, Anita, a three-year-old cow, gave birth to a healthy girl called Madita on May 21. Two days later, on May 23, another cow, Merle, also age three, gave birth to twin calves in an unproblematic nighttime delivery. The male has been named Merlin and the female, Meli. The proud father of the trio is Josef, a three-year-old bull born in Bavaria.
Moose are native to North America, Europe and Asia. Their habitat is mountain meadows and forests. Moose are herbivores and live on a diet of grass, plants, bushes and saplings. Hellabrunn’s herd now comprises seven animals: Josef, Merle, Anita, Frieda (aged 2) and these three new calves.
The Potzberg Wildpark in Germany has welcomed not one but two baby Moose. The first was born on May 14 to 8-year-old mother Sophie and 4-year-old father Konstantin. This the second baby for Sophie. Her first was born in 2007 to a much older father who has since passed away. That baby had to be hand-reared, because at the time, Sophie didn't nurse him.
Though the Wildpark got a new male, he was too young to breed. Last year keepers hoped that he was old enough, but were not sure if Sophie was pregnant. With their gestation time being 242 to 264 days, all had to wait and see. As the keepers were on their morning routine in mid-May, they were thrilled to spot the new baby -- and this time Sophie accepted and nursed him right away. She's also been very protective; for the first two weeks she didn't allow any other of the moose near. Exactly three weeks later, on June 8, a second moose was born to 3-year-old Mom Finja. It was a big surprise for the keepers, because she's still quite young to be a mother. The baby is also a male and is in good health.
As it ends up, Konstantin did a great job. The only thing missing now are names for the two little boys. The newborns are a great and needed addition to widen the gene pool of the Eurasian moose, who is locally endangered in the wild due to hunting and the destruction of their natural habitat.
Three orphaned Alaskan moose calves have a new home at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. One male and one female are twins born on May 17, 2011; the other female was born Jun. 3, 2011. The calves were rescued by Alaska Department of Fish and Game and taken to the Alaska Zoo where they were cared for until they were transported to the Columbus Zoo on Jul. 12, 2011. The calves are currently being bottle-fed and will join the Zoo’s other moose in the future.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Director Emeritus Jack Hanna spent time with them at the Alaska Zoo when they were just a few weeks old. Jack said, “We’re excited to assist in saving these moose and to bring them to central Ohio.”
“We will provide a great home for these calves and ensure our supporters will be able to see and learn about moose for many more years,” added Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President and CEO Dale Schmidt.