Why do moose frequent the residential areas of south Edmonton?
Moose visit for food and shelter, but what should you do if you see one?
Frequent appearances in a southwest Edmonton neighbourhood have earned a female moose the name Maggie Magrath — after Magrath Heights.
Maggie is not the only moose to be seen recently in the Magrath Heights and Terwillegar neighbourhoods; there has been a recent uptick in moose-on-the-loose sightings this spring.
Terwillegar resident Jennifer Reid saw a pair in a condo parking lot; Alia Elkenany saw two near Terwillegar Drive crossing a frozen pond; Leslie Saxby saw two in front of her house near Turner Square.
Kimberly Berscheid, an Alberta fish and wildlife officer, said they tranquilized and relocated a cow moose just last week.
"Unfortunately — well, fortunately — Edmonton is built on a lot of wildlife corridors," Berscheid told CBC's Edmonton AM on Wednesday. "That provides a lot of opportunity for the moose to come up to these residential areas."
Berscheid said moose usually make their way into residential areas for two reasons: seeking shelter or new food sources.
She said moose that have ticks and lose their hair will seek refuge among buildings. They'll also seek shelter if they're giving birth.
Moose also live in the wildlife corridors, such as the river valley or the Whitemud ravine, so their appearances aren't surprising to Berscheid.
Just because it's a regular occurrence to see the wildlife around the neighbourhood, she said, doesn't mean you can get close enough to ask for a cup of sugar.
"Moose are not inherently aggressive," Berscheid said. "We just have to respect the fact that they are wildlife and we have to give them their space.
"They aren't necessarily dangerous but they can provide for a very dangerous situation if you stress the animal out. Getting too close will definitely stress out a mother and calf."
Tips for moose encounters
Berscheid said people should never get closer than 50 feet from a moose. That's close, considering how quickly a moose can move should it feel threatened.
"Make sure that you have an avenue of escape in the event that the cow potentially becomes aggressive," she said, adding to also make sure the animal has an avenue of escape as well.
If a moose does charge, Berscheid said it's a good idea to turn and run, with the goal of trying to put something between you and the moose.
"Don't yell and scream and throw rocks at it, because it's just going to agitate the moose more," she said. "We want to find that refuge."
Most times, she said, moose will mind their own business if they have their space. If it's safe to do so, Berscheid said people can help the animals naturally move away by opening gates, for example.
"At the end of the day, these are wildlife," she said. "They are wild creatures and we have to respect them and give them their space."