Moose in Canada have been observed by both drivers and local authorities to be engaging in an unusual salt-seeking activity: licking cars and salted roads. As a result, Canadian Park officials issued a warning for motorists to keep driving when a moose approaches their vehicle. This move is expected to discourage the salt-seeking animals from going to dangerous highways where they can be injured or killed.
This bizarre yet common behavior of moose licking cars has occurred in Canada in previous years. However, the current North American winter season saw the return of this phenomenon as the animals attempt to replenish their high salt intake for bodily functions. Experts point out that animals require some salt to survive and for extra minerals like sodium, which is essential to the central nervous system.
Moose Lick Cars
(Photo : Photo by Zachery Perry on Unsplash)
Since Canadian winter since December has blanketed some of the landscape with snow and ice, the availability of salt. Unlike the winter months, summer provides animals like moose access to salt, including from greenery and plants. With this, the large mammal herbivores are drawn to salt applied to roads to de-ice this infrastructure during the winter.
Based on reports over the weekend, Parks Canada announced to try not to let moose lick cars, as this is the time of the year when the wild animal risks its life just to find salt along highways to feed their high salt intake.
According to the country’s national parks agency, moose are trekking highways to lick salt off roads and passing vehicles. While the phenomenon seems not a big deal, researchers from the parks agency assert that the increased presence of moose also means increased vehicle collisions.
This is the case every winter in Canada, where the wildlife agency issues warnings as wild moose venture to roads and highways to satisfy their salt intake.
Also Read: Moose Drool Undermines Toxic Fungus in Plants
Moose Population Conservation
While there is definitely a correlation between weather and salt, the struggle of moose during the cold months saw the real-time effect of the North American winter season and the potential need for alternative options to ensure the protection and survival of moose.
The moose population is of conservational significance in Alaska and Canada, where the risk of moose-vehicle collisions is a growing concern. In a 2022 study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, scientists confirm that most collisions occur during the winter, especially at a time when an area is dark and covered by deep snow.
Moose are the largest animal species of the deer family. They can be found in the northern parts of the United States, from Maine to Washington state, and across Canada and into Alaska. These hoofed animals are limited to cold climates and are vulnerable to predators such as bears and wolves, as well as parasitic brain worms, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
Related Article: More Moose On The Move As They Invade Warmer Alaskan Tundra
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