Every once in awhile there is a news story that hits television that is so stereo-typically Canadian, it reinforces to everyone what a wild, wacky place Canada is. These are stories that lead people to believe we live in igloos, get around by dog sled and only eat poutine. This week, another of these stories made the television.
As many of you know, I call Kananaskis AB home. KCountry is a very magical place and a hub for amazing nature and wildlife stories. Since I have lived here, several wildlife videos from the area have gone viral. Like this one of two bull moose rutting or of this wolf taking down a big horn sheep on the side of the highway. So it is pretty safe to say the wildlife here is never boring. Right now the critter that is making the new is, once again, a moose.
You probably saw this story on CBC (yup, that’s right, this made national news) that Kananaskis has issued a moose warning for the Chester Lake/Burstall Pass trail heads due to a moose hanging out in the parking lot licking cars.
Yes, you read that correctly. This moose (and her calf) are hanging out in the parking lot and licking cars. Read the CBC story here. So why the heck are these moose licking cars?
For the same reason that big horn sheep, deer and other critters are ‘licking’ the road:
They are eating the salt. Salt contains minerals that are important to these critters, but beyond that, the salt tastes good them.
The cars are getting salt on them from driving on maintained winter roads, and the wildlife has come to expect that they can lick cars to get the salt off. To be honest, if I had to choose between licking asphalt or licking a car, I guess I would lean towards the car, so it is no wonder that the moose are doing it too.
Alberta Parks has issued a formal warning, including what NOT to do if a moose is licking your car, but I am going to give you some tips here again:
- Don’t approach the moose; if they walk up to you, try to maintain a safe distance or stay inside your vehicle.
- Don’t offer the moose food; they do not need to become any more accustomed to people as a food source
- Don’t try to physically move a moose away from your vehicle. They will win.
- Always make noise when hiking, exploring, so as to not surprise wildlife.
- Keep your pets on a leash. A kick from a moose can kill or severely injure a dog.
If you return to your vehicle to find a moose licking it, by all means take a picture! I would! But do not approach the moose to do so. Make noise, be loud and be patient for the moose to move off. Be aware of what way the moose will most likely run if it gets startled, no one wants to get run over by a moose. If everyone respects the space of these dorkily majestic animals, then everyone will be able to share the space.