Residents of the Polish city of Elbląg were treated to an unusual sight today when a moose was spotted wandering around the rooftop car park of a shopping centre.
The animal, looking rather confused, was shown on a video published on Tuesday morning by local news outlet portEl and later widely shared on social media.
Łoś „zaparkował” na dachu Centrum Handlowego Ogrody #Elbląg.u
Nie dostał mandatu😉
Łoś już jest bezpieczny.
Pytanie, jak się dostał na dach centrum nadal jest zagadką pic.twitter.com/GAXfOGol1V
— Monika Falej (@FalejMonika) April 26, 2022
Municipal police confirmed that they had responded to reports of a moose on the loose early this morning. While officers were en route to the street where the animal had been sighted, they were then informed it was now atop the shopping centre.
They cordoned off the area and summoned a veterinarian to the scene. He sedated the moose and, with the help of firefighters, was able to remove it to a nearby forest, where it will be released.
Asked about how the animal had accessed the roof of the shopping centre, police spokeswoman Iwona Łojewska told Polsat News that, because there is a parking lot there, it had most likely entered using the same access route as cars.
The Eurasian moose (or elk in British English) has long been native to Poland, but by the mid-20th century the animal had been driven close to extinction in the country.
However, its population has subsequently recovered, reaching an estimated 6,000 by the 1980s and 30,000 by 2019 (helped by a moratorium on hunting moose introduced in 2001).
That growth in numbers, as well as the expansion of urban areas and deforestation, has meant that moose more often come into contact with humans, including by entering towns and cities.
As a result, some have called for hunting to again be permitted. In 2017, the then environment minister, Jan Szyszko, announced that he would lift the moratorium, saying that moose cause damage to crops and a danger to drivers. However, he soon reversed the decision after a public outcry.
Main image credit: portEl/Facebook (screenshot)
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.