Moose captured in Whistler dies in the wild 

Provincial veterinarian investigating cause of death

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CONRAD PETZSCH-KUNZ
  • Photo by Conrad Petzsch-Kunz

A female moose that was captured in Whistler on March 27 and relocated to suitable habitat north of Whistler has died, and the province is investigating to find out why.

According to Tim Schumacher from the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, the moose had a tracking collar and was monitored on April 8 with no issues. On April 9 they received a signal indicating that the moose had died, and the following day they investigated and confirmed the death.

The moose survived almost two weeks following its relocation finding food without any problems. No immediate cause of death was identified, however, an investigation of the area found a log with hair on it, suggesting that the animal may have tripped and fallen into a depression in the ground. A wildlife veterinarian working for the province is testing the moose's blood to see if she had any diseases and to get an age for the animal.

So far the investigation has determined that she was not pregnant as reported earlier, and that the field test used when she was captured likely provided a false positive. She was also in worse shape, and older, than previously thought.

"The moose was in poor condition when we released it, and so it could be a number of factors that contributed to its death," said Schumacher. "It underwent a stressful situation being in town (in Whistler) with people harassing it, and then underwent a stressful move. There was probably a conglomeration of factors, but right now (the cause of death) is still undetermined."

The Conservation Officer Service made the decision to relocate the moose after receiving three reports of the moose charging individuals who got too close.

The moose had also been harassed by unleashed dogs, and sightings frequently created traffic jams along Blackcomb Way near the wetland where she spent the winter. People were even walking in front of moving cars to get a closer view of the moose.

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