VIDEO: Oakleaf the moose, 8, euthanized at Greater Vancouver Zoo

A concerned visitor published photos of the ‘emaciated’ animal to social media on Monday

Oakleaf, a moose at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, has been euthanized after staff determined the animal’s health was deteriorating beyond any effective treatment.

The moose’s death comes after a Langley mother had taken to social media on Monday, claiming to have witnessed the “disturbing” sight of the “emaciated” animal during a trip to the zoo with her two children.

“Am I the only person out there who thinks this is unacceptable?” Shannon Marcoux posted publicly to Facebook, along two photos that were widely circulated of the animal standing in her enclosure with its rib cage visible.

Dr. Bruce Burton, veterinarian at the zoo, said Oakleaf seemed to be in reasonably good health up until last winter, when the keeper noticed a bit of hair loss.

”Unfortunately, when you get a single picture of something – an impression of it – you don’t hear what’s been going on behind the scenes,” he explained. “There’s been ongoing monitoring of quality of life issues, how well they are moving around, whether they are eating or not eating, and whether they seem to be alert of their surroundings.”

The eight year-old animal was just two at the time she came to the zoo in 2015 – living to the median life expectancy of her species.

A thorough examination while trimming the animal’s feet in December led to Burton and the team noticing leg issues and teeth problems, which he felt was contributing to weight loss and lose stool.

“We modified the diet several times, but still there was lose stool,” Burton explained. “We tried to get in better condition, which didn’t improve, so I looked at her again and that’s when I decided it was time to say goodbye.”

Burton made the decision to euthanize the animal on Wednesday, July 22 – two day’s after Marcoux’s picture had been posted online.

“My weekly visits are on Wednesday,” Burton stated. “The previous Wednesday we were thinking of something along these lines – that was before I knew anything about the photograph.”

The vet noted that there was no issues or complaints brought up to him before and that we was basing his decision on what he was seeing on the animal, and not based on what was happening on social media.

“We didn’t want to put her through any more procedures and tried every option we could think of,” Burton assured.

He also noted that Oakleaf’s condition had drastically changed since the Monday that the photo was taken.

READ MORE: Photos of ‘emaciated’ senior moose at Greater Vancouver Zoo spark call to SPCA

Peter Fricker, a Vancouver Humane Society spokesperson, called the photos of the moose very disturbing.

“Equally troubling are allegations that animals at the zoo have not been receiving adequate care and that a number have recently died,” Fricker said.

The zoo, in Aldergrove, has a history of being criticized for how it cares for its animals dating back to 2005, when the first of several large species of animals died – for reasons other than old age – in its care.

Fricker added the allegations should be investigated by the BC SPCA using independent veterinary experts rather than veterinarians paid by the zoo.

Questions have risen from both the public and organizations like the Vancouver Humane Society on why there was no sign or notice at the animal’s enclosure, explaining any notable health condition.

General Manager Serge Lussier said he has confidence in Burton’s decisions, but if he were to do it differently, he said he would have put a sign notifying the public of the animal’s health condition.

“If unfortunate situations like this do arise again, we will put a sign,” Lussier said.

The relatively new general manager, having taking over the reins of the zoo for just under one year, said plans for a Canadian Safari Park featuring mainly B.C. animals is underway.

They have not yet decided yet if another moose will be included in the enclosure.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Aldergroveanimal welfare

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Cheri Mactier celebrates 20 years in Ladysmith real estate

After 20 years in town, Mactier’s daughter, Brianne Mactier is joining the family business

Exhibit showcases one side of artist’s wide-ranging personality

Skagfeld takes something from all of her life experiences

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

First downtown parklet patio installed on 1st Avenue

Social distancing regulations will determine the total seat count

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Man accused of killing Red Deer doctor says he does not remember attack

Appearing before a judge, Deng Mabiour, 54, rambled about being sick and needing a doctor

Teen killer Kelly Ellard gets day parole extension, allowing up to 5 days at home

Ellard is serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk

Andrew Scheer likely marking last day in House of Commons as Opposition leader

Today’s Commons sitting is one of two scheduled for August

Most Read