Moose sightings in Central Okanagan urban areas prompts warning to leave wildlife alone | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Moose sightings in Central Okanagan urban areas prompts warning to leave wildlife alone

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February 03, 2021 - 7:30 AM

Recent moose sightings within Kelowna city limits has prompted the conservation officer service to warn residents to keep dogs on leash and leave the wildlife alone.

Within the last few days, officers received reports of a bull and cow moose in Kelowna in the Gulley Road, June Springs Road and McCullough Road areas, and a cow and calf moose in West Kelowna's Smith Creek and Salish Road areas, conservation officer Ken Owens said.

He said moose are typically are seen at lower elevations this time of year looking for food, but the biggest message he wants to get across is to “leave the moose alone."

“Last year, we had two moose killed in the city and to me, it could have been prevented. If the moose come down and they’re left alone… they just need that space. I see it too often… social media lights up and there are 15 people driving out there and walking into the field with an iPhone trying to get close,” he said.

READ MORE: Moose impaled on spiked fence in Kelowna renews call for bylaw changes

Moose are not normally aggressive but they can become aggressive when they are harassed by people, dogs, and traffic, or when hungry and tired, especially in winter when they must walk through deep snow, Owens said.

“With that one moose that we had show up in Black Mountain (last year)… the moose got further and further in the city and it got harassed and then chased and ended up getting impaled on a wrought iron fence,” he said.

Officers have received roughly 570 moose calls provincewide this year, with 13 moose calls in Kelowna and 21 in Vernon, he said.

He said recently wildlife biologists have been flying around the West Kelowna area in helicopters tracking moose numbers and they are seeing a really healthy moose population in the McCullough Road area.

“They’ve got these ravines and creeks that go down to Okanagan Lake (which are) wildlife corridors,” but when they get closer to the city, they need to be protected, he said.

The moose spotted in the McCullough Road area are still being reported as of Feb. 1, he said.

Moose are responsible for more than 600 calls to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service every year, with the majority of the reports coming from the northern half of the province, according to WildSafeBC.

A provincial moose tracker app, which allows users to upload data on moose sightings, helps the province monitor moose populations.

For more information on the app, visit the Government of B.C.’s website here.

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