The youngest European Elk (Moose in North America), at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich, was born on May 23.
This year every offspring born at Hellabrunn Zoo Munich will get a name starting with “Q”…so the new calf has been named Quanita. She is doing well and is under the great care of her mother Anita. Staff report that Quanita has also started to become more acquainted with her half-brother Quebec, who is one week older.
The Elk (Eurasia) or Moose (North America), Alces alces, is the largest extant species in the deer family. The palmate antlers of the males distinguish Elk/Moose; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic ("twig-like") configuration. They typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. The species used to have a much wider range but hunting and other human activities have greatly reduced it. Elk/Moose have been reintroduced to some of their former habitats. Currently, most are found in Canada, Alaska, New England, Scandinavia, Latvia, Estonia and Russia.
Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. Their most common predators are wolves, bears and humans. Unlike most other deer species, Elk/Moose are solitary animals and do not form herds. Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, they can become aggressive and move quickly if angered or startled. Their mating season in the autumn can lead to spectacular fights between males competing for a female.
On average, an adult stands 1.4–2.1 m (4.6–6.9 ft) high at the shoulder. Males (or "bulls") normally weigh from 380 to 700 kg (838 to 1,543 lb) and females (or "cows") typically weigh 200 to 490 kg (441 to 1,080 lb). The head-and-body length is 2.4–3.1 m (7.9–10.2 ft), with the vestigial tail adding only a further 5–12 cm (2.0–4.7 in). Typically, the antlers of a mature bull are between 1.2 m (3.9 ft) and 1.5 m (4.9 ft).
Female Elk/Moose have an eight-month gestation period, usually bearing one calf, or twins if food is plentiful, in May or June. Newborns have fur with a reddish hue, in contrast to the brown appearance of an adult. The young will stay with the mother until just before the next young are born. The average life span is about 15–25 years.