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Moose beware: Don't lick cars, you've been warned

Monday, November 23rd 2020, 5:40 pm - Visitors to Jasper National Park will often stop their vehicles on the side of the road in an attempt to see a moose, but what they may not know is that actually letting the animals approach their car is a serious danger.

Only in Canada would you stumble upon a sign that says: "Do not let moose lick your car."

That's precisely the message from Parks Canada officials in Jasper, Alta., as they indicate that moose have a tendency of licking the salt off vehicles while they're in the park.

"They're obsessed with salt, it's one of the things they need for the minerals in their body," Steve Young, Jasper National Park spokesman, told CNN. "They usually get it from salt lakes in the park, but now they realized they can also get road salt that splashes onto cars."

Visitors to the park will often stop their vehicles on the side of the road in an attempt to see a moose, but what they may not know is that actually letting the animals approach their car is a serious danger.

Allowing the moose to lick the salt off cars will make them become habituated around vehicles. It poses a risk to the animals and the drivers who can accidentally hit them with their car, according to Young.

"Moose and cars are not a good mix. If you hit the moose with your car, you take the legs out from under it and it's going through your windshield," Young said.

So, what is the best way for drivers to ensure their and the animal's safety? Simply drive away when you see a moose approaching, he added.

As well, another critical piece of advice from Young and other officials is the importance for drivers to stay inside their car, thus eliminating any interactions with the wildlife, including moose. Other animals will usually flee when humans come close, but moose will actually stand their ground and charge forward if they feel they are threatened.

"We've been seeing a lot more moose lately. The wolf population is decreasing, which means there's fewer predators and the moose population is going up as a result," Young said. "This also means people need to be respectful and give them space."

Moose sign/Parks Canada/CNN Simply drive away when you see a moose approaching, Parks Canada officials say. Photo: Parks Canada/CNN

The Parks Canada spokesperson noted visitors are prohibited from feeding, enticing or disturbing wildlife in national parks. Violators could face fines up to $25,000, Young said.

Thumbnail courtesy of Parks Canada/CNN.

Source: CNN

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