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Moose moves into East Idaho town

February 7, 2017 GMT

MALAD — Every now and then, a moose will wander out of the wilderness and into the small community of Malad near the Idaho/Utah border.

When this happens, conservation officers will normally move the animal out of town and back into the wild.

But due to the effect this year’s winter weather has had on wildlife, officials with the Idaho Department Fish and Game recently made the unusual decision to allow one wandering yearling moose to remain in Malad.

“Because it’s been such a bad winter, we felt a young moose that wasn’t aggressive would have a better chance of surviving if it stayed in town,” said Senior Conservation Officer Kyle Christensen.

Last month, Fish and Game began emergency winter wildlife feeding procedures in several areas across southern Idaho. In the southeast region alone, where Malad is located, there are more than 60 sites feeding thousands of wild animals, including deer, elk and pronghorn antelope.

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But according to Christensen, moose can be very difficult to feed because they tend to wander around a lot. With so much snow on the ground, simply chasing the Malad moose out of town could prove fatal to the animal, which is why officials are allowing the yearling to stay until it leaves on its own. Once the temperatures begin to rise and the snow starts melting, officials are certain the moose will move out on its own.

Fish and Game started getting calls from Malad residents regarding the moose at the end of January. The animal has not shown any aggression and stays hidden from people most of the time.

However, Fish and Game officials are strongly encouraging residents not to feed, bother or approach the moose. According to Christensen, the local residents have been heeding his department’s advice regarding their new neighbor.

“Everybody’s doing a great job leaving it alone since the word started getting out,” Christensen said.

However, Christensen is asking any residents who are having problems with the moose to contact him at 208-851-1957. These problems could include the moose showing aggression or eating plants and trees that residents do not approve of.