- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

STANWOOD, Iowa (AP) - Officials in eastern Iowa say a moose trekking through the area could be the same creature spotted a few months ago.

Eric Wright, a conservation officer with the state Department of Natural Resources, said the creature seen recently in Cedar County could be the same one spotted around Linn County in December.

“We’ve had reports here and there throughout the last two, three months,” he told The Associated Press. “It’s all within a 25-mile radius.”

Wright said the moose has shed its antlers, so it’s difficult to do a comparison. But a moose in Iowa is a rare occurrence that happens once every five to six years.

“There’s no guarantee, but most likely,” he said. “We just don’t get that many moose wandering in.”

Cedar County Chief Deputy Kevin Knoche told the Quad-City Times (http://bit.ly/1lzqogu ) that officials began receiving reports Tuesday of the moose near Stanwood.

Wright said there’s some concern about the moose’s survival if it continues south. That’s because it could enter a more populated area with cars or it could fall victim to brain worms from contact with whitetail deer.

“It doesn’t appear to be weak or showing any symptoms. … It appears to be healthy,” he said.

Wright said the cold weather could also be a factor in why the moose is hanging around Iowa.

“It has been cool and snowy, and typically moose come from areas that are colder climate,” he added.

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Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com