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Wildlife officials corner loose moose

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Feb 3rd, 2009 @ 4:14pm


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There were some tense and exciting moments this morning in Cottonwood Heights, as a bull moose was on the loose. It took much more than a tranquilizer gun to bring the moose down: a wildlife biologist wrestled the animal to the ground.

The two-year old bull moose seemed to be right at home in a Cottonwood Heights backyard near 2700 East and 7400 South. But concerns about an 800 pound moose on the loose brought police and wildlife officers in to move it out of the neighborhood.

All of that attention put the moose on the run, right down the sidewalk. "It was nervous. Bulls are a little more aggressive, and so it took off on us, and we had to try to catch up with it, try to let it settle down enough we could get a shot into it. We used an immobilization drug, and it basically paralyzes the animal," explained Craig Clyde, wildlife biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

The drugs have to be prepared, and wildlife officers only get one shot. So, it took a few minutes until they could get a good shot at the moose. Even then, the excitement really began before the drugs kicked in.

Clyde had to grab the moose's antlers to keep it from running away. "The animal becomes lethargic enough that we can handle it, and so that's when I moved in and grabbed the moose to control it until the drug could take effect a little bit more, and the animal went down," he said.

Finally, the moose went down gently into a snowbank. It took a team effort to get the moose loaded into a trailer and off to a new home.

"We look out of the public's safety first and the animal's safety second, and everything worked out just fine. We were able to load the moose. We'll take it back to its habitat, with streams and willows and the kind of habitat a moose should be in, and it will have a good rest of the winter," Clyde said.

The moose was taken to an area near Diamond Fork Canyon in Utah County. If it stays put, there won't be a rematch of this morning's wrestling event.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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