A moose that was running loose on the airfield at the Gander International Airport since Tuesday evening was shot dead by wildlife officers on Wednesday.  

Airport officials said the moose had to be killed Wednesday afternoon for safety reasons, and after numerous attempts to rescue it failed. 

"As you can appreciate, any kind of airfield incursion is a serious concern, especially with a mammal the size of a moose," Gander International Airport officials said in a statement on its Facebook page on Wednesday.   

Airport officials said witnesses told them they saw a 14-point bull moose jump the airport's perimeter fence onto the airfield at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
 
"The moose gained entrance by climbing a snowbank at the airport perimeter. Gander has endured significant snowfalls over the last number of weeks with only limited melting," wrote airport staff.    

Gander Airport officials alerted the Department of Wildlife and the airport's control tower staff, who informed inbound aircraft of the situation.

Efforts to herd moose unsuccessful

The moose then took shelter in a wooded area, with airport staff keeping an eye on its whereabouts overnight.

At one p.m. on Wednesday, wildlife officials determined that they were unable to corral or herd the moose on snowmobile. A helicopter was called to help with the task, to no avail.  

"Unfortunately, the moose had to be dispatched at 2 p.m. today," wrote the airport authority on its Facebook page. 

Officials added that the moose had been no closer than 400 metres to active runways. 

The airport authority said maintenance staff have been removing snow from mounded areas near the airport perimeter to prevent more animals from making it over the fence. 

"While a number of people have commented the moose was seeking to board a flight to the Caribbean to escape frigid winter conditions, this is untrue," the Gander airport authority jokingly concluded.