GRAY — Nearly a year after arriving at Maine Wildlife Park in Gray and becoming an instant “sensation,” Maggie the moose is doing well and growing steadily.
She arrived at the 40-acre park last June when she was 3 weeks old and weighed about 25 pounds. Now, Maine Wildlife Park Superintendent Curt Johnson estimates she weighs about 400.
Maggie was discovered by a family in their backyard in Wallagrass, and a video of her playing with the family’s dog quickly went viral.
The Maine Warden Service waited, but Maggie’s mother never returned.
“We think that the cow was removed from the picture by some sort of accident, maybe she was struck by a car or something like that. We’ll never know,” Johnson said.
Maggie, so named by the family who found her, was brought to Maine Wildlife Park, which is run by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
“She just became this sensation,” Johnson said. “People came from all over the state. We had a record year (for visitors) in 2018, and I attribute at least part of it to her.”
At the time, she was fed out of a bottle, and “People would just be lined up. There would be swarms of people to see her get her bottle.”
Maggie will celebrate her first birthday in May, and while she’s still small in moose terms, Johnson said “she’s no longer baby moose.”
He hopes that as she grows, she will continue to garner attention from visitors. “You can’t compete with a baby moose, and as she gets bigger she’ll become just another moose at the wildlife park.”
Johnson said she could possibly get as big as 800 pounds.
Instead of bottles, Maggie now eats “browse,” like the other two moose at the park: the twigs, barks, leaves and buds of younger growth. These species often include maple, birch, aspen and apple. Johnson said the moose also receive a grain as well as special moose treats.
Johnson said Maggie gets along with the other moose at the park and is “doing well. She’s grown a lot.”
She will remain at the park for the rest of her life since moose that have been raised from a young age in captivity shouldn’t be released back into the wild.
“They’ve lost some fear of humans, and they would end up on the roadways or in people’s backyards and hit by vehicles or whatever,” Johnson said.
The park recently lost one of its bull moose, George, at the age of 15, which is an extremely old age for a moose in captivity, according to Johnson.
With such good prospects, Maggie can look forward to many more happy years at Maine Wildlife Park.
The park opens for the season on Monday, April 15.
It is also celebrating the grand opening of its new songbird enclosure this year. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on May 4.
Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at email@example.com.
Maggie now weighs about 400 pounds, according to Maine Wildlife Park Superintendent Curt Johnson.
Maggie has been at the park for nearly a year.
Maggie the moose at 3 weeks old, when she arrived at the Maine Wildlife Center.