The Wasatch Range in Utah is a beautiful spot for wedding photography, but it's vital to watch out for wildlife, as one couple learned the hard way recently. In a video shared online this week, the pair and a photographer can be seen setting up shots beside a lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon, seemingly unaware of a huge moose racing towards them.
They eventually spot the animal, but rather than moving away, they choose to carry on, which proves to be a poor choice. After a pause the moose charges, sending the three running, and the bride sprawling on the grass.
The video, which you can see below, was shared this week on infamous Instagram account TouronsOfNationalParks, which calls out bad or careless behavior at US National Parks and other sites of natural beauty around the world. such as people holding a ukulele singalong on the rim of the grand canyon, poking moose while drunk, and leading children onto slippery rocks by waterfalls.
A photo posted by on
Moose are generally curious rather than aggressive, but can be defensive in the spring when cows are protecting their young, and during the rutting season in the fall, when bulls are competing for dominance and the right to mate. The animal in the video above lacks visible antlers, which suggests it isn't a rutting male and may instead be a female guarding a calf.
Wildlife safety in Utah
Big Cottonwood Canyon is a scenic tourist destination with two ski resorts, and picturesque hiking and biking trails. It's also a rich habitat for wildlife, and home to over 120 species of birds and mammals according to the Forest Service.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) says there are between 2,500 and 3,000 moose in the state, with adults weighing between 600 and 1,000lb. Bulls can stand 6ft tall at the shoulder, and they can become aggressive if they feel threatened.
If you are approached by a moose, the DWR advises you to stay calm and not run away. Instead, talk to the animal, make your presence known, and move slowly away in the direction you came. If you are chased, get behind something solid like a tree, or get inside a vehicle or building.
"Like with most wildlife, if you give moose plenty of space and don't try to get too close, it will help keep you and them safe," says DWR Wildlife Section Chief Covy Jones. "Our biologists relocate numerous moose in urban areas every year, and we really want people to admire these amazing animals from a distance and stay safe."
For more advice, see our guides what to do if you see a moose, and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.