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Conservation officers relocate Whistler moose

Ungulate moved north for its own safety and the safety of residents



A moose that spent the winter in the wooded area just north of the village has been relocated by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service in the interest of public safety, and out of concern for the health of the animal.

The delicate operation went well Wednesday morning though there was one tense moment according to Tracy Jackson who lives just across from the moose's Whistler habitat and was watching the re-location procedure.

"They shot her and she went into the water so they had to move quickly to keep her head above the water," she said.

"They had about three minutes from when they shot her to when she went down."

Officers confirmed that she is pregnant and likely about ten years old. The moose is quite thin though and her ears are damaged either from frost or animal predation.

People have not been heeding signs to keep their distance, according to officer Tim Schumacher, and as a result the moose has charged at least three people at this point. There have been no injuries, but moose have killed and injured people in other jurisdictions, and a healthy female moose can weigh 200 to 360 kilograms (440 to 790 pounds).

"People continue to ignore the advice provided in previous media releases," said Schumacher. "Members of the public have been entering the wooded area and searching the moose, and attempting to view the moose and get photos. Motorists have also been causing traffic jams while pedestrians are walking back and forth across the road to get photos."

The moose was relocated to suitable habitat north of Whistler by members of the Conservation Officer Service, a wildlife veterinarian and two wildlife biologists who have experience relocating large ungulates.

They sedated the moose and used a sled to bring it back to the road, where it was loaded onto a truck. The veterinarian checked the moose's vital signs as well as assessed its overall health.

Said Schumacher:"I thought it looked in reasonable condition but I sent a photo to the wildlife veterinarian, and she thought it was an older animal that was not in very good condition."

-with files from Sarah Morden-