ATHOL, Idaho - People in the Athol and Spirit Lake areas are concerned about a moose that has had some sort of lid stuck around its neck for at least five months.
The moose was first spotted with the object around its neck in July 2019, according to Idaho Fish and Game.
"Who knows how she got it," said Barb Moore, a Regional Wildlife Biologist with Idaho Fish and Game.
Moore said it looks like it could be a lid from a 55-gallon drum, or something similar.
Moore said many residents have reached out to the department out of concern for the animal. Neighbors like Colette Weber, who sees the moose on her Athol property daily, speculated the object may be a collar used by wildlife agencies to track animals.
Moore said that is not the case.
"It does not remotely look like a radio collar," she said.
Further, Moore said Idaho Fish and Game has not collared any moose in North Idaho in recent years.
Washington's Department of Fish and Wildlife has, but Moore said she is confident that is not what is around this moose's neck.
Residents like Weber are urging Fish and Game to tranquilize the moose so the lid can be removed. Fish and Game officers said they have tried in recent weeks to make plans to dart the animal, but no longer believe that is the best course of action.
"It's not appearing to restrict her ability to move or eat, or do anything she needs to do," said Moore. "It's something that might be a slight annoyance, but she's likely gotten used to it."
Additionally, tranquilizing the moose creates a risk to both the animal and the officers.
Officers must get relatively close to the moose -- within 30 yards, Moore said -- in order to use a tranquilizing dart. If the moose were to react aggressively, it could put the officers in danger. The drug itself is also potentially deadly to humans, Moore pointed out.
"It's not something that we want her to continue to wear," said Moore.
But, she said the department has no immediate plans to tranquilize the animal.
"Given that she has been wearing it for that length of time and appears to be in good body condition, she's not skinny, it's not affecting what she needs to do to survive," Moore said.
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