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Wildlife experts dismiss call for charges in death of moose that drowned at N.B. beach
SHEDIAC, N.B. -- The sight was a novelty for beachgoers -- a young bull moose on the sand and in the water at popular Parlee Beach in Shediac, N.B.
For the moose, however, it was stressful. To avoid the crowd, it swam for hours, became exhausted and drowned.
"You have to remember that these animals are wild, and they are hardwired a little bit differently than we are," said Barry Rothfuss of the Atlantic Wildlife Institute. "They are geared to survive in the environments that they are coming out of."
Rothfuss gets thousands of calls to help injured animals every year. He says there are a number of policies and laws on the books aimed at preventing humans from interacting with wildlife.
In the case of the moose, Rothfuss says he doesn’t think anyone maliciously tried to harm the animal.
"In a scenario like this, it’s more education," said Rothfuss. "People have to understand that, as much as they compassionately want to help, they have to understand how they should be helping, and not take it upon themselves to assign those human emotions."
Officials from the Department of Natural Resources say the best course of action would have been for people to back away.
"What we normally communicate to people when they’re dealing with wild animals is that it’s best to do so from a distance and that’s because of their unpredictability," said Kevin Craig of the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources. "And that’s really about public safety and the safety of the animal."
Craig says tranquilizing the moose was not an option for a couple of reasons. One is because of the heat, which depresses the animal's respiratory system, and the other is because of the fact it was on the beach.
"Around water for an animal that is semi-aquatic, essentially, like the moose is, it will go to the water as soon as it feels threatened, so not a situation you would want to do an immobilization in at all."
So, the decision was made to try to coax the animal to a nearby marsh so it could safely leave the area.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Craig also says he does not believe charges are warranted in this situation. He said his staff did not see any direct harassment of the moose.