WILMINGTON — A small group of protesters weathered the rain and cold on Saturday, Sept. 29 to stand up for the moose killed by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Sept. 25.
The protest was held after a wildlife official shot and killed an injured bull moose that had been seen around the West Branch of the Ausable River for four days off a narrow stretch of road in the Wilmington Notch.
DEC Regional Wildlife Conservation Manager Lance Durfey said the decision to kill the moose was made after watching the animal suffer with injuries to its back legs.
The nine protesters stood in a parking area on the Wilmington Notch, carrying signs, playing drums and chanting for passing cars to give their support for the moose they had named Bruce.
The incident left Bloomingdale resident Pam Smith asking if the moose really needed to be shot.
“The question is was there were any alternatives? They didn’t ask if there were any alternatives,” Smith said.
Smith said she was upset and skeptical that the DEC couldn’t remove the moose’s body alive as easily as they did after it was killed.
“What’s the difference of them taking him out sedated or dead?” Smith said.
Durfey said last week they didn’t want to sedate the moose for fear it would cause the animal more pain and distress.
“The sedatives would only have immobilized the moose. He still would have been conscious and in the water,” Durfey said. “We didn’t want to put him through that.”
Signs carried by the protestors read “Department of Executing Critters,” “Moose Abuse No Time for Bruce,” “No Moose loitering violators will be shot” and “I can’t speak for myself. You are my voice!” with a picture of the moose on the page.
Jennifer McCaffrey of Brushton said that she made the almost two-hour drive to show support for the moose and be a voice for him.