In recent months, a number of moose have taken to calling Weyburn home. This has been due, in part, to the shelter from the winter conditions available within the city, as well as the availability of food. With the winter starting to draw to a close, many are wondering if the moose are a permanent fixture here, or if they will be moving on from Weyburn to other opportunities.
“A lot of it is going to depend on the snow conditions, and how tough it is to move around in the snow,” explained Conservation Officer Lindsey Leko. “This seems to be an annual occurrence, where we tend to get them here in the west end of Weyburn, or sometimes get them in North Weyburn, or Griffin and a lot of those smaller communities and it’s a result of their habitat slowly disappearing. We’ve created a great place for them to live here in the city.”
Starting around April, the moose start to move out of the community, as they will start to get tired with an increase in activity thanks to the milder weather.
While the moose in Weyburn have been fairly docile, Leko does caution to keep their distance from them, and not letting dogs run large as moose have been known to be aggressive towards barking dogs. He added that parents should be sure to let their children know what to do if they do happen to encounter a moose on the street, as the animals are very large and can be dangerous in some situations just due to their sheer size.
Dealing with moose who don’t want to move is a whole issue unto itself for conservation officers.
“Every time we do get a call on a moose, we weigh the options and what the dangers are associated with it when it comes to protection of the public, and right now the ones that we’ve had here in and around Weyburn we haven’t had any reports of aggression or anything like that so we’ve pretty much just let them go,” Leko added.
The plans, however, can be changed accordingly due to the situation.
The weather itself can also play a factor in how quickly the moose can leave the area. March is traditionally one of the months where significant amounts of snow can fall, which could mean issues for the moose, especially calves, in getting around.
“If we do start getting large accumulations of snow, they might stay put for a little bit longer, and if need be, we have to be able to come up with a plan to persuade them to move a little bit quicker,” Leko cautioned. “Or, to remove them totally if we feel that they become a danger to the public.”
Trying to move a moose can be a challenge, thanks to its nature and size. Conservation officers, if needed, try to sedate the moose so that it can be moved if it poses a danger. The task, however, can be one that requires a number of people to get done properly, and generally can’t be done at the drop of a hat.