Moose Named Strawberry Found Orphaned in Alaska Moves to New Home at the Columbus Zoo

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Orphaned Moose Calf Welcomed Into Her New Home at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Orphaned Moose Calf Welcomed Into Her New Home at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Columbus Zoo

A moose has found a new home at a zoo in Ohio, thousands of miles away from her birthplace in Alaska.

In a statement Thursday, the Columbus Zoo said that a female moose named Strawberry had been brought to the facility on Oct. 12 after she was found roaming alone in Anchorage on Strawberry Road — the inspiration for her name — three months prior.

The Columbus Zoo estimates that the Alaskan moose was four to six months old, about 390 pounds, and over five feet tall when she first arrived at her new home.

Locals around Strawberry had grown familiar with the calf and her mother before Strawberry was spotted alone in June, according to the Columbus Zoo. After two days of observation, authorities took Strawberry to the Alaska Zoo.

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But the Alaska Zoo was unable to permanently care for Strawberry, with several orphaned moose and two adult bull moose already in their custody. So, they worked with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find the calf a new place to call home, which led Strawberry to Ohio.

Strawberry has yet to meet the Columbus Zoo's other female moose, Bertha, because she is undergoing quarantine following her arrival, per the zoo. Bertha is also an Alaska transplant; she briefly lived at the Alaska Zoo when she was three months old after a brown bear killed her mother.

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Dr. Jan Ramer, senior vice president of animal care and conservation at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, said the two moose are receiving "exceptional care."

"These two moose certainly had a challenging start in life. While we wish that nothing had happened to their mothers, we are proud to be able to provide them with the second chance that they deserve, while also inspiring our guests to learn more about this important North American species," said Ramer.

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The zoo says Strawberry "is eating well and gaining weight" following her arrival. Keepers feed her with a bottle in the morning before the young moose moves on to "grain and browse" for the remainder of each day.

Alaskan moose are considered the largest deer in the world by mass, according to the zoo. When full-grown, the animal can reach up to six feet from hoof to shoulder and weigh more than 1,000 lbs.

Moose populations have been on the decline due to several factors, from local threats, like motor vehicles and habitat degradation, to climate change and disease.