Two young moose were orphaned after their mother was impaled on a fence spike near a Red Deer neighbourhood.
Sharon Fraser, who was out walking with a friend early Sunday morning, said they saw the twin calves wandering around, then spotted the mother where caution tape had already been strung up around the fence where the moose lay dead.
“We were looking for the mom and we didn’t expect to see that,” said Fraser, who was unsure if the animal was shot to put it out of its misery.
“I can’t image that would have been a quick death, stabbed through the leg and hanging. It was so upsetting. I’ve done nothing but think about it ever since.”
She said one of its back legs was impaled and the hoof was about two metres in the air. The rest of the moose had fallen into a patch of weeds inside the fenced lot, so it was difficult to see.
She did not know when the moose died, but someone must have reported it, since the caution tape was in place.
Fraser said she would like to see the spikes removed.
“There’s got to be a better option than that. If (the fence) is meant to keep the moose out, then make it eight feet tall.”
Fraser said the twin calves were each about a metre tall and one of them was limping. She wondered what would happen to them now.
Carol Kelly, executive director of Medicine River Wildlife Centre, which rehabilitates injured animals, said the young moose should be big enough to survive, even though their mom would have continued to wean them until about September.
“If they have gotten this far and don’t get mom’s milk anymore, they can do OK. It’s kind of border line, but it’s OK,” Kelly said.
“Nobody would be able to catch them.”
Red Deer would also have other moose families in the area that the young could join, she said.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife said they did not receive a report about the injured moose.
Erin Stewart, inspections and licensing manager with the city, said her department did not receive a report about the moose, but called it an unfortunate event.
“It’s brought to light that the city will review our fence standards within wildlife corridors and we’ll have to work with the developer who installed the fence to come to a solution that prevents this from occurring in the future,” Stewart said.
Kelly said a deer was similarly impaled in Red Deer one or two years ago.
“We have things that look nice to us, but become dangerous for wildlife.”
She said removing fence spikes would make it safer for wildlife. In fact, everyone should walk around their yards and look for hazards for both small and bigger wildlife.
But traffic is the biggest killer, especially for male moose during mating season in September.
“The rut is when we see so many hit on the road. The males are focused on one thing. They don’t even look at the road.”