Earlier this week, a moose hunter near Oslo shot a wolf that attacked his dog. Now a hunting team in Northern Norway has shot and killed a moose and her calf who were on display in a local zoo, after the hunters’ dog had intruded into their fenced enclosure.
Moose hunting season began this month, and there already have been some serious accidents. In this case, reported state broadcaster NRK, the hunters actually shot through the fence of the Polar Park zoo, to kill what they apparently thought were moose roaming freely.
Instead they killed two of the five moose that were part of the Polar Park’s collection of animals native to the area.
“I was astonished, and the first moments after the shooting were quite unreal,” the manager of the Polar Park in Troms County, Heinz Strathmann, told NRK. “I think this is very sad, it’s just not right at all. We had five moose. Now we only have three.”
Local authorities call the shooting “an unfortunate accident that occurred in connection with legal hunting outside the park,” according to Arne Nysted of the state wildlife agency Viltnemnda. “It’s an accident that can’t be corrected, but everyone understands that this was not at all intentional.”
The hunting team had alerted Nysted themselves after they discovered their fatal error. “Now it’s up to the police to investigate how this happened,” Nysted told NRK. “I don’t want to speculate.”
Katrine Grimnes of the sheriff’s office in Målselv said police had talked with the hunters and visited the scene. “We have a picture of what the hunters saw and what the area is like,” she said, declining further comment until the hunters had undergone questioning.
The park, billed as the world’s most northerly zoo, has already signalled that it will claim compensation for the two moose, and they are working to replace the two they lost as quickly as possible.
After another moose hunter shot a female wolf in Oslo’s eastern forest on Tuesday, environmental organizations are demanding that hunters keep their dogs on a leash. Wolves are a protected species in Norway, and the shooting that ultimately killed the wolf was called especially unfortunate because she is believed to be the mother of two pups born last spring. It’s now also uncertain whether they’ll survive.