By David F. Rooney
That injured cow moose at the Golf Club may — or may not — survive the winter but one local resident is doing what he can to give it a fighting chance.
The animal has been holed up under the big cedars for a while now and has been subsisting by grazing the tips of cedar boughs and tearing strips of bark off their trunks. For the last week or so now, Bob Tippe — a long-time hunter — has been gathering green willow and poplar branches and strips of those trees’ bark to feed the animal, which he thought was rather weak last weak.
“I hope that she makes it but only time will tell,” he said after putting out a meal for the creature early Tuesday morning. “But it doesn’t look good… the way she’s hobbling along on that leg.”
The snow is still deep enough that, with an injured leg, she is prevented from trying to escape the confines of the Golf Club. And of course, there are predators that would definitely take advantage of her condition — if they could.
Tippe said coyotes did appear to be harassing her a week ago this past Sunday as she lay under a cedar not 30 metres from his home.
“You could sure hear them,” he said. “It sounded like they were right in our backyard. They must have thought they were going to dine out. She wouldn’t have had a chance in that deep snow. I went out and yelled at them but they didn’t pay a lot of mind so I howled like a wolf. That sure shut them up. I was bloody surprised when they didn’t come back.”
Conservation Officer Adam Christie said that he thinks the cow is younger than four or five years but could well survive.
“It depends how much the injury affects its mobility,” he told The Current. “If it is able to move around to eat sufficient food then the only way the injury would seriously affect its survival would be if it limited its ability to avoid predators and then only if it encountered them.”
Christie said feeding the moose “is not sustainable or desirable over the long term, but it may allow the animal time to heal” and rest until the snow melts.
As reflected in some of the comments posted on The Current in the past week as well as verbal comments made to the editor, there is some public concern that the animal might be put down. Christie said any decision to terminate the animal would be “based on the viability of its life as a wild (as opposed to domesticated) animal and humane considerations around the level of suffering it appears to be undergoing.”
So far so good, then. If people keep their dogs out of the Golf Club and the animal is able to fend off the coyotes then it may well have a chance at survival.
Here is a series of images taken at 7:30 am on Tuesday, March 29, of Bob Tippe’s efforts to feed the moose (you can also see a video by Sharon Tippe of her husband feeding the creature on the front of the online Revelstoke Current or by clicking here):