The NEW Zoo & Adventure Park is heartbroken to report the passing of a special member of our zoo family: Matilda the moose. Matilda had been closely monitored and under veterinary care for age-related conditions, such as arthritis, for the past several years. Last week, her health seemed to decline rapidly. Despite zookeeping and veterinary staff making quick adjustments to her medications, her quality of life did not quickly improve. After a slip and fall in the wet, heavy snow on the morning of January 19th, the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize Matilda. Her long-time, trusted caretaker was by her side.
Matilda had been a guest favorite at the NEW Zoo since December of 2010, when she arrived as an adorable, seven-month-old calf. At over 12 ½ years of age, she was one of the older moose in human care; typical life expectancy of a cow moose is closer to 8 years old. Though she was sometimes difficult to spot in her lush, wooded habitat near the Riley Building, Matilda was a highlight of many guests’ visits – some even traveling from across the country to see her! The NEW Zoo is one of very few AZA accredited zoos in the country to house moose, a unique and sometimes elusive animal to spot in the wild.
Matilda’s last year seemed to be an especially fun one for her: she was joined by young male moose, Murphy. Although the two moose were in separate habitat spaces, they seemed to enjoy interacting with each other through their gates and fences. Matilda often “supervised” Murphy’s energetic antics from a distance, and he seemed to appreciate her watchful gaze, even putting on a show when he knew she was looking.
Matilda’s very sweet personality will be greatly missed by her caretakers, along with all zoo staff, volunteers, and guests.