Everyone knows that moose are brown, even if they have never seen one in person.
Big and brown. Even Bullwinkle, the famous cartoon Moose, is brown.
Moose calves can be very light in color when they are very young, even a bright tan, but they always turn brown as they grow. Always.
However, there is one place where moose don’t follow the rules… west of Timmins is a place that isn’t shown on any map.
We could call it “The White Elk Forest.”
Some locals call the ghostly inhabitants “Spirit Moose.” In this forest some of the elk are white. Yes, completely white.
The small town of Foleyet and Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park seem to be at the center of this White Elk Forest. Local people in this area have seen them, surprisingly, while driving on Highway 101. The superintendent of Ivanhoe Lake Park has seen them.
So if moose are supposed to be brown, why are some of these white?
Could there be an unusual number of albino moose? An albino animal, or even a person, lacks pigment in its hair, skin, and eyes.
However, these white moose have brown eyes…so they can’t be albino! Some of them have specks of brown fur and others have patchy white and brown fur.
It seems it’s all a matter of genetics.
The gene that controls their coat color usually makes them brown. In the case of white moose, this gene is deactivated, so it does not give any color to the fur, and that lack of color makes it appear white.
For some reason, there seem to be a lot of white elk around Lake Ivanhoe and Foleyet. If you visit the area, you are not guaranteed to see a white elk, but your chances are better here than anywhere else.
For more information about camping at Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park in the White Moose Forest, visit their website.