Canadians, officials have an important message for you: “Do not let moose lick your car.”
Yes, you read that right.
Officials in Jasper, an alpine town in Canada’s Alberta province, have put up signs asking motorists to avoid allowing moose to lick the salt, a treat moose find hard to resist, off their cars.
“They’re obsessed with salt, it’s one of the things they need for the minerals in their body,” Jasper National Park spokesman Steve Young told CNN. “They usually get it from salt lakes in the park, but now they realized they can also get road salt that splashes onto cars.”
At the Jasper National Park, where people often park on the side of the road in hopes of catching a glimpse of the moose, letting the animals near your car is actually a serious danger.
By allowing moose to lick the salt off your car, they will become habituated with being around cars. That poses a risk to both the animals and the drivers who can accidentally crash into them.
“Moose and cars are not a good mix. If you hit the moose with your car, you take the legs out from under it and it’s going through your windshield,” Young said.
The best way to stop a moose from coming close to your car is simply driving away when you see them approaching, he added.
Another important warning Young and other officials continue to emphasize is the importance of staying inside your car and avoiding any interactions with the wildlife, including moose.
While other animals typically run away when humans approach, moose will stand their ground and charge if they feel threatened.
“We’ve been seeing a lot more moose lately. The wolf population is decreasing, which means there’s fewer predators and the moose population is going up as a result,” Young said. “This also means people need to be respectful and give them space.”
Visitors are not allowed to feed, entice or disturb wildlife in national parks and violators could face fines up to $25,000, he added.