Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ken Kawata and friend.

Good afternoon:How insightful (as usual) of Fred that he knew photos are fake. Moose have never done well in captivity (that is, in North American zoos) and it appears one key factor is feeding. To comment on the Milwaukee herd as per Jim's request, I left there in 1987 so I have to rely on fading memory. I'll check with Bob Bullermann, a retired assistant director and Bess Frank, large mammal curator who just retired. The herd did well initially but feeding was expensive; the crew collected browse during summer and cold-stored them for winter. In other words moose thrived basically on browse, not the convenient, commercially and 'scientifically' prepared diet. Then came a research paper from game department in Alaska, which gave a recipe for special diet consisting of with one-fourth aspen sawdust. Again it's expensive but the herd thrived, then declined (current ISIS listing gives one pair in Milwaukee). If I remember correctly the reason was that they switched the feeding practice to commercial diet for farm animals (dairy cows). The philosophy behind this was that moose are ruminants, and all ruminants basically have the similar digestive system. I personally think such gross generalization is dangerous. All the best, Ken Kawata
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B.E.Trumble said...

A couple of elk breeders in Ontario have had a bit of success using diets based on the University of Alaska studies. Here's how one breeder describes the diet. "Strictly browsers. We chip branches of poplar,willow and dogwood , approx. 20lbs ea a day .This is mixed with 10 lbs of elk ration, haven't lost one yet"

Can you imagine telling the 24 hour man that you need poplar, willow, and dogwood branches every day? Do you get to scream when they bring maple, walnut, and conifer instead?