Where the Wild Things Are

Once the State Game Farm on the brink of closure, the Maine Wildlife Park has become a haven for animals and humans alike.

By Kim Ridley  Photographed by Amy Wilton

The moose peeks out between tall white pines, her dark brown hide blending with the bark. She swivels her ears and ambles toward us. My heart speeds up as she draws closer. She pokes her massive head through the door of the feeding station, where Steve Oliveri awaits with one of her favorite treats: sweet potatoes.

“Sweet potatoes seem to help prevent irritable bowel syndrome,” says Oliveri, the assistant superintendent of the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. After snuffling up the snack, the moose sniffs us with her huge, velvety nose. She herself smells like a horse, only sweeter.

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Kim Ridley of Brooklin is the former editor of Hope magazine, and her articles on science, culture, and food have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.

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