Skip to content

Globe-travelled author speaks at Outlook library

Interesting presentation shows another side of animal species.
Wildlife veterinarian and author Jerry Haigh has travelled around the world learning all he can about many species.

OUTLOOK - Jerry Haigh is the writer behind several books, including 'The Trouble with Lions', 'Porcupines to Polar Bears: Adventures of a Wildlife Veterinarian', 'Of Moose and Men', and his latest, 'Reindeer Reflections: Lessons From an Ancient Culture', but there appears to be much more below the surface when it comes to the Kenya-born, Scotland-raised author.

Appearing at the Outlook Wheatland Library on Tuesday night, October 25, Haigh gave a presentation on one of his books, 'Of Moose and Men', which also helped to highlight his many travels that have taken him around the world. Just three days after graduation in Glasgow, Scotland, he returned to Africa and spent ten years of his life there, which is where he also met his future wife, Jo.

Haigh moved to Saskatoon in 1975, taking a job at the University of Saskatchewan's Western College of Veterinary Medicine. One of the many highlights of his career came during that time, as he was involved in many trips to Uganda with students, where they were joined by grad students and the faculty at the Department of Wildlife and Animal Resource Management at Makerere University. Haigh and the students spent a month in the field studying the complex wildlife/livestock/human interface, and in the end, many of the Canadian students called this a "life-changing experience."

Appearing in Outlook, Haigh brought with him many slides and photos that detailed his travels around Canada in tracking and profiling moose. He discussed his travels in which he would help weigh moose, including video footage that showed just how this process was carried out, in which the animal would be sedated, have a harness wrapped around its belly, and then a helicopter would actually lift off and raise the animal to get it situated on a scale. The video footage provided by Haigh proved to be fascinating and at times a bit comical.

As well, Haigh highlighted the moose diet, which shows that they can't eat grain because their digestive systems can't process it. This reality perhaps sheds new light on an image that we in Saskatchewan have seen time and time again of a moose in the field, as it now tells us that the animal is looking for food, but it won't eat what surrounds it in its travels. Jerry also noted that the highest person-to-moose population has to be in Newfoundland, where there are many motor vehicle collisions with the animal involved each year; so much so that there are signs posted around the province.

Haigh also noted that a bull moose's antlers can grow exceedingly fast, at a rate of between two and two and a half centimeters a day, making it the fastest antler growth on Earth.

In his worldly travels, Haigh says that he's tasted all kinds of meat and does enjoy moose, though he advised people to steer clear of elephant meat, which he dubbed the worst he's ever tasted.

Taking questions from people, Haigh noted his love for Saskatchewan and looked back on some of his more unique moments, including when the Calgary Zoo had him perform dentistry on a hippopotamus.

People were invited to have coffee and meet Jerry following his presentation, and for those interested, his books are available at the library.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks