‘Hard to believe’: Western Arctic community marvels at moose sighting – North

James Ruben Jr., of Paulatuk, N.W.T., had only seen moose on TV.

That was until earlier this week, when he heard from an elder about two moose wading in the Arctic Ocean.

Inuvialuit artist James Ruben spotted two moose in the Arctic Ocean: ‘It’s hard to believe, to see moose that close to the community!’ says Ruben. (Submitted by James Ruben)

“It’s hard to believe, to see moose that close to the community!” said Ruben. “I just had to grab my camera!”

Paulatuk, N.W.T., population 300, sits on the shore of Darnley Bay, some 100 kilometres northeast of the treeline.

On Monday, Ruben and other community members flocked to the water’s edge, capturing rare images of moose wading in the Arctic Ocean.

“I wouldn’t call them lost,” laughed Ruben.

“The bugs are pretty bad. That could have scared them off this way.”

‘Not totally outrageous’

Moose typically live in the boreal forest feeding off leaves, twigs and stems from trees, depending on the season. They’re also known to eat shrubs, including Arctic willows.

Paulatuk lies on the Arctic Ocean, about 100 km north of the treeline. (CBC)

Dennis Murray, a biology professor and Canada Research Chair at Trent University, isn’t shocked to hear about the sighting.

“It’s certainly surprising but not totally outrageous,” said Murray, who has studied moose in Ontario.

He explained that young animals, like this young bull moose, sometimes travel outside their usual range.

“The easiest explanation is that they are just curious animals,” he said.

“They are reaching those teenage years. They want to investigate their surroundings.”

Wandering 100 kilometres north of the treeline isn’t a stretch for the long-legged animals, said Murray.

“They are big animals so they need a fair bit of biomass, a fair bit of vegetation to be ingested per day so they have to be sampling all kinds of things,” he said. That can include wildflowers and Labrador tea.

“It’s certainly not a high quality diet. There’s no doubt…

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