Car-licking moose strikes again, and is caught in the act
Monday, December 19, 2016, 8:13 PM - Days after Alberta Parks issued a warning for car-licking moose in Kananaskis, Alberta, a Banff couple experienced it first hand.
While driving through Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Theresa and Gerhard Malan observed a moose licking a parked vehicle. In awe, the two pulled over and sure enough, the bull made its way over to their truck and began slurping away.
"Bumped into the notorious salt licking moose in Kananaskis Country," Gerhard posted on Instagram along with a video.
The warning was put into effect for Chester Lake and Burstall pass trailhead parking lots after officials received multiple reports of three moose in the area indulging in salty vehicles.
"We posted the warning, but this is known to happen every year in Kananaskis Country and as you can expect with an increase in the amount of people visiting, moose are becoming more accustomed and habitualized to seeing people," Jim Castle, senior wildlife biologist with Alberta Environment and Parks told The Weather Network.
According to Castle, moose require sodium as it is one of their essential nutrients.
In the summertime, they obtain salt by consuming aquatic plants. However, in the winter it is somewhat difficult to find and like many places in Canada, road salt accumulates in Alberta, which is an easy source for the animals.
"In that sense it's kind of a delivery system of bringing sodium right to the moose," explained Castle.
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Fortunately, no aggressive moose behaviour has been reported to Alberta Parks. However, Castle says it is very important to keep a safe distance away from the animals.
A female moose can weigh up to 930 pounds, with a bull averaging between 990 and 1,100 pounds.
"With such a big animal, any sudden movement a moose could inadvertently hurt someone just trying to escape their spook," said Castle. "Then there is people who try to take pictures. While I encourage taking pictures of wildlife, it's a part of the experience. But, as you try to get close there is always the possibility of someone being injured by a moose that's trying to avoid close encounter."
Officials recommend motorists keep at least 30 metres away from any moose, and to sound a car horn or use a remote door alarm to deter the animals.
"Do not attempt to push moose away from your vehicle while on foot," the warning reads.
People are advised to not startle or chase the animals as they can act unpredictably.
"If you encounter a moose keep your distance, keep your pets on a leash and enjoy it because it's a pretty neat wildlife experience to have," said Castle.
SOURCE: Alberta Parks
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