COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — An 8-week-old moose that was orphaned in Alaska is coming to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
The calf was orphaned at about six days old, when his mother was killed in a human-wildlife conflict outside of Anchorage, Alaska. He has since been in the care of the Alaska Zoo.
Two Cheyenne Mountain Zoo staff members are on their way to Alaska to bring the calf home. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they will share updates from their journey on the Zoo’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
The calf’s arrival comes only two months after the zoo lost its beloved 12-year-old Canada moose, Tahoma.
“People have seen an increase in activity in the moose yard, over the past several days, as we prep it for the calf’s arrival,” the zoo said in a statement. “Our guests have been really curious about the updates we’re making in the moose yard, so we’re excited to share this announcement. While we’ve been in the yard, ‘babyproofing,’ we’ve had some wonderful interactions with guests sharing condolences and stories of how Tahoma touched them. It’s clear that Tahoma’s legacy is in place. He touched a lot of hearts, young and old. This little guy has some big hooves to fill, but from what we hear from his keepers at Alaska Zoo, he’s up to the task.”
The zoo said the young calf wouldn’t have been able to survive in the wild without his mother, but did benefit from having his first few days of his mother’s milk. He is still being bottle-fed, which will continue until he’s about three months old.
“Tahoma weighed over 1,000 pounds and this little guy only weighs about 90 pounds, so there are several parts of the exhibit that could have been unsafe for him if we didn’t make changes,” the zoo said. “We hear from his Alaska Zoo keepers that he gets the ‘zoomies’ a lot, and he’s so small that he will likely be able to squeeze through or under some of the moose exhibit fencing, so we’ve been getting the exhibit ready for this young, inexperienced and excitable calf. We can’t wait to meet him.”
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of only eight accredited institutions in the U.S. to house moose.
“We’re super excited, but also kind of feel like new parents,” the zoo said. “When Tahoma came to us, he was about 10 months old, so this is the first time we’ve had such a young moose. We’re trying to be as prepared as possible. We have spoken with his keepers in Alaska and gotten great advice from other animal professionals who have cared for moose this young. But, we’ve also just accepted that this is going to be kind of a wild ride. He’s going to find some things to get into, and he may catch us off guard from time to time, but we’re also looking forward to watching him being a mischievous youngster. We have to channel our inner mama moose skills, and show him how to live his best life as an ambassador at CMZoo.”
The young moose has not yet been named. He will move into Rocky Mountain Wild’s moose exhibit when he arrives, and guests should be able to see him in the yard right away.