GRAND FORKS — A moose was on the loose on the University of North Dakota campus, UND Police tweeted Tuesday, Sept. 3.
#UNDAlert: Please be aware that there is a moose that has wondered into the @UofNorthDakota Campus area. We are doing our best to get this animal back to the wild. This situation is also currently contained. #BestCopsAround pic.twitter.com/iB46QeALkm— University of North Dakota Police (@UNDPoliceDept) September 3, 2019
It was in Memorial Stadium Tuesday, where UND football players say they were shocked to see the animal in their space.
The moose arrived on campus around 8 a.m., UND Police Lt. Danny Weigel said.
UND officials reported that they believe the moose got in through a gate left open for football practice at Memorial Field.
The moose was released back into the wild alive just before 9 p.m., UND Police tweeted.
#MooseUpdate: We are happy to announce that #MrsMoose has been released back into the wild near Grand Forks County. Thank you to everyone who stayed out of the area & to the professionals at the Chahinkapa Zoo for their support & assistance. #BestCopsAround #UNDProud pic.twitter.com/5akYuAx1H8
#MooseUpdate: We are happy to announce that #MrsMoose has been released back into the wild near Grand Forks County. Thank you to everyone who stayed out of the area & to the professionals at the Chahinkapa Zoo for their support & assistance. #BestCopsAround #UNDProud pic.twitter.com/5akYuAx1H8— University of North Dakota Police (@UNDPoliceDept) September 4, 2019
It was released near Grand Forks County. The police thanked everyone for staying out of the way and also gave a shoutout to the Chahinkapa Zoo for its assistance and support.
A video tweeted from the UND Police Department shows the back of a trailer being opened and the moose walking out on its own into a field. Weigel said he didn't know how the animal was brought into the trailer, noting more details would be available in the morning.
Jim Job, outreach biologist with the North Dakota Department of Game and Fish, said while it's not uncommon for moose to be spotted in the area, it is unusual for one to end up in the center of town.
"It's not uncommon at all; it's just uncommon for them to wander into town," said Job, adding that moose have walked into nearly all of the state's major cities, including Fargo, Minot and Bismarck.
"Moose are just generally wanderers," Job said. "They will sometimes walk miles a day just wandering around, so I'm guessing that's what happened here. This one just wandered in. We do have some spots in town that are just like their natural habitat so he probably just wandered into town and ended up on the campus."
If people see a moose, whether in town or in a field, Job said it's best for everyone to stay away. There already have been reports of people rattling the fence trying to spook the animal.
UND officials said they talked to Game and Fish, which identified the animal as a female moose that appears to be in good health.
"They are wild animals," Job said. "Especially if they're in town, they're already going to be a little nervous with all the traffic and people running around already. Definitely don't want to corner a wild animal or make it feel like it's cornered. Definitely keep your distance because they are very large animals and, if they do feel threatened, they could react."