Hunters in Norway shot and killed two moose, only to discover the animals were inside a nearby zoo.
The incident, while only recently reported, occurred on Oct. 7. According to The Local, the hunters’ dogs managed to get inside the moose’s enclosure at the Polar Park Arctic Wildlife Center and gave chase, leading the hunters to believe the moose were wild. The zoo, which covers more than 220 square miles, states online that it displays its animals “in their natural habitat.”
The hunters immediately contacted the zoo and reported their mistake.
“I reacted with disbelief, and the first few seconds afterwards were pretty unreal,” said Polar Park CEO Heinz Strathmann.
Arne Nysted, chairman of the wildlife tribunal in nearby Troms County, said the incident was a “regrettable mistake made in connection with lawful hunting on the outside of the park,” and doesn’t believe the hunters should be punished.
However, Polar Park told The Local it plans to demand compensation for the lost elk. The accident leaves three moose, known as elk in Europe, left alive, and the zoo said it has begun looking for animals to replace the two killed. According to CNN, the cost for two moose is about $7,000.
Police from the nearby town of Målselv have refused comment until the hunters have been interviewed further.