The Last Moose in Kaunas

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August 20th 2007
Published: August 20th 2007
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I went to Akropolis, the mega-mall here in Kaunas, to see the film ‘La Vie En Rose’, a film about Edith Piaf, the famous French singer from the early 20th century. I went to the film with Jolanta, my girlfriend’s sister. And it was on our ride home that Jolanta told me the story of the last moose in Kaunas……

Not so long ago there were many deer and moose that lived in the forest across the highway on the outskirts of Kaunas. Viktorija and Jolanta grew up on Asygilys Street, a street that parallels highway A1, the main highway in Lithuania going from Vilnius (the capital) through Kaunas, to Klaipeda on the Baltic Coast. On one side of this highway is Kaunas—high-rise apartments, trolleybuses, taxis, concrete sidewalks and parking lots—and on the other side of the highway is a dense forest. There is a footbridge crossing the highway that connects the city to the forest, and in the summer the forest is a popular place to be, whether it is to pick blueberries or hazelnuts, to go for a stroll, to collect fresh water in big jugs from the fresh springs in the forest, or to go hunting for mushrooms.

Jolanta says it was about six years ago that, somehow, a moose from across the way made its way into Kaunas, and, somehow, made its way inside one of the apartment buildings nearby. Though I am unsure of the details, apparently someone had left the front door to the building open and the moose just walked inside. It found itself trapped in the stairwell of this apartment building.

For those of you who don’t like unhappy endings, you should stop reading this entry now.

For whatever reason, the tenants in the building did not call animal control or the zoo or the police. They took the matter into their own hands. One of the tenants shot the moose dead, in the stairwell. Just picturing a moose in an apartment building gives me a funny and sad feeling, like the ultimate symbol of man vs nature.

To Jolanta’s knowledge, no moose have since been spotted in or around Kaunas (though there are still moose, as well as wild pigs and lots of other interesting animals, living in Lithuania).


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