A rare moose sighting was reported by residents living near the North Platte River Valley along the Nebraska Panhandle.

Officials of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission confirmed the accounts of locals, stating that a moose was spotted on numerous occasions roaming around the area for the past few weeks. The latest recorded sighting was in Morrill County.

According to wildlife experts, moose are not part of the local game in the Nebraska Panhandle. They believe that the moose in the reports possibly have wandered into the river valley from the neighboring state of Wyoming.

One theory suggests that the animal could have gotten lost while looking for food or it could have been forced out of its natural habitat by other adult moose as part of a territorial dispute.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission have launched a search for the wayward animal in order to ensure the safety of residents as well as to return the moose to its natural habitat.

Locals and wildlife watchers have been strongly advised to keep their distance from the animal if encountered. While moose typically appear calm and docile initially, they have been known to quickly become aggressive especially when agitated.

In 2008, a similar sighting was reported in the Wild Cat Hills. A young bull moose wandered for days along the North Platte River and Scottsbluff. The moose subsisted on the sunflower fields near Minatare until it reached Lake Minatare itself. Locals last saw it making its way to Marsland.

Natural Moose Habitat

The western region of the United States has long been known for its diverse and free-roaming wildlife. These animals commonly make their home in the many state panhandles in the area including the Nebraska Panhandle.

What makes the moose sighting in Nebraska rare is that moose typically prefer habitats with cooler climate. In study by the United States Forests Service, these places include Wyoming, the Colorado Rockies, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.

Moose also go where there is much to eat. They usually can be found near boreal or mixed-conifer forests where rich vegetation exists.

Photo: USFWS Mountain-Prairie | Flickr

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