We're actually a little surprised that this needs to be a warning, but wildlife is taken very seriously in Jasper, and here we are. Combine that with some tasty winter treats and you end up with roadside warning signs like this one we saw on Twitter that has one of the stranger flashing messages we've ever seen on a sign.
Do not let moose lick your car.
A simple message, but an important one. And one that's wonderfully Canadian.
The sign was put up on Maligne Lake Road, one of the scenic drives through Jasper National Park that puts visitors in close — sometimes too close — contact with the large antlered animals.
It started as an occasional issue in the park, with moose entering roadways to lick road salt, which is apparently a delicacy for them, and it's become an even bigger issue when vehicles approach moose standing or even kneeling on the roadway and the moose move in for some of that salt that's slowly eating away at vehicle fenders. That's what park spokesman Steve Young told the Jasper Fitzhugh.
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The park already has a new policy, enacted this year, that requires visitors to stay in their vehicles when there are wildlife near roadways. Persons in the park must stay 100 metres from bear, cougar, or wolves, and 30 m from elk, moose, caribou, sheep, or goat, unless you're in a vehicle that's allowed to be where it is at that moment.
Feeding or enticing the moose is a big fine, and while we certainly hope people already know this, the parks service doesn't think so. Feeding moose puts both them and other people in danger and it's not safe for them to be near roadways.
So don't let moose lick your car. Even if they look really sad or hungry. Unless they insist, though, because it's not exactly easy to dissuade a 700-kg moose if they really want to do something.