Last week the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) posted a picture of two rare white moose to its Facebook page. Ron Terry, who sent in the photo, believes it was taken near Mine Center, Ontario. The photo has actually been circulating through the internet for several years and other accounts place it in Michigan or Wisconsin. While it is not known if the moose are true albinos or simply have a white coat, it was still a once-in-a-lifetime sighting.

“The odds of seeing an albino moose are astronomical near Mine Center, Ontario,” Ron Terry wrote to the RMEF. “To see two of them together is nearly impossible. We wanted to share these photos with as many people as possible because you will probably never have a chance to see this rare sight again. This is a really special treat, so enjoy the shots of a lifetime!”

White moose are more than just rare in Canada, they are sacred animals according to some First Nation customs. The Mi’kmaq people of Nova Scotia consider the animals especially important. At one time moose provided a main source of meat for the Mi’kmaq, who placed great cultural significance on the hunt. A white moose was seen as a spiritual animal and traditionally off-limits to hunters. When a group of visiting hunters took a large albino bull in Nova Scotia last year, the hunters brought the hide back to the local Mi’kmaq to take part in a special ceremony.

Elk can also be white. Here are two bulls from Utah's Logan Canyon.
Elk can also be white. Here are two bulls from Utah’s Logan Canyon.

“We see an albino moose once in a while but it is not a common sight,” RMEF Director of Science Planning Tom Toman wrote OutdoorHub in an email. “I worked for Wyoming Game and Fish for 25 years before coming to the RMEF, and the last 20 years were in Jackson Hole where some of the largest moose herds are found in the state. I only saw one white cow moose [in that time].”

Other ungulates, especially deer, are sometimes seen in both white and albino varieties. Even healthy creatures with this condition rarely survive into adulthood, as their white color often makes them easy targets for predators.

Updated on 5-14-2014 for accuracy.

Images courtesy Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

  • Tiger

    Beautiful!

  • thr33guns

    I’m sure they’re racists.

  • 9Spoon9

    Albinism
    and the “piebald” effect range throughout North America’s various
    cervidae populations. I’ve heard some states
    prohibit the taking of such animals which I find totally contrary to
    the true meaning of Conservation. A deers a deer, an elk an elk and
    a moose a moose regardless of their pigmentation or outward skin/hair
    tones. Since they are more easily seen than other “normal”
    animals of their kind, they are often more easily targeted by
    predators. Why should a one or pack of cannines or a large cat be
    privy to that which I could eat? I’d be “pickled tink” to have
    the opportunity to put my tag on one of these unusal critters with
    the same enthusiam I get from taking the run of the mill animal. I’m
    a life-long omnivore heavily centered on the carniverous side. There
    are not a lot of finer eats than wild venison. My apologies to the
    other readers for the shoot / don’t shoot but I have yet to find a
    recipe for making antler stew.

  • Wayne Hooper

    I saw those pictures years ago. They were sent to me by a fellow hunter. Im positive he said they were in Northern Maine.
    18

    • Deltabullcan

      Yep, thats pretty funny…I received them three times over the past several years…One claimed Wi, One the Upper Penn of Michigan and can’t remember the third….Some people need attention I guess…William RothMi

      • txbhunter1

        We have quite a few white and piebald deer in WI. To me a white deer, elk of moose takes me back to that superstition of the white buffalo. I won’t even think about dropping one. The piebalds are another story.