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Zoos last Roosevelt elk euthanized

by: Crispin Young The Oregon Zoo said goodbye to the last member of its elk herd this month. Zoo veterinarians euthanized bull known as Buck.

The Oregon Zoo's 19-year-old bull Roosevelt elk had to be euthanized Friday because of serious ailments.

Buck the elk was the last of the Roosevelt elk herd. Zoo veterinarians euthanized Buck after medication for severe arthritis became ineffective and kidney failure set in.

'Buck helped the zoo educate our visitors about a species that lives in the hills surrounding Portland, but which few residents get a chance to see,' said Kim Smith, zoo director. 'Buck was a really special animal that everyone enjoyed working with.'

Zoo veterinarians had been treating Buck for severe arthritis, enabling the 800-pound bull to have freedom of movement. A few months ago, animal care staff noticed that the medication wasn't having the same effect and that his quality of life was going down.

Buck was born in spring 1992 at the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area in Oregon's northern coast mountain range. He moved to the zoo in February 1993 through a loan from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.