Thursday, December 6, 2001

Moose on the loose in Cape

Published in the Current

School bus drivers and neighbors have spotted two moose wandering around in the Great Pond area of Fowler Road, often in the early morning.

Out of concern for the well being of the animals and the safety of drivers on the road, the Cape Elizabeth Police Department asked a wildlife biologist from the state to take a look at the area and help determine whether the moose should be tranquilized and relocated or left alone.

The biologist visited Fowler Road Tuesday afternoon, and didn’t see the moose, one of which is reportedly smaller than the other. But he did make a recommendation to Police Chief Neil Williams about what to do.

“His feeling is that they’re going to move on,” Williams said. With the warm weather and the apples on the ground nearby, they have food for the moment. But when it cools off, and when the snow comes, Williams said, “they’ll move on with the supply of food.”

The police will continue to keep an eye on the area, and have ordered signs be put up warning drivers to watch out for moose.

If the moose are a mother and a calf born in the spring, the little one could weigh as much as 400 pounds. The mother would weigh between 700 and 900 pounds, and could stand as much as six feet tall at the shoulder.

Moose are especially dangerous to drivers because their coats are dark and their eyes are higher than most headlight beams, so drivers don’t see their reflections the way they do with deer or other smaller animals.

Also, moose tend to be active between dusk and dawn, when visibility is lowest. And they can be unpredictable, sometimes darting out in front of an oncoming car.

For now, Cape’s moose will have a temporary home, but will move where nature supplies the food.

“They should be up north, but they’re not,” Williams said.