‘It's for companionship and socialization for the animals'
A four-and-a-half-year-old male moose arrived at the Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park on Oct. 22. The park wanted to bring a second moose in after the arrival of a female back in May so the female was able to socialize and have a companion. Both moose came from the Calgary Zoo. Submitted photo
SHUBENACADIE - A four-and-a-half-year-old male moose is the latest addition to the Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park.
The moose arrived from the Calgary Zoo on Oct. 22, the same place the wildlife park's 13-year-old female moose called home before travelling to Nova Scotia in May.
Park manager Bert Vissers said having a second specimen allows for a more interactive lifestyle for the animals at the park.
"We prefer not to have any species by themselves," said Vissers. "It's for companionship and socialization for the animals. We don't want the animals to be isolated. We want them to be able to socialize with one of their own."
The two moose are familiar with each other from their days in Calgary.
"They had been together in Calgary, so there have no problems (with them socializing)," said Vissers.
There were no issues for the caretakers at the park when they wanted to bring in the second moose - the enclosure is big enough for two of the species.
"Two would be our limit, unless they have young. It's not something we would want to do on purpose, but if it happens naturally, we aren't going to stop it."
Since the moose arrived, Vissers said the park has received several positive comments. However, since the park is only open on the weekends in the fall and winter, not many people have seen him.
Because of the male's age, the moose is smaller than the female and currently doesn't have antlers.
"His antlers were removed for transportation for his safety," explained Vissers, adding the antlers will grow back.
"And by this time next year, hopefully he'll be a little bit heavier."
Along with the additional moose, visitors to the park may see changes to the moose enclosure, which is roughly two acres in size.
"The enclosure was relatively natural in the past, which everyone likes, but having access to fresh grasses isn't good for a moose's digestive system," said Vissers. "In the long term, there could be implications."
Vissers said part of the enclosure now has the ability to be mowed, which will keep the grass to a length of about three to four inches, which is too short for the moose to eat.
"It's good for the moose in the longterm," he said.
Another benefit to the changes to the enclosure comes to the public, in that the moose will be more visible to visitors.
If you go
Where: Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park
Hours: Weekends in the fall and winter from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (until May 16)
Animals: An estimated 100 animals; 45 species
Space: The park boasts of two kilometres of pathways as well as a picnic area, Ducks Unlimited building, playground, environment centre and more.
Age: The park is about 59 years old
Number of visitors a year: About 80,000
Prices: $4.25 per adult; $2 for children ages six to 17: children five years old and younger get in for free; family day pass costs $11.25.