by Clayton Hoyle
Late last month, culinary arts professors at Southern Maine Community College were shocked to find a moose on campus while on their way inside in the twilight of the morning. The news of the moose did not take long to spread across the town of South Portland as signs and reports of a moose sighting had been made the day before. Many people gathered in the streets to see or get a quick picture or video of the moose.
After stopping by culinary, the moose made its way to Willard Beach to enjoy a nice walk on the sandy seaside. Meanwhile, South Portland Police were tracking it down. The animal remained on the SMCC campus for approximately two or three hours before he was tranquilized on Surfsite Road, and safely transported on a flatbed trailer by the Maine State Warden Service. The moose’s location was not released but is believed to have been moved to a more suitable environment, about an hour from the location where it was captured.
Experts say it is not uncommon for moose to make their way into town this time of year. In fact, this is only one of at least three reports of a moose making its way into a residential or commercial area in Maine in the last month.
Clarke Canfield, the director of communications at SMCC explained in an interview how the moose incident reached 61,927 views on SMCC social media, making it the highest viewed post by SMCC in over seven years. Another post made around four years ago, which also involved an animal, reached 50,000 viewers.
It took days of research, but after the interview with Canfield, I was able to track down the moose. Once I found the swampurban area he lived in, I rang his bell. He initially was not very pleased by this, but once he had some grass he seemed to simmer down a bit.
He requested that I keep his whereabouts anonymoose but was more than happy to talk with me. We sat at the edge of the woods and discussed his visit to town. “I wanted to meet up with my old friend Morris, who used to take classes at SMCC. He must have all online classes because I couldn’t seem to find him on campus,” Marco Moose explained when asked why he ventured to SMCC. “Once I got on campus early that morning I realized there was no hope in finding my deer friend, but I figured there was more to do at SMCC than just go off and hoof in my despair.
I made my way over to the culinary arts building and when I saw some of the professors pull up, I hoped that one of them might know where Morris was,” he said. Marco didn’t get much but worried looks when they saw him, so he figured he wouldn’t ask them, and moved on. He did say a very familiar smell came from the area of the culinary building but not a pleasant one. “It truly was an awful smell that reminded me of times up north that I didn’t enjoy, “ he said. That very scent was one of the reasons I decided to move to Southern Maine a few years ago.
So, I decided to take a walk on the beach and get my hooves sandy to help get my mind off of it, ” Marco said. As Marco and I talked, the recollections of his time on campus grew faint. After his walk on the beach, all he remembered was how people would not stop taking pictures of him, “I went around the back streets of South Portland, behind SMCC, where people began to record me and come out in large groups,” Marco said. “ I am a shy moose, so I didn’t really enjoy that much.” After we talked, he indicated that it was time to leaf and we went our separate ways.
Top: The moose at Willard Beach. Photo by
Bottom: Before reaching SMCC, the
moose visited the neighborhood community.
Photo by English Department chair Kevin