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

Morning Start: A Texas law allows astronauts to vote from space

Your morning start for Friday, August 14, 2020

Invasive mussel monitoring stations detect 10 boats

Boats were headed to Okanagan and Thompson regions

COVID-19 outbreak at Okanagan Correctional Centre, involves 3 staff

Three staff involved in possible exposure, health officials say

Roots and Blues festival to kick off virtually on Friday

Watch the festival on Black Press Media website platforms, for free

Morning Start: The first vending machines dispensed holy water

Your morning start for Thursday, August 13, 2020

STANDING TALL: Forestry workers meet the challenges, remain hopeful

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Parkinson SuperWalk goes virtual throughout B.C. due to COVID-19

People encouraged to walk around their neighbourhood, along community trails, through parks, forests

87-year-old Salmon Arm woman sinks hole-in-one

The Aug. 12 ace is Helen Bobbitt’s fourth.

COVID-19 exposure on WestJet flight to Kelowna

Those in WestJet flight 461 from Calgary to Kelowna were possibly exposed

Missed rent payments ‘cause of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due.

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

WE Charity registers as lobbyist, lays off staff, looking to sell real estate

WE Charity said its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Piano set up in Penticton downtown

Initiative an effort to bring music and creativity to the streets

Most Read