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DEC defends killing injured moose in Wilmington

This nice bull moose was recently discovered feeding along the banks of the Ausable River, in the late afternoon. Moose are currently paired as they approach the peak of their annual breeding. Both moose and moose calls have become a rather common occurrence across the Adirondacks in recent years.

This nice bull moose was recently discovered feeding along the banks of the Ausable River, in the late afternoon. Moose are currently paired as they approach the peak of their annual breeding. Both moose and moose calls have become a rather common occurrence across the Adirondacks in recent years. Photo by Bill Moore

— “We were hearing that people didn’t think what was done was right or they were angry the moose had to be euthanized, but what was done was part of the protocol for our department,” Durfey said. “We get involved when wildlife is impacting people, it’s one of our department’s responsibilities.”

The protocol for handling the situation, like the one that unfolded in the Wilmington Notch, is outlined in the New York State Moose Response Manual. Dated April 1, 2011, the manual designates in the section titled “Moose in or near high traffic areas” the following protocol:

“For moose on a heavily used high-speed highway, shoulder, or median, control traffic by reducing vehicle speed or stopping traffic and alerting motorists. Use chasing/herding/hazing options to direct the moose toward more suitable areas. If the moose is in a situation that does not allow for these options, then it should be shot.”

Likewise, in the “Sick or Injured Moose” section, the manual states the following protocol:

“If the moose is injured and it is determined that chances of survival are high, the moose should be left alone and monitored from a distance that does not affect natural behavior. If the moose is in a situation where it cannot be left alone or kept a safe distance from the public, it should be euthanized as soon as possible ... If the injury is severe enough to limit chances for survival, the moose should be euthanized as soon as possible.”

Winchell said he understands the negative reaction and encourages anyone who feels that way to take a look at the outlined protocol for situations like this.

Shooting the moose was decided to be the most humane way to help the Wilmington moose, according to Durfey.

“(With) chemical immobilization, the moose would have been fully conscious but physically immobilized,” Durfey said. “He would have been very uncomfortable, and there are currently no animal rehabilitation facilities that help an animal of that size.”

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