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

UPDATE: North Island Green Party nomination still to be determined

Moen says all issues should be viewed through environmental lens

COVID-19 has caused many changes for Port Hardy Fire Rescue so far this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue’s first and second quarterly reports for 2020 were reviewed by council.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

NDP candidate Babchuk a fixture in local politics since 2005

School trustee, city councillor and regional district chair sets sights on being North Island MLA

Sointula elementary school gets funding for new playground

Funding for the new playground comes from the provincial government’s Playground Equipment Program.

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

Most Read