Idaho Fish and Game officials shooed a wayward, yearling cow moose from the Lewiston levee near the Tsceminicum statue across the mouth of the Clearwater River to Confluence Island this morning.
Dave Cadwallader, supervisor of the department’s Clearwater Region at Lewiston, said the young moose is likely on its own for the first time and mistakenly wandered into the city.
“It’s fairly typical,” he said. “These pregnant cows are dropping calves or getting ready to. This is the time of year they might run off their existing calves.”
Department officials plan to monitor the moose and hope it will choose to move further away from developed areas.
“It figured out how to get here, hopefully it will figure out how to get back,” said Cadwallader.
Moose and other wildlife that come into populated areas are sometimes tranquilized and then trucked to remote areas for release. Cadwallader said that isn’t the department’s first choice especially when animals are close to water. He said they were concerned this moose might flee to the river if it were darted and drown if it reached the water before the sedating drugs took effect.
Instead, they hazed it into the river and a Fish and Game boat and Nez Perce County boat herded it to the island.
“They are swimming fools,” he said. “Fortunately it pretty much made a beeline across the Clearwater and the heart of the confluence and got on that island.”
The Idaho-Washington state line runs through the western tip of the island which is separated from the northern shore of the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers by a small channel.
The Lewiston Police Department helped control traffic in the area during the operation that took place around 8:30 a.m.