A 500-pound moose with a taste for city lights was tranquilized in Manito Park Friday afternoon and earned a new nickname: Two Timer.
The sleek 2-year-old male also was seen in north Spokane near Spokane Falls Community College on Thursday, state wildlife officials said.
He also could be the moose they had to move out of Chewelah last year, said Ray Kahler of the State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Moose sightings on Spokane’s fringes aren’t unusual. But it is rare for one to make it all the way to Manito Park, in the heart of the urban South Hill.
“I’ve been 27 years on the job and this is my first moose call,” said Spokane Fire Department Lt. Jim Parks.
Law enforcement officials cordoned off a large area near the park’s main entrance on Grand Blvd., where the moose had been resting all day in a small stand of shrubs and pines.
Schoolchildren gawked from a roped-off hill. Police watched traffic on nearby streets. About 4 p.m., veterinarian Luther McConnell shot Two Timer in the right haunch with a tranquilizer dart.
“We had to get him out of the park. Someone can be injured or killed by an animal this big,” said Joe Stapleton, Spokane Fire Department battalion chief.
The moose flinched when the dart hit him, then bolted. He trotted west, then veered south, wobbling and collapsing at the corner of 18th and Division about 20 feet from the Manito duck pond.
Park officials were relieved he fell on the lawn and not in the pond, which has a 7-foot-deep hole close to where he went down.
“We were very lucky. We worried about the pond,” said Taylor Bressler, Spokane parks manager.
Wildlife biologists kept the moose cool by spraying him with a hose until a double-wide horse trailer arrived to take him off to Ferry County, where they think he’s from.
All afternoon, moose sightings caused excitement on the South Hill.
Neighbors snapped photos. Roosevelt Elementary School officials cut recess short when they heard a moose was in the neighborhood.
“They started blowing whistles and hustled us in,” said Alex Biel, 11, a Roosevelt fifth-grader who raced to the park after school with brother Aaron, 9, to watch the moose drama unfold.
Manito Park staff at first hoped the moose could wander away unmolested when they discovered him early Friday morning.
But when he stayed put and crowds of people gathered, they called in the state wildlife team.
Before the slumbering moose left the park, the rescue team wrote “Two Timer” on his antler tags “to remind us that he likes to travel,” said veterinarian Katherine Burnett.
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