SPOKANE -- The orphaned moose calf rescued yesterday by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and volunteers from the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council (INWC) needs donations of food while it is being prepared for release back into the wild.
"Dusty," as the seven-month-old bull moose was named after the town in Whitman County near where it was found, is under the care of a WDFW licensed wildlife rehabilitator and veterinarian. It is readily eating natural moose winter "browse" – stems, buds, and old leaves of hardwood plants like willows, aspen, and fruit trees. It is also being offered fruit and formulated moose chow to meet its hearty appetite.
INWC executive director Jamey Layman said donations of browse, fruit, and cash can be made to the Council office just south of Francis on Market Street, Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cash donations in check form should be made out to "INWC for Dusty" and can be mailed to 6116 N. Market St., Spokane, WA 99207.
Browse donations should be newly pruned woody stems, no more than a half-inch in diameter, of the following broad-leafed plants: willow, aspen, maple, mountain-ash, poplar, alder, dogwood, wild rose, serviceberry, snowberry, blackberry, raspberry, apple, cherry, peach, pear. INWC volunteers will transport donated browse to the rehab site.
The moose calf will be cared for in captivity for at least one month, then released into suitable moose habitat in northern Spokane County.
The calf was found earlier this week near its dead mother in a wheat stubble field about three miles west of Dusty, about 20 miles west of Colfax. Since the very young animal was unwilling to leave the area and seek food in more suitable habitat, WDFW officials decided to remove it and place it in rehabilitation.
The carcass of the cow moose was taken to Washington State University's veterinary science school laboratory where a necropsy showed no signs of gunshot wounds or external trauma. A final report on probable cause of death will be made later.