Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Wandering moose hits a slippery slope

Express Staff Writer

A yearling cow moose weighs her options for escape Saturday after wheeling into the Guy Coles Skate Park in Ketchum and becoming trapped there.

A yearling cow moose that might be sure-footed in a woodlands habitat discovered Saturday that city life can be a slippery slope for unaware members of the animal kingdom.

Estimated to weigh 450 pounds, the moose wandered into Ketchum's Guy Coles Skate Park and took a spill down the slippery sides of a concrete skateboard bowl.

A park user called Ketchum police who in turn called the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, which dispatched a team of officers to rescue the distressed moose.

Over the next three hours, Fish and Game officers conducted an elaborate recovery operation.

The moose was tranquilized, then wrapped in a canvas covering, which was winched up the side of the skateboard bowl and then taken to the edge of the Big Wood River behind the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood.

Fish and Game Conservation Officer Rob Morris said the moose was given an antidote injection to awaken it.

Whereupon, he said, the moose munched on a willow tree, then blithely wandered back into a wooded area, apparently unshaken, if not wiser, from the experience.

After the rescue, Jen Smith, superintendent of Ketchum city parks who also observed the moose recovery, said the city had considered but decided against fencing in the skate park. However, she said the department would now investigate the workability of some sort of removable ramp that could be installed in the skateboard bowl at night to allow a trapped animal to escape.

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