Come visit Alaskan moose Willow!


Potter Park Zoo’s Alaskan moose will be on exhibit beginning Monday, June 2, 2014. Willow, the zoo’s first moose, is  just over one year old and was rescued from the Anchorage, Alaska area after her mother was hit by a car. She has been at the zoo since fall 2013.

“It has been a delight to have Willow as a part of our Potter Park family,” said Cynthia Wagner, curator at Potter Park Zoo. “We are excited to be able to educate zoo guests about the Alaskan moose and allow them to experience an animal that is rarely seen by people.”

The Alaskan moose is an herbivore that eats willow, birch, aspen leaves and twigs. Potter Park Zoo has collaborated with county parks, Michigan State University, local tree services, and others to ensure Willow has a fresh supply of willow leaves to eat.

“Willow was an orphan who needed special attention when she came to us,” said Dr. Tara Harrison, Director of Animal Health at Potter Park Zoo. “Our staff has worked diligently to keep her happy and healthy. She is doing very well and has grown substantially since she got here.”

Willow, who now weighs approximately 440 pounds, will be living in the former ostrich yard and will be relocated to her new state-of-the-art exhibit near the back of the zoo during the 2015 season.

Alaskan moose are native to Alaska and range into Yukon, Canada. There are believed to be some 225,000 Alaskan moose spanning North America. The moose tend to be solitary animals that can stand up to seven feet tall and weigh more than 1,300 pounds. Alaskan moose generally inhabit dense, isolated forests in order to avoid predators like wolves and hunters, only encountering other moose for mating and courtship.