A couple traveling in northern Ontario were treated to a rare sight of two white ‘spirit’ moose crossing a highway and were able to capture the scene on video.
Nicole Leblanc of Timmins, Ont., shared the video of the sighting on Facebook, which has gone viral with over 4.8 million views. “People are amazed. It’s not every day that you get to see [the moose] and I was able to tape it … it’s a beauty to see,” Leblanc told Canadian news station CTV-News.
While many assume the animals are albino, the rare moose—often referred to as “ghost” or “spirit” moose—are white as a result of the Armstrong White Gene Strain, a recessive gene strain named after Jane Armstrong, who discovered the first white moose in the area more than 40 years ago, according to Tourism Northern Ontario.
Sightings of the white moose typically occur between Foleyet and Timmins on Highway 101, the area where Leblanc and her husband spotted the two moose they captured on video.
In order to protect the rare moose, the province has banned the harvest of any moose that is more than 50 percent white-colored. The animals’ protected status is leading to the gene becoming a more dominant trait among the local moose population in the Wildlife Management Units of 30 and 31, an area near Timmins, Chapleau and Foleyet.
Get a closer look at the ‘spirit’ moose in the video embedded above.