Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

Canadian Albino Moose Needs Protection from Hunters

A rare Albino moose is roaming around Fort St. John in British Columbia. Admirers fear she may become a target of trophy hunters.

A Fort St. John woman wants a rare "majestic" moose roaming wild in the area protected by virtue of its skin colour.

Joan Evans, 54, and co-worker Lynn Chisholm first spotted the snow-white creature in October last year off the side of a road north of town.

"She was grazing and nibbling on willow branches," she said. "The sun was hitting it and you can see her ears are pink. She's a very majestic animal."

Albinism, a genetic condition caused by a recessive gene, is extremely rare in moose populations, occurring in one out of 100,000. Albino moose tend to have poor eyesight and various health problems. They're also easy targets for predators because their colour provides little camouflage.

The once-in-a-lifetime glimpses of the two-and-a-half year old cow moose have residents abuzz, especially after it's been seen recently in the company of twin brown calves.

Jeff Ginter, acting operations manager of the area's Conservation Officer Service, said it is not illegal to hunt albino moose in BC.

Some don't really want to give the moose special treatment.

Justina Ray, executive director of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, said conservation is not about individual animals.

"Just because it looks cool doesn't mean it's a great service for the population," she said.

"You want to make sure . . . you're not bringing something inadvertently negative on a population.

It's only one moose. Gee, Justina, if you only had a heart....

Photo by Mita.

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