Staff at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are mourning the loss of two beloved moose, Nancy and Spruce, who died over the weekend at the Eatonville wildlife park.
“We have lost two much-loved members of our Northwest Trek family,” Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman said. “We have cared for Nancy and Spruce since they were calves and watched them grow up into big, majestic moose who’ve inspired and humbled us every day.”
While the two moose died within a day of each other, their histories and medical conditions were very different, said the wildlife park’s head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case.
Nancy, an elderly female moose orphaned as a calf, had been showing signs of partial blindness and advanced weight and muscle loss for some time, said Dr. Case. She also had been receiving intensive veterinary care and treatment for ongoing urinary tract issues.
“Nancy’s necropsy showed a football-sized tumor in her urinary bladder,” said Dr. Case. “I had long suspected that she had a urinary tumor or mass, but lab analyses from multiple health exams had not shown any cancer cells.”
Spruce, a 4-year-old male moose born at the wildlife park, had been eating well and had no underlying health conditions.
“Spruce’s necropsy showed a big, healthy bull moose in his prime who appears to have died from an acute systemic infection,” said Dr. Case.
Further results from the two comprehensive necropsies, or animal autopsies, are pending.
Nancy, who arrived at Northwest Trek in the summer of 2012 after being rescued as a calf in Alaska, was named in honor of the widow of longtime wildlife park deputy director Dave Ellis. Spruce, age 4, was just the second moose born at the wildlife park in the past 20 years. The median life expectancy for moose in human care is 6.1 years for males and 8.9 years for females.
“We are grateful that we were able to provide a second chance to Nancy and a wonderful home to Nancy and Spruce for many years,” said Deputy Director Rick Dietz.
Northwest Trek is home to two other moose: Aspen, 4, and Willow, 5.
“Moose are a signature species at Northwest Trek and we’re proud to offer our guests a chance to see them up close in their natural habitat,” Dietz said. “Our goal is to foster appreciation and awe for moose and other native Northwest species, which we hope will lead to conservation action to protect them in the wild.”