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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Doctor visit:  Mountain Goats!

Doctor visit: Mountain Goats!

Doctor visit: Mountain Goats!

8 min read – 

During daily rounds to check on the health of the residents, Animal Care staff notice that the eldest male goat, Geronimo, appears to have a cracked hoof. Staff veterinarian Dr. Maria Hallock is concerned he may have cracked it close to the blood supply. This leaves him open to the possibility of an infection, which is more likely with spring weather – melting snow and lots of mud.

The wildlife residents at Yukon Wildlife Preserve are not trained. This keeps them as wild as possible, but it does make medical procedures an interesting challenge. Most medical procedures are performed under general anesthesia to minimize stress to the animal as well as to ensure safety of the staff handling the animal. While some animals are cooperative enough to receive their sedative medication via hand injection, most of them require a distance delivery of the drug via various equipment such as jabpole, blowpipe and dartgun.

Randy, Director of Operations, uses a dartgun for distance delivery of sedative drugs to the young male, or billy, goat. 

The team gathers… but the mountain goats are not interested in participating. So, the team gathers the following day, to try again. Geronimo is successfully sedated – but here’s the thing about mountain goat personalities – their tolerance to their peers showing vulnerability is low to none. If a rival shows weakness, the other goats will come in to finish him off with his very sharp horns. Given the situation and the close proximity of a second male, or billy, there is a great safety concern to Geronimo during his recovery period. Therefore, Dr. Maria decides to use this opportunity to sedate and trim the younger billy’s hooves, as well as clean up any winter hoof overgrowth.
Hooves and horns are composed of keratin – the same protein as hair and nails. Just like in the wild, Rocky Mountain Goats at Yukon Wildlife Preserve will wear down their hooves by walking on the rocks in preferred cliff habitat. During winter, with snow covering the cliffs, it is more challenging for the goats to wear down their own hooves. Even so, not all the resident goats will require hoof trims, but some individuals do – things like older age, genetics and nutrition all contribute.

Hooves and nails are both composed of the same protein, keratin.  Trimming hooves is not unlike humans trimming their fingernails, or taking their pet dog to the vet for a nail trim. 

Dr. Maria and Randy begin trimming hooves, Julie monitors Geronimo’s health while under general anesthetic as Ensio records times and values such as heart rate. 

Once the goats are sedated, we cover their eyes so they won’t be stimulated by light, and team members start taking and recording vital signs – heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature, to name a few. Since Geronimo is an older goat, he is also put on intranasal oxygen throughout the procedure. Dr. Maria and Randy get busy trimming the hooves, to make the procedure as quick and safe as possible, so we can wake the goats up, as soon as we can.

The eldest billy, Geronimo, receives intranasal oxygen. During the procedure to trim his cracked hoof, his eyes are covered to avoid stimulating him.  Here, Julie monitors vital signs such as heart rate, breathing rate and temperature as Dr. Maria works to quickly trim hooves.

We are happy to report that although Geronimo had indeed cracked his hoof, the crack did not communicate with the blood supply, so he’s at less risk of an infection from his hoof. Essentially…. he had a broken fingernail…

Geronimo’s hoof after being trimmed.  The right toe was trimmed bluntly due to the crack in the hoof.  The left toe is the “normal” shape after trimming 

Both billy goats are woken up from sedation at the same time – we don’t want to risk any fighting of a rival!  In order to wake the goats up, they are given injections of sedative reversals.

Julie injects sedative reversal intramuscularly.

The time is noted and recorded so we know when to expect Geronimo to waken.  

Veterinary medical costs quickly add up. Even this simple, fast procedure cost $60 per goat for anesthetic drugs, antibiotics and pain control. Hidden costs include expertise, labour and supplies such as syringe and needles.  

We also administer an injection of antibiotics which will last for 3 days, to mitigate any potential infection arising from either hoof injury or the drug injection site.  Within minutes of waking up, both goats are heading their own way, to get back to the normal routine of being Rocky Mountain Goats.

Photo and Video Credit: L. Caskenette

Julie Kerr

Julie Kerr

Visitor Services Coordinator

Julie is a Registered Veterinary Technologist, living and working in Whitehorse since 2012. She joined the team in May 2018. She is passionate about wildlife, nature and living in a conscious manner with both. Her free time is spent outdoors observing wild animals and ecosystems; her connection to the natural world around her brings great joy – joy she loves to share with anyone interested. Honestly? Work and life blend rather seamlessly.

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Covid-19 Closure

Covid-19 Closure

Covid-19 Closure

I am sorry to announce that the Yukon Wildlife Preserve will close to the public. This closure is effective immediately. I’m expecting this closure to be at least to the end of April.

We felt that staying open was no longer compatible with the current recommendations. After all, the Preserve is a popular social destination – as much as it is one of solitude and reprieve.

We also have more than 200 animals that depend on us. We have a heightened responsibility to protect the well-being of our staff. As a result we have also taken steps to cross-train and compartmentalize our work force.

We did not make this decision lightly. Gift shop and ticket sales are an important part of the Preserve’s operations. Like many other organizations, this decision to close impacted the well-being of some of our staff. And it still has the potential to have more grave impacts on the future of the Preserve. While we have closed to the public, much of our operation must continue. The animals still need to eat! I know there’s a lot of need in the world right now. If you are in a position to support our non-profit, charitable organization, visit yukonwildlife.ca/support.

I know the Preserve is an important part of many people’s healthy outdoor lifestyle. We’ve heard so many positive comments – appreciative that we remained open – over the last days and weeks. It is more important than ever to stay healthy. Closing is a difficult, but necessary step that I hope will get us back to doing what we do best – as soon as possible.

My sincere thanks for your understanding and continued support.

Sincerely, 

Jake Paleczny
Executive Director 

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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