Spot a moose, spot a moose! Majestic mammal first seen in Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park – 350 miles south of where they are usually found
- Park rangers spotted the first-ever moose walking in the snow at Washington’s Mount Rainier
- Elk are a priority species, which means they require special conservation techniques to protect them
- ‘We are very excited about this sighting!’ park officials said in their post
- In 2015, there were an estimated 5,000 moose in Washington, mostly in the Selkirk Mountains, more than 350 miles north of Mount Rainier
Park rangers first spotted moose in Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park on Thursday.
The animal walked alone through the snow along Sunrise Road, and park officials shared a photo of the mammal on Facebook.
Elk are considered a priority species by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), meaning they require special conservation techniques to protect them.
Such conservation is required because of a species’ population status, sensitivity to habitat change, and/or recreational, tribal, or commercial importance.
Park rangers first spotted moose in Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park on Thursday
As of 2015, there were an estimated 5,000 moose in Washington, most of them in the Selkirk Mountains — more than 350 miles north of Mount Rainier, according to the WDFW.
“This is the first recorded moose sighting from Mount Rainier National Park and southwestern Washington,” the post’s caption read.
“Yes, I know it’s a lot of exclamation points, but we’re very excited about this sighting!”
There are smaller elk populations in the North Cascades, Okanogan, and Blue Mountains.
Elk are generally more solitary mammals, but they can sometimes travel in small groups during the winter if they share a favorable habitat.
Officials also questioned in the post whether this newly sighted moose could be the same one seen in August at the I-90 wildlife underpass at Resort Creek.
That location is about 250 miles from the Mount Rainier area.
However, in some states moose have expanded their geographic range, but in most areas there are cold winters with snow cover – thanks in part to their large bodies that prefer temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and below 32 degrees in the winter .
Elk are dark brown and have long legs with massive shoulders reaching nearly six feet in length when mature.
They have prominent muzzles with an overhanging upper lip and a large flap of hair-covered skin that hangs below the throat and is called a ‘bell’.
The Washington moose belongs to a subspecies called ‘Shiras’ moose, which is physically smaller than the more northern moose.
Bulls, the males, weigh between 850 and 1,100 pounds and adult females or cows weigh between 600 and 800 pounds.
Their antler spread ranges from 35-45 inches and rarely exceeds 55 inches.
The majestic mammals, known as moose outside of North America, feed on copious amounts of leaves, insects, twigs and aquatic vegetation.
The animal walked alone through the snow along Sunrise Road in Mount Rainier National Park (above), and park officials shared a photo of the mammal on Facebook