Edmonton

Moose wouldn't vamoose, so Athabasca wildlife officers had to haul her out of town

When they couldn't induce the moose to vamoose, wildlife officers in the town of Athabasca were forced to step in and relocate the animal.

Animal spent several days hanging out near residents homes

Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement officers removed the moose from Athabasca on Friday. (Facebook / Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement)

When they couldn't induce the moose to vamoose, wildlife officers in the town of Athabasca were forced to step in and relocate the animal.

The moose was spending too much time last week near residents' driveways and sidewalks, making it difficult for people to safely get in and out of their homes.

"The call that I dealt with specifically was the moose was bedded down within five feet of a person's door to their house," said Adam Jalbert, district fish and wildlife officer in Athabasca.

"She hasn't acted aggressively, outwardly aggressive, to anybody yet, or their pets. But we want to avoid the potential scenario of somebody not being aware of their surroundings, walking up to their door and not noticing a moose laying there. And have the moose startle and try and defend itself."

When you're that big, it's pretty hard to stay anonymoose.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement says the moose was hanging around for about 10 days. (Facebook / Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement)

"In speaking with the neighbourhood residents," Jalbert said, "the impression we got was that this thing has been hanging around now for a little while."

Wildlife officers tried to encourage the moose to head for the hills.

"Like scare crackers we call them," Jalbert said. "Basically loud noises that they don't like. Rubber bullets. Those are just really low impact. We shoot them in the rear, usually, where they feel a little bit of a sting. And that usually is enough to convince the animal."

The tactics worked and the moose left the area for two days. Then it came back to the same neighbourhood. 

Rubber bullets were used again. But this time, the animal only moved a couple of houses down the block.

At that point, the decision was made to tranquilize and relocate the beast.

Two local sheriffs were called in to monitor safety in the event the moose bolted into traffic.

Alberta Sheriffs assisted in apprehending the moose. (Facebook / Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement)

On Friday, the animal was rounded up and driven about 40 minutes outside of town to public land, a natural area with adequate food and water sources.

Officers checked on it the next day to make sure it was OK.

"She was actually not too far from where we released her, standing up, eating the trees and chewing on snow," said Jalbert. "Doing what moose do. Hopefully she stays there and does that."

According to Jalbert, the behaviour the moose showed was unusual but occasionally happens with vulnerable animals.

"This moose was visibly skinnier than a moose should be at this time of year," he said. "When a moose feels that their body condition is going down, often times they'll let their guard down and enter into these type of inhabited areas. Because they know they're less likely to be preyed on by predators like wolves."

Scott Stevenson

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