Moose in New Zealand?

It sounds almost funny when compared to the dramatic claims of rogue panthers wandering around the world terrorizing people, but there actually is a very real claim by some suggesting that there are rogue moose alive and kicking in New Zealand.  Though it sounds ridiculous, there actually was once a small moose population there when 10 were released into the wild in 1910.

The release of wild moose in the area resulted in at least one generation of the creatures as the last one was alleged to have been spotted and shot in 1952.  Since that time there have been several claims of Moose sightings, but none have been confirmed.  Since that time the subject of Moose in New Zealand has been left as a subject of cryptozoology.  But recently a trail-cam set by Ken and Margie Tustin back in 2009 in an attempt to capture images of the creatures they had been spotting around their farm, picked up an image of a Moose staring directly into the camera.  Or at least some say it’s a moose.

Older male moose traditionally have massive antlers on the sides of their heads while the younger ones often have underdeveloped nubs.  Older moose of both sexes also have understandably larger heads and broader necks.  The creature seen in the image taken by the trail cam appears to have a thin neck, although it does have the sloping nose typically associated with moose in their youth.  The whites of the eyes can be seen in the image which likely is a result of its surprise at suddenly having a camera flash in its face on a quiet night’s walk, but this doesn’t really help us either way as both moose and smaller deer native to New Zealand have comparable pupils.  In fact, Deer and Moose are actually both from the Deer family, though when someone sees a Red Deer or Chital they are most commonly referred to simply as deer.

If there actually were a moose population in New Zealand, such a species would have gone unnoticed in the general population for over 50 years.  And as a result, it would provide evidence that species such as Bigfoot, Skunk Ape, and Chupacabra could in theory exist in reasonable self sustaining populations without any hard evidence of their existence being provided for several years.  If a moose could do it, who’s to say a panther, which is far more capable of hiding and stalking its prey could not?  And given the number of eye witness reports there are of these creatures, it almost seems plausible that they could still to this day be roaming the countryside.

Of course it hasn’t been verified as a moose just yet.  Game hunters from all over the world as well as biologists are weighing in on the topic.  Ken Tustin, who says he’s received hundreds of emails since he first posted the image says approximately one third of those emailing him suggest it is likely a moose while the other two thirds say it might just be a deer with a strange muzzle deformation.