The Fjordland moose or South Island moose is the name of a cryptid population of moose in the temperate forests of the Southern Alps of South Island, New Zealand. Between 1900 to 1910, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Richard Seddon, introduced moose from Saskatchewan, Canada into the Southern Alps of Hokitika to make hunting more “rewarding."
By the 1930s, it was thought that the introduced moose died out, but they were rediscovered again in 1952. By the late 1960s, they were declared extinct for a second time, and have continued to be considered extinct to the modern day. Contradicting this, however, is the various Fjordland moose sightings persisting into the 21st century.
The remarkably thick forests and steep mountainous terrain of the Southern Alps are ideal for moose and are certainly capable of hiding large animals from human detection. Due to their elusive nature, most accounts of still-surviving Fjordland moose are of footprints, calls, antlers and broken branches only the height a moose could make. The Only video of an alleged Fjordland moose was in 1995 by Ken Tustin with a trail camera (still image below). Many New Zealand Naturalists who have looked into the Fjordland moose's late survival consider it to be one of the more likely cryptids in New Zealand. A 2005 study found two separate fur samples thought to be of moose, one from 2001, the other, 2002, were analyzed and were both authentic moose fur.
One of the most recent moose sightings was on April 30th, 2020 by Ben Young, a man from Te Anau. He claimed that while he was with pilot Matt Deaker in his helicopter, which was flying low to the ground, he saw a moose in a clearing that was visible for a couple of seconds. Ben Young's sighting is particularly notable, as he is extremely familiar with moose, as he used to be a moose-hunting guide in British Columbia, making it unlikely he misidentified one of the seven ungulate species introduced in New Zealand.
A still of Ken Tustin's 1995 trail camera. Note the curved back distinctive of moose.
Two Fjordland moose photographed before