There was a moose on the loose in town Thursday.
Brandon police and animal control officers were called to a house on Viceroy Crescent, off Rosser Avenue in the west end of the city, at approximately 9 a.m. after someone spotted the animal.
"It was a neighbour who noticed it in the backyard and didn’t think that the neighbour was aware of it and were concerned that there might be some dogs in the neighbourhood that might react to it and thought that we should come and try to help it make its great escape," said Brandon Police Service spokeswoman Sgt. Kirby Sararas.
The officers corralled the animal and led it to the Assiniboine River nearby, "where we hope he finds the life he’s looking for," Sararas said in the morning police briefs.
"When it’s an animal that size, they (officers) just don’t know how they’re going to react, so the more people that we have that can work on it the better," she said. "You don’t want to get too close, but you want to make sure that it’s safe and that everybody else is safe. ... Lots of unpredictables, you know, especially if it feels cornered or scared — they want to make sure that it gets out safely."
Moose sightings are not unheard of in Brandon, she added. Neither are bears, wild turkeys, beavers and other assorted beasts.
If you do come across a moose, don’t try to remove it yourself, Sararas cautioned.
"They’re really big. I wouldn’t recommend anybody try themselves," she said. "That’s what we’re for. Let us do the dangerous stuff so everybody else can be safe."
Renowned Winnipeg moose expert Vince Crichton, a former provincial wildlife biologist, said Thursday yearlings are often sent away by their mother after bearing new calves to fend for themselves, and they can end up wandering into populated areas, like Brandon.
"I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all," said Crichton, who is also known as "Doc Moose," as long as the moose are not chased out of town by a bunch of guys in trucks.
He said the way the situation was handled by the officers in Brandon was the right way.
He added the animals also shouldn’t be drugged as that gets into their system, and if they are killed by a licensed hunter that residual drug can still be in the meat.
Crichton noted Manitoba’s moose population has dwindled to fewer than 15,000 from between 35,000 and 40,000 in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
He said he wants to see more enforcement to curb unregulated hunting.