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March 5th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 9
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Moose on the loose
in the Crowsnest Pass
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Photo by Tony Stoklosa
On Tuesday, February 18th, a Coleman resident was heading east on Highway #3 and caught a mother moose and her calf feeding along Crowsnest River and Lyons Creek.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
A mother moose and calf are on the loose in Blairmore and Fish & Wildlife officers are thinking of tranquilizing them for relocation if they insist on sticking around.
John Clarke, Fish & Wildlife officer, says the cow and calf are in town to feed on ornamental trees. He says this is a yearly event where cold weather and deep snow are drawing animals into the community.
But, he says these two moose are being particularly stubborn in their refusal to leave, are not responding to aversive conditioning and have been spotted brazenly walking along Blairmore’s main street.
Clarke says the department is weighing three options. The first, and best, is to continue with aversive conditioning, which means shooting the moose with rubber bullets and bangers until they leave. The second option is to tranquilize and transport them. And the third is to euthanize them.
“Put them down, that’s the easy way out,” said Clarke. “But that’s not acceptable either. They haven’t really done anything, they’re just trying to eat.”

Clarke says he is weighing the second option and is going to Calgary to pick up the necessary equipment, but tranquilizing a moose is a difficult process.
“Moose do not react well to being tranquilized. It’s just something about their metabolism…they can drop dead…they just can’t deal with the drugging,” said Clarke.
Also, the effects of a tranquilizer do not take effect right away.
“If you do get them,” said Clarke. “They don’t actually drop right away. They could head up into the hills. And then you’ve got 800 pounds of moose to get to a trailer… so that’s a whole situation with people helping and lifting.”
Finally, a tranquilized moose needs to be placed into a special apparatus with boards and straps to keep them upright, which is then loaded into a horse trailer for transport.
“You can’t let them lay on their side,” said Clarke. “The ruminants, they can regurgitate them back into their lungs, which will kill them.”
Clarke says citizens have been approaching the animals to take photos and he is advising against this. He says they are still wild animals that could become aggressive, especially with a calf involved.
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March 5th ~ Vol. 84 No. 9
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