Saturday, March 25, 2023

The moose is loose: Wild moose distracts students amidst isolation and social distancing

Plattsburgh locals and Plattsburgh State students flocked toward Saranac River behind Memorial Hall on PSU’s campus Wednesday in an attempt to see a wild moose frolicking through the trees. 

“It’s the most exciting thing that’s happened this week,” senior Liam Mullings said. 

PSU’s Office of Emergency Management sent out a Cardinal Emergency Alert at 1:51 p.m., informing the campus community to shelter indoors immediately because the wild moose was in the vicinity of Memorial Field and approaching campus. 

Many students left after distance learning began across all SUNY schools. Those who are left are mostly international students or those with special circumstances. For these students, this was an interesting hunt to go on during a time of mass isolation. 

“That was the largest gathering of people we’ve had since the beginning of the quarantine,” Mullings said.

According to Mullings, about 50 students had gone on a trek to find the moose. They ran across Memorial Field and toward the trail that runs along the back of the university. 

Mullings said at first, he couldn’t believe there was a wild animal on campus. At the time of receiving the alert, Mullings was on a virtual Zoom call for international students. An administrator on the session began to stare out her window, concerning her colleagues, to which she replied, “I could have sworn I saw a horse running down my street.”

Hearing the commotion happening outside from inside his deFredenburgh dorm room, Mullings quickly left the building and followed the crowd. Off-campus students and residents began to fill the MacDonough Hall and Broadstreet Commons parking lots. They also began to whip out their phones to capture the rare moment. 

And to Mullings, it didn’t seem like an emergency at all. As a soccer player, he was anything but worried. 

“I thought, ‘If the moose comes, I know I’m faster than all the people down here, so I’ll be fine.’” Mullings laughed. 

While these students migrated across campus, the moose moved from location to location, and the OEM sent out another email at 3:01 p.m. stating, “the location of the moose is unknown at this time. The last location was south of campus. The shelter in place advice is lifted. Please be aware of your surroundings and seek shelter if necessary. We will advise when we are sure of an all-clear.”

Eventually, at 7:28 p.m., the moose was captured west of campus, tranquilized and rescued by State Police, Plattsburgh City Police, PSU Police and members of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It was relocated to a more rural location, and it is still unclear of the moose’s original origin before finding its way to PSU. 

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