A Wild Moose Chase

In 1910 moose were released deep in New Zealand’s Fiordland in an attempt to set up a hunting herd. They flourished for a while, some were even shot, but then they died out. Or did they? One man, Ken Tustin, still believes they exist, hidden deep in the heart of Fiordland.

This is the story of his quest to solve one of New Zealand’s most mysterious secrets.

Produced by NHNZ

The story of how Natural History New Zealand Ltd shot the moose.

When naturalist Ken Tustin asked Natural History New Zealand Ltd for help in tracing moose which had been missing for 25 years, there was only one man for the job. After all, wasn’t Max Quinn the man who had brought us The Lost Whales, the story of Southern Right Whales, back from the brink of extinction? As far as they were concerned, it was Max’s film from day one.

Of course, before you film wildlife you have to find it. Ken hadn’t found it in 25 years, but he reckoned he knew where it was. In deepest Fiordland.

Max and Ken turned to technical wizard Ray Sharp. Ray put together some remote moose surveillance kits. The intrepid team then fixed their spy cameras on handy‑looking trees in the darkest, dampest bush, overlooking what they reckoned was moose country. Ray gave a cast‑iron guarantee on the pictures, but he hedged his bets on the subject matter.

Then came months of helicopter shuttling back and forth to some of the remotest parts of Fiordland you could ever despair of being lost in. Each trip involved finding the cameras again, changing batteries, retrieving and replacing film and videotape.

Max was tackling one of his most testing films to date, but he and Ray were just as caught up in the sleuthing as everyone else. What had started as a documentary had become a personal quest, especially as the evidence mounted.

Did they find the missing moose? You’ll have to wait for A Wild Moose Chase to find that out.

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