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 near the moose.
"They shot her (dart gun) 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 10 years old. The moose is quite thin 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. There have been no injuries, but moose have killed and injured people in other jurisdictions.
"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 north of Whistler by members of the Conservation Officer Service, a wildlife veterinarian and two wildlife biologists who have experience relocating large ungulates.
According to Schumacher, the moose has been tagged and has a GPS tracker installed, and will be monitored by wildlife biologist. Video is posted on the B.C. Conservation Officer Service Facebook page.
- With files from Sarah Morden