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Joint Safety Project Keeping YXS Airport Moose-Free

wildlife conservation at YXS airport

Link: Exerpts from the News library of the UNBC University of Northern British Columbia website, March 4, 2021

What to do when a moose decides to move into the Prince George airport lands? Well, a little collaboration between multiple partners helps get the moose a new, safer home.

UNBC researcher Dr. Roy  Rea has wildlife cameras situated around the airport, for just such an event as this one in the early Spring of 2021.  A bull moose triggered the camera trap on the airfield side of the security fence.  The theory is that the moose likely gained access through a gate that was left open in a storage compound.

“UNBC and the PGAA have collaborated on a wildlife monitoring and research project since 2007. Beginning in 2009, Rea and his students set up cameras around the airport’s property and kept an eye on everything from coyotes to bears to lynx. However, a moose was a rare and alarming discovery.

When Rea’s cellular wildlife camera spotted the moose and sent an image immediately to his cell phone, he quickly contacted PGAA Manager of Operations Trevor Gust and they began to develop a plan.”

A number of tactics were tried to get the moose to move out including a one-way wildlife gate, and herding with a Yellowhead Helicopters aircraft in the hopes of encouraging it to move on to a better location.

“In the meantime, the team developed a plan in concert with Yellowhead Helicopters, the Conservation Officer Service and government moose biologists to tranquillize the moose and move it off the site. They also knew that if the moose became a safety threat they would have to euthanize it.”

“Once they found the exact location of the moose again, the PGAA and a group of provincial government employees sprang into action. They brought the airport fire trucks out, in case the moose started moving towards any runways they could use the sirens to scare it away. Then they hopped on quads and were able to gently move the moose out through an opening they created in the fence in the southwest corner of the grounds.”

To reduce the chances of another moose incursion, or any other wildlife into airside, another level of fencing will be added to that area and additional cameras added.

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