A hunter in Norway recently shot two massive moose, yet moments later realized he had shot through a zoo fence, killing animals that were in an enclosure.
The killings, which happened at Polar Park Arctic Wildlife Center, have many in rural areas rethinking the placement of zoos near hunting grounds.
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"This is a regrettable mistake made in connection with lawful hunting on the outside of the park," Arne Nysted, chairman of the wildlife tribunal in Troms County, Norway, told the Norwegian news service The Local. "It was a fatal error, but everyone understands that it was not done at all on purpose."
Apparently the hunters' dogs somehow managed to get into the zoo's moose enclosure, and excitedly informed their owners that they had found plenty of desirable prey.
The dogs chased the moose. In the heat of the moment, one of the hunters discharged his weapon, only to realize seconds later what he had just done.
The hunters themselves reported the mistake to the local authorities.
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"We have spoken to the hunting party, been out and stood at the place which he shot from, and formed a picture of what he would have seen and what the area looks like," Katrine Grimnes from the police in the nearby town of Målselv, said.
As for officials at the zoo, they were stunned.
Heinz Strathmann is the chief executive of the zoo, which is located north of the town of Narvik, Norway.
"I reacted with disbelief, and the first few seconds afterwards were pretty unreal," Strathmann said. "I think this is very sad, and it's not OK. We had five elks (species referred to as moose in North America), now we have only three."
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Grimnes told CNN that the punishment would likely be a fine, but other such mistakes have resulted in prison time in the past. The Norwegian Environmental Agency instructs that hunters must be over the age of 16, with residents required to take a proficiency test and demonstrate that they are adept at handling firearms.
Because the shootings were a mistake, the zoo is only asking for money, but moose are not cheap, even in locations where they are relatively plentiful. In this circumstance, there are additional costs, too.
As Strathman told CNN, "We have to buy two new moose, the cost of the vet, autopsy, transportation and destruction." He added that a moose costs about 30,000 Krone ($3,500) to purchase.