It sounds like a sitcom storyline aimed to poke fun of Canadians, but Alberta Parks has issued a sincere warning about moose licking vehicles in Kananaskis.
The warning, issued Monday, explains moose have been spotted in the Chester Lake and Burstall Pass trailhead parking lots trying to lick salt from the sides of vehicles.
“All animals have a natural need for salt because it is an important component in their blood,” Dr. Doug Whiteside at the Calgary Zoo said.
Animals will lose salt throughout the day and need to replenish that in order to maintain good health.
“In the wild, animals (like moose) will replace that salt through their diets, and if there is not a natural source of salt available they will find an alternate source, like the salt from the roads on the vehicles.”
The warning goes on to remind visitors the recommended viewing distance for moose is 30 metres, and that you should not try to push moose away from vehicles. Instead visitors are told to use their car horns or remote car alarms to deter moose away.
David Kay, head of Commercial Wildlife and Priority Species for the Alberta government, could not say how many moose-licking incidents have been reported this year.
Kay said he doubts this is something that is often reported, but Alberta Parks does know it happens every year, as moose can be known to be opportunistic when it comes to finding sources for salt.
There is no end date to the warning.