FERNIE, B.C. — A search is underway for an orphaned moose calf in southeastern British Columbia that has managed to evade predators, vehicles and capture.
The roughly three-week-old calf was one of two orphaned on June 19 when their mother was hit and killed on Highway 3 between Cranbrook and the Alberta boundary.
The Conservation Officer Service says although the twins were just a few weeks old, both easily outran humans, and were spotted near Highway 3, venturing onto the busy roadway.
Animal rescue technician Colleen Bailey says one of the two was killed by a car last week, but there have been few sightings of its sibling since then.
Bailey says teams have been tracking the animal, which is about as big as a mid-sized dog, weighing around at 22 kilograms.
She says the mother moose was well-known around the city of Fernie and residents are upset about the deaths and plan to send the calf to a licensed rehabilitation facility if it is found.
The youngster will be hungry, but Bailey is confident it’s not facing immediate starvation because calves start eating some vegetation at about two-weeks.
“They do require the cow’s milk in order to survive, … but they can go several weeks without the cow’s milk,” she says.
Bailey says the greater concern is the calf’s apparent fearlessness when crossing Highway 3 in the same area where its mother and sibling died.
“It could be very well camouflaged in the vegetation until it pops right out on the highway.”
A 2016 study on B.C.’s moose says populations have declined significantly in some regions of the province in the last decade.
Bailey urged drivers to use caution along that stretch of Highway 3.
“The moose population … we need this win for them,” she says.
The Canadian Press
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