Why Boise Is A Livable City For Moose

Jun 11, 2014

The city of Boise likes to tout its livability to people looking to move in. It turns out, some of the same amenities that attract humans, might also make Boise look pretty attractive to a moose.  

That may have been the case for a young female moose that grabbed Boise's headlines Tuesday. Before Idaho Fish and Game officials tranquilized and relocated it, the yearling moose was dividing her time between east Boise’s Warm Springs Golf Course and the Greenbelt trail just across the Boise River from the course.

KTVB reporter Andrea Lutz tweeted this picture of the Boise moose after it had been tranquilized Tuesday afternoon.
Credit Twitter

Idaho Fish and Game regional wildlife manager Craig White says, like many people, a moose would see a golf course as prime real estate.

“The Warms Springs Golf Course is the perfect environment for a moose in the sense of the vegetation, the willows, the golf course with its water and green grass,” White says.  

He says it’s debatable how livable the Boise area would have been for moose before the city was built. The animals like water, and some probably would have lived along the Boise River, but they prefer rivers with a lot of adjacent wetland. They like to eat tree leaves and water plants that grow in nutrient rich swamps.

Moose are fairly common in North Idaho, but they do live in the Boise National Forest. White believes that’s where the moose in Boise came from. He says it probably walked about 20 or 30 miles, following the middle or south fork of the Boise River. That’s not particularly far for a moose to travel.   

“It would not be unusual to expect a large animal like that to pick up and go 40 or 60 or 80 miles,” White says.

Unlike deer and elk, moose are not social. They require a lot of space. Mothers tend to kick offspring out when they’re a year old. The yearlings then have to find their own territory. Sometimes they find that nearby, but sometimes they have to travel a long way to find someplace livable.

Find reporter Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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