A big ol’ moose was the belle of the ball at Eastern Washington University on Thursday night, when its short trek through campus was documented and shared for the world to see.
“We had a moose on the loose on the #EWU campus last night!” EWU Police tweeted early Friday morning. The 10-second video, taken from the seat of a police cruiser, showed the antlerless animal strolling through a patch of concrete and grass between Kingston Hall and Showalter Hall on campus.
The video’s director, Sgt. Elvin Bermudez, didn’t know at the time that the innocuous tweet would become somewhat viral. By Friday afternoon it had been viewed almost 9,000 times, with more than 130 retweets.
“I was shocked,” said Bermudez, who woke up from his swing shift to see it on the local news. “I guess he tried going to admissions and tried to register for the school.”
Bermudez, who has worked for EWU police since 2008 and has never seen a moose on campus, said calls from students referencing the animal came in at around 8:35 p.m. Once firmly on its tail, they followed it through the school and into Cheney at Third and B streets.
At that point, the Moose Chronicles were over, and Cheney police took jurisdiction.
“It was just hangin’ out,” Bermudez said. ”Strolling right through the park, just like all the other students. We just warned them there was a moose nearby.”
Staci Lehman, communications manager for the Eastern Washington region of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the officers did well: they stayed their distance and ensured the animal stayed a safe distance from students.
Upon watching the video, she couldn’t tell whether the moose was male or female. Or even if it was an adult or a calf, since even the babies can be rather big.
Regardless, she said it’s best to stay away, lest someone spooks it and causes it to panic.
“Generally, we tell the general public just stay away,” she said. “That’s common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people are taking selfies with wildlife.”
Lehman said while not rare to spot a moose hanging around civilization, their numbers in the county have been dwindling recently, mostly due to harsh winters. And ticks.
The little bloodsuckers, she said, can cling to the animal by the hundreds, or even thousands, at a time, gulping it dry.
“Sometimes they call them a ghost moose,” she said. “They’re very white.”
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