NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – While moose are not native to New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish says moose have made their way to the state over the past few years.

“We’ve had just a handful of sightings over the last dozen years or so. It’s getting less and less rare but it is still uncommon,” said Darren Vaughan communications director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

In September, a moose was reported north of Santa Fe near Tesuque, New Mexico. It was then captured near Grant Avenue and Rosario Boulevard after it was reported near Santa Fe’s Fort Marcy Park. The moose was relocated to a habitat in northern New Mexico and was spotted near Abiquiu Lake. Vaughan said there is a possibility that the same moose was spotted in New Mexico near Ski Santa Fe in 2022.

Officials believe the moose came to New Mexico from Colorado possibly in search of a mate. “Apparently he keeps looking,” Vaughan said jokingly. Another reason the moose may have come to New Mexico is because of issues with its herd. “It could be that he got muscled out of the herd by a bigger moose as he was looking for a mate,” Vaughan explained.

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Vaughan warned people to keep their distance if they encounter a moose. “Moose can be aggressive when they get spooked. But also it’s a safety issue for the animal itself. You know, if it gets spooked, it could take off running anywhere,” he said. Vaughan also reminded people that moose are illegal to hunt in New Mexico.

If you see a moose that could pose a danger to people, call the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish at 888-248-6866.