Nation/World

Mount Rainier National Park records first-ever moose sighting

Is that a plane? A bird? ... No, it’s a moose!

Mount Rainier National Park recorded its first-ever moose sighting on Thursday. This is also the first-ever moose sighting in southwest Washington, the National Park Service said.

The last recorded moose sighting in Western Washington was just west of Stevens Pass in 2009, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In August, the Washington State Department of Transportation spotted a moose on the I-90 wildlife undercrossing at Resort Creek, which is just southwest of Snoqualmie Pass. Another sighting was recorded in the same area in September, the WDFW said.

“Could this be same moose recently observed on the I-90 wildlife undercrossing at Resort Creek?” the park service said on Twitter in reference to the August sighting.

As of 2015, there were an estimated 5,000 moose living in Washington state, according to the WDFW. Washington moose belong to a subspecies called Shiras moose. The majority of Washington’s moose live in the Selkirk Mountains in northeast Washington ( Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry and Spokane counties) with smaller populations in the North Cascades, Okanogan and the Blue Mountains of southeast Washington.

If you ever spot a moose, here are some tips from the WDFW for preventing conflicts:

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* Never feed moose: Moose that are fed by people often become aggressive when they are not fed as expected. They may attack another person who has no food to offer.

* Do not approach any moose: Even if moose seem quiet and gentle, they can change their disposition rather quickly. Moose often lie down in the shade of buildings and trees to rest and cool down. If approached repeatedly, even by the best-intentioned onlookers, a moose might become stressed and aggressive.

* Keep dogs under control and away from moose: Moose consider dogs, which are close relatives of wolves, to be a direct threat. Moose have been known to go out of their way to kick at a dog, even one on a leash or in a fenced yard.

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