What’s in the Feed Station: Moose?

What’s in the Feed Station: Moose?

What’s in the Feed Station: Moose?

3:45 min Video –

Hello and welcome to the moose feeding station!
The feeding stations exist to make my job easier. Inside they have a big bag of pellets, a bale of hay, a bucket and scoop, a rake, a shovel, a pitchfork, a broom and a feeding chart.

The moose get 25 lbs of pellets a day as a supplement of vitamins and trace minerals in a form they like.  25 lbs may not sound like a lot for 4 moose, but there are lots of natural foraging opportunities in their habitat. In the wild, moose eat leaves, bark and twigs from trees and shrubs as well as aquatic plants. Our moose also have a bale of hay placed in the trees in the back corner of the 48.5 acre habitat and we give them browse, which are tree branches with lots of leaves. We also get produce from local grocery stores or other community members (things like lettuce and veggies) to feed the moose.

The tools in the feeding station are used to clean the area and also for protection. We never enter the moose habitat when they are nearby. It’s just too easy for something to go wrong, without the moose even meaning to hurt us. So when we feed them we take a tool with us. If the moose decide to come up too close, we can wave the rake and they perceive us as being larger than we are and hopefully they back off. If they are very hungry, and come towards us too close and too fast, we might be forced back into the feeding station. In that case, we can use the scoop to pour the pellets through the slat in the wall into the trough outside.
Each feeding station has a clipboard with a feeding chart. The feeding chart is a place for animal care staff to record information. Every day, we record the number of animals we saw, how much and what kind of food they got, and any comments or observations about the animals. If we ever go a couple days without seeing all the animals in a habitat, we let the veterinarian, Dr. Maria Hallock, know, and she will walk around the perimeter of the habitat to locate the animal or animals and make sure they’re ok.
As an example, there was one time last fall when I was feeding Watson his bottle of formula, with my animal care coworker and we noticed he had a patch of green and red on one of his “knees” and we were concerned he may have hurt himself. We sent a picture to the veterinarian, and tried to think of anything that could have caused the discolouration. We then remembered that we had fed him some produce that had beets, lettuce, and celery and he must have knelt in it, causing the staining on his knee. We all got a little chuckle out of it, and were relieved it was nothing serious.

Read Watson’s original story  and then watch the video of Watson taking the first steps to his larger habitat, after his initial rehabilitation.

Animal Care at Yukon Wildlife Preserve involves feeding, cleaning and diligent observations.  Thanks for joining me on this tour of the moose feeding station.

Banner photo credit Neil Zeller:  Watson gets curious and says hello through the slats in the Animal Feeding station.

Watch Bree explain how Yukon Wildlife Preserve feeds Wood Bison!

Learn as Dr. Maria Hallock provide hoof trims to Rocky Mountain Goats!

Bree Parker

Bree Parker

Animal Care Assistant

All animal lover to her very core! Bree has had a menagerie of pets over the years, including mice, crayfish and a hedgehog. After completing her Environmental Technician diploma at Seneca College, she realized her true calling was with animals, sending her back to Ontario this coming fall for University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus’s Veterinary Technology program. Bree is always eager to learn new facts about the animals at the Preserve that she can share with visitors.

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Red Fox in 360 Video

Red Fox in 360 Video

Red Fox in 360 Video

4.5 min video – watch in either English or French –

Wild and curious Red Foxes are a common sight in the Yukon. The natural adaptability and resourcefulness of this species makes them well-suited to coping with human presence, but sometimes they need us to remember that they are wild animals. To learn more, watch this curriculum based video for schoolkids of all ages and then check out our website!

Red Foxes are very curious and highly adaptable members of the Canid Family.  People often love to see foxes and enjoy being close to wildlife, but the temptation to feed them can cause problems.  Unlike the Red Fox in this photo who has been raised in human care, wild foxes can and should hunt their own food.  To make sure that wild foxes don’t come too close, we can keep things that attract them out of their reach. Keeping garbage, pet food, and anything that they might eat or steal kept safely out of the way is essential.

Les Renards roux sauvages et curieux sont communs à voir au Yukon. L’adaptabilité naturelle et l’ingéniosité de cette espèce les rendent bien adaptés à la présence humaine, mais il faut se rappeler qu’ils sont des animaux sauvages. Pour en apprendre plus sur les renards roux, regardez cette vidéo pour les étudiants – de toutes âges, et visitez notre site web!

Education Team

Education Team

This 360 video is brought to you by the hard work and creativity of the Education team at Yukon Wildlife Preserve.  French translation for 2020 has been provided by Anna Tölgyesi.

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Wildlife Q&A

Wildlife Q&A

Wildlife Q&A

5 Min Video – 

We love finding out what makes kids curious!  We asked kids to send us their video questions about the Preserve and Yukon’s wildlife.  Watch the video to hear YWP staff answer:

  1. Do Caribou go in big groups?  And if they do, how big of groups do they go in?
  2. How do mountain goats climb?
  3. Do bunnies only eat carrots or not?
  4. How can people help the wildlife preserve?

Are you a kid? Do you have questions about Yukon Wildlife Preserve or Yukon wildlife? Send your video question to us at info@yukonwildlife.ca. (Some help from parents may be required 😉 )

Jake Paleczny

Jake Paleczny

Executive Director

Jake Paleczny is passionate about interpretation and education. He gained his interpretative expertise from a decade of work in Ontario’s provincial parks in addition to a Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. His interests also extend into the artistic realm, with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Western Ontario and extensive experience in galleries and museums.

867-456-7313
jake@yukonwildlife.ca

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A Thinhorn Sheep’s Case for Eating your Greens

A Thinhorn Sheep’s Case for Eating your Greens

A Thinhorn Sheep’s Case for Eating your Greens

Did you know you can tell a Dall sheep’s age by their horns? There are dark brown grooves on the curl of the horn of a ram that are called anulis. If you count those grooves they will tell you how old he is. Actually, those grooves will tell you how many winters he’s been around.

Horns on a wild sheep and a sheep raised at the Wildlife Preserve both experience a stunted growth in the winter, but there are differences between the horns. One of the biggest reason for those differences is because wild sheep and Preserve sheep have different diets. Let’s take a closer look at some of those differences.

In Kluane National Park and Reserve where I have the privilege of working in the summers, there is a mountain called Sheep Mountain, home to 400 Dall sheep who spend their entire life on the mountain. Those wild sheep rely heavily on 20+ varieties of grasses and sedges making up 46% of their annual diet. They also eat several varieties of willows and sages, especially the pasture sage (artemisia frigida) which grows abundantly all over the mountain. Together sages and willows make up over 30% of their overall diet. In the summer, in addition to fresh grasses, sages and willow buds, the wild sheep feast on fresh alpine flowers, berries, lichens and horsetails, and they get the nutrients they need. In the winter though, their diets is drastically reduced to mostly dry grasses and sages. Because it takes a lot of energy to grow horns and the food is more scarce and less rich in nutrients during the hardest time of the year, sheep’s horns stop growing during the winter, leaving a deep dark grooves in the curl.

At the wildlife Preserve, sheep are fed pellets containing a special formula with many of the nutrients they need to be healthy, and this on a daily base. Sheep at the Preserve are also less vulnerable to disease as they are vaccinated and cared for when sick. Although the growth of the horns is diminished during the winter and the rings can still be observed, they are not as obvious and well defined as the rings on the horns of a wild sheep. Comparatively, the size of the horns of a wild ram is generally smaller than the size of the horns of a Preserve ram of the same age.

The structure of the horns is also a bit different. The horns on a sheep at the Preserve are a lot smoother than the horns of its wild relative. The wild sheep’s horns are quite bumpy and the color is somewhat darker. This is also due to the difference between their respective diets. The formula given to the sheep at the Preserve have certain minerals that alter the chemical composition of the horns.

Sheep Mountain has become a popular destination for many outdoors lovers looking for the challenge of a good hike up to the  ridge, both for the amazing scenery and for the hope of getting a closer view at the sheep in their natural habitat. As this hike is attracting more and more visitors, the staff is increasingly doing more education about approaching the sheep. Hikers are asked not to come within 50 meters of the sheep, even when they are lying down, and to travel below them whenever possible. The sheep get very nervous when they perceive a threat and their natural instincts is to run up hill.  A few years back I was observing a lone ewe (female sheep), when she suddenly started bolting upwards on the mountain. Not to far behind and above her, a black shape came running and cut her off. It was a wolf and it was all over in no time. Since dogs can very easily be mistaken for a wolf, it is imperative for dogs to be on leash at all time. When the sheep are laying down they are digesting their food which has to go through 4 different stomach chambers in order to absorb all the nutrients they need. It’s a harsh life up on the mountain and the sheep only have access to fresh nutritious foods for about 4 months out of the year. They need to eat all they can to make it through the next winter and if they are constantly being distracted and interrupted while eating or digesting, they are not getting the nutrients they need to fatten-up for the winter.

Of course here at the Preserve the sheep are well feed and don’t experience many of the stresses of their cousins of the wild, including the risk of starvation or the stress associated with predators looming or human–caused distractions.

In any case, the next time you come to visit us, take a closer look at the horns on one of our beautiful ram and see if you can spot some of those rings. Can you tell how old he is?

 

This article orgingally appeared in the Preserve Post Quarterly Newsletter in Winter 2015. 

Johanne Maisonneuve

Johanne Maisonneuve

Johanne joined the Wildlife Preserve in the Fall of 2014 as a wildlife Interpreter in the winter. In the summer she is a visitor attendant at Kluane National Park and Reserve. Passionate about the outdoors, she has spent a lot of her time learning about the ways of the land throughout the Yukon in the 40 years + she has lived in the territory. A cabin dweller at heart, she now enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with visitors from all over the world who come to visit the Wildlife Preserve. 

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