After treating and radio-collaring a sick cow moose in Hailey on Dec. 2, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is advising residents to continue to stay away from the animal and her calf as her eye condition improves.
The cow is thought to have a severe case of conjunctivitis, according to the department. Staff biologists were able to collect eye cultures, draw a blood sample and administer antibiotics earlier this month.
On Monday and Tuesday afternoon, the moose pair was seen crossing the Hailey Albertsons parking lot close to the store’s entrance, where they garnered attention from several shoppers.
Fish and Game spokesman Terry Thompson said the animals’ proximity to humans raised concerns about public safety, especially because the cow’s vision is diminished—an indicator she could be more likely to charge.
“While I know that these kinds of things are a cool sight for folks, having moose downtown is not something that we like to see,” he told the Express on Wednesday. “Moose can be deceptive as seemingly docile, but a dog chasing them or someone walking from around their car and startling them could cause the cow to strike out, very quickly, with her front hooves.”
One good reminder: cow moose can weigh up to 1,200 pounds and, like their male counterparts, can run up to 30 miles per hour.
“We will continue to strongly encourage folks to not approach these moose and to give them a wide berth if they are encountered anywhere throughout the valley,” Thompson said.
As far as the cow’s conjunctivitis, he said Fish and Game officers are hopeful the condition will resolve on its own.
“Darting is very stressful on the wildlife, so the less we have to, the better,” he said. “At this point we will continue to monitor the cow and any further decisions on treatment will be made over the coming weeks and months.”