A neighbourhood in Fernie, B.C., has become the inadvertent home to an orphaned moose.
The moose’s mother was struck by a vehicle on the highway, and the calf’s sibling also died. The moose calf, which Fernie residents named Mary the Christmas Moose, was discovered under an apple tree in Fernie resident Lana Garlock’s yard, trying to forage for a quick meal.
Mary was struggling to reach the fruit, so Garlock, seeing that the moose looked terribly hungry, put out a bowl of apples for the calf.
That first interaction happened Dec. 2, and since then the moose has stuck around every day for an easy meal and has become quite accustomed to its neighbourhood and the residents.
Though Garlock felt conflicted over feeding the moose, as she knew this sort of interaction could make it very difficult to reintroduce the moose to the wild, she has grown fond of the calf and would gladly keep the relationship going if conservation officers would allow it.
That being said, she alerted conservation officers of the moose and they are monitoring the calf and considering where to move her long-term.
Garlock said she hopes they will find a place in a wildlife sanctuary or zoo for the moose to live out of harm’s way.
She may have acted out of compassion for the animal, but B.C.’s Wildlife Act states that it is an offence to “intentionally feed or attempt to feed dangerous wildlife” or to “place an attractant” for dangerous wildlife like food in an area where there are likely to be people around.
Moose fall into that category, as they are responsible for more attacks on humans than bears and wolves combined, though usually with less serious consequences. They aren’t generally aggressive with humans, but they can be provoked by fear.
The most severe punishment Garlock could face would be a fine issued for each day the offence continues. But because her heart was in the right place, conservation officers are combining efforts with her to give Mary the Christmas Moose a happy ending.
To see a video of the moose on The Globe and Mail, click here.