Wildlife

Moose with rare coloring seen by Fish and Game team surveying Interior Alaska from plane

Leucistic moose ghost

A rare type of moose was spotted by an aerial survey team flying over Interior Alaska.

In a landscape where moose tend to stick out like lumps of coal against winter snow, this moose was much paler in color, photos show.

However, it is not an albino, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported in a Jan. 13 Facebook post.

“While flying moose population surveys in Interior Alaska this winter, ADF&G biologists spotted this rare, leucistic bull moose,” the department said.

“Leucism is a genetic mutation that causes a partial lack of pigment in the skin and hair (and feathers and scales in other animals) but not in the eye. This is not the same as albinism in which no melanin is present, and the eyes are pink.”

The exact location of the discovery was not revealed.

Leucistic moose ghost

[Rare white orca spotted in Southeast Alaska]

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The state’s Facebook post has gotten nearly 3,000 reactions and comments, including some who referred to it as a “spirit animal” that shouldn’t have been photographed. Others begged for GPS coordinates so they could see the animal.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said leucistic moose are sometimes referred to as “ghost moose.” According to a state wildlife veterinarian with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the term “ghost moose” is instead commonly used to describe animals infected with the moose winter tick. Fish and Game has not yet detected “ghost moose” in Alaska.

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