Idaho puts albino moose off-limits to hunters

Posted: Friday, October 18, 2002

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - A group of eastern Idahoans smitten by a white moose have persuaded the state to make the animal off-limits to hunters.

Steve Huffaker, director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, made an emergency order last week making it illegal to shoot the albino cow moose, which has been spotted with a black calf on private land in southeastern Idaho. The moose hunting season opened Tuesday.

The move came after the Fish and Game Commission received calls and petitions from residents near Soda Spring pleading for the animal's protection.

Albino moose have been showing up in the area for several years, said Dale Toweill, trophy species manager for the fish and game department.

Normally, only 1 in 100,000 moose have the albino trait, which is recessive. But the gene appears to run in the herd in southeastern Idaho, where Toweill theorizes the probability of an albino moose may be 1 in 10,000.

Alaska game officials voted in August to protect a rare white bear in Juneau after concerned residents flooded them with e-mails and phone calls. The Alaska Board of Game will consider making the prohibition permanent at its meeting in Juneau on Nov. 1-7.

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