Haliburton Forest’s beloved resident moose Hershe has passed away

A favourite among visitors, the eight-year-old bull moose came to the wildlife preserve after his mother was killed in a vehicle collision

Hershe the Moose has passed away after months of ill health. The eight-year-old bull moose had lived in a four-acre enclosure at Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve since he was an orphaned calf. The friendly moose was a favourite among visitors to the wildlife reserve. (Photo: Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve Ltd.)
Hershe the Moose has passed away after months of ill health. The eight-year-old bull moose had lived in a four-acre enclosure at Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve since he was an orphaned calf. The friendly moose was a favourite among visitors to the wildlife reserve. (Photo: Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve Ltd.)

Hershe, the beloved resident moose of Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve, has passed away.

The bull moose had been suffering from several health issues over the past few months and, although his health was closely being monitored and treated, he died just weeks after his eighth birthday.

Hershe’s presence at Haliburton Forest was the result of a tragic accident in early June 2011, in which his mother was killed in a vehicle collision near Pembroke.

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Two three-week-old moose calves were discovered close to the scene of the accident, and Haliburton Forest was asked to take in the orphaned calves.

The odds of either calf surviving was very slim, and one of the two died within hours of arriving. However, the other calf thrived.

Haliburton Forest staff had been told the surviving calf was a female, but it turned out to be a male (only males have antlers). The initial confusion — is it a “he” or “she”? — led to the moose being named Hershe.

Hershe was originally thought to be female but turned out to be male; hence his name. To prevent the hormone fluctuations of a normal wild moose, Hershe was neutered prior to reaching maturity for his own well-being in captivity. As a result, his antlers never fully developed.  (Photo: Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve Ltd.)
Hershe was originally thought to be female but turned out to be male; hence his name. To prevent the hormone fluctuations of a normal wild moose, Hershe was neutered prior to reaching maturity for his own well-being in captivity. As a result, his antlers never fully developed. (Photo: Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve Ltd.)

By all accounts, Hershe had a good life at Haliburton Forest. He had the freedom to roam a spacious four-acre treed enclosure with two ponds, where he would sometimes bathe.

The enclosure also provided ample food sources, with Hershe eating more than 50 pounds of fresh leafs and twigs every day.

Most days, Hershe enjoyed human interaction and would readily trot over to the fence to greet visitors. But he especially enjoyed visits from the logging horses and Paddy the donkey, who would sometimes be let into Hershe’s paddock to clean out the grass.

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Hershe was raised alongside the horses at Haliburton Forest, and as a calf had imprinted on Princess, a large black mare.

Haliburton Forest staff often wondered whether Hershe thought he was a horse. For example, he would get down on his knees to graze, just like a horse.

Haliburton Forest posted about Hershe’s passing on their Facebook page on June 11, 2019:

It is with heavy hearts that we must announce the passing of Hershe the Moose.

Over the last few months, he developed…

Posted by Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve on Tuesday, June 11, 2019

More than 700 people have reacted to the post so far, with over 200 posting comments expressing their condolences, as well as their memories of visiting Hershe and photos of the friendly moose.

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Posted by Megan Fenton on Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve Ltd. is a privately owned forest located on 70,000 acres of hardwood forests, lakes, rivers and wetlands in the Haliburton Highlands of central Ontario and bordered by Algonquin Provincial Park to the north and east.

Located about three hours north of Toronto, Haliburton Forest features wilderness adventure activities including the Wolf Centre, the Walk in the Clouds forest canopy tour, groomed snowmobile trails, mountain biking, dog sledding, fishing, hiking, astronomy, wildlife observation, wilderness camping and accommodations, and an array of educational programs.

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There’s also the annual The Forest Festival, a music festival that takes place at Haliburton Forest every August. This year’s festival runs from August 14th to 18th and features performances by Steven Page, Slocan Ramblers, The Satallites, Colette Savard & The Savants, Soul Stew, Amanda Rheaume, and Tom Allen’s Excosphere. As the Bone Lake Amphitheatre is closed for renovations, this year’s concerts will be staged at the Logging Museum.

For more information about Haliburton Forest, visit www.haliburtonforest.com. For more information about The Forest Festival, visit www.theforestfestival.com.

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