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

Playground reopens at Vernon’s Polson Park

No more standing water, park reopens just in time for summer’s end

New group home for Vernon

Howard House to be replaced by new development

Stolen vehicle recovered from site of Vernon manhunt for wanted man

Police return to Brooks Lane in response to reports of suspicious vehicle

Kelowna Liberal MLAs respond to ‘opportunistic’ snap election call

‘We have a fixed election date for a reason: so politicians like Mr. Horgan can’t try to arrange election dates when it suits political parties’

Kelowna filmmaker launches fundraiser for ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ fan movie

Donations will go towards the production of ‘The Sawyer Massacre’

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

16 COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health region

One person is in hospital and 34 people are isolating

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Truck, Shuswap police vehicle collide during arrest of wanted man

Emergency response team and helicopter called out to assist in Chase area arrest

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Shuswap search and rescue crew respond to dirt biker injured on Mount Ida

North Vancouver man transported to hospital for treatment of injuries

Popular South Okanagan cafe shuts its doors

Saint Germaine Cafe and Gallery served its last latte Sept. 19

Kelowna woman to run from Vernon to Penticton for mental health awareness

Melissa Gosse’s 100-kilometre ultramarathon will raise funds for Canadian Mental Health Association

Most Read