A moose is on the loose in Rapid City, South Dakota, and she’s been leading residents and officials on a wild, weeklong chase.
The cow moose seemingly came out of nowhere, and no one can quite figure out how or why she’s laid roots in Rapid City. Mike Klosowski, a regional wildlife supervisor with South Dakota Game Fish and Parks (SDGFP), said that there is a very small population living about 50 miles away in the Black Hills. However, the state’s climate is typically too hot for moose. Furthermore, he’s never seen a moose migrate so far—or on its own.
“They do focus their time and their living in the northern hemisphere in large, forested areas,” he told South Dakota Public Broadcasting. “And they also really like cooler weather, they don’t like to be in states that have hotter weather. So, South Dakota, pretty warm in the summertime, even back in the day there likely wasn’t a very high population of moose.”
Nonetheless, this particular animal has seemed to happily settle into the city. And she’s enjoying the plentiful grazing land.
While eating, the moose has been wandering into residents’ backyards. And Klosowski noted that she will likely continue showing up near homes. But when she does, it’s important that people don’t approach her.
“First thing I’d say is admire you have a moose in your driveway,” he continued. “And maybe pour yourself another cup of coffee. Really the thing we really want local folks here to do if they see the moose is give it some space.”
It isn’t typical for a moose to attack a human. But if they feel threatened, they can become aggressive and charge and trample. Each animal weighs 800 to 1,200 pounds, which means it has a lot of force behind its attack.
Officials Hope the Moose Moves Back into the Wilderness
Klosowski said that SDGFP hopes to push the animal out of the city and into the backwoods where it can live a safer, more peaceful life. However, the department had a similar case in another town a few years ago. That moose refused to relocate, and unfortunately, officials had to euthanize it. But Klosowski admitted that killing an animal is always the last resort.
“The desired outcome here is the moose eventually says ‘ya know, I think I liked it better out in the country,’ and slowly moves in that direction – maybe follows Rapid Creek out of town or something like that and just goes in another direction,” he added “That’s what our hope is.”
SDGFP is actively tracking moose sightings and is asking Rapid City residents to contact the Outdoor Campus West at (605)394-2310 if they spot her.