A Montana man came across a newborn moose calf while on a camping trip. He called for help in hopes to rescue the lone moose, but wildlife authorities had other plans.
Josh Hohm was shocked to learn what officers from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks did to a baby moose he found in May. Instead of saving the newborn moose, officers killed it and then U.S. Forest Service blew up the body with explosives to scatter the remains so they wouldn't attract predators, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.
"It's just unbelievable to me that that's how things are handled," Hohm said. "It just sounds incredibly wrong."
Spokeswoman for MT FWP Andrea Jones told KXLH that moose are not included in the types of animals they will try to rehabilitate, citing health concerns.
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"They can carry chronic wasting disease which can be very devastating to populations; it's also very dangerous to humans," said Jones, adding that the calf would have likely died without her mother anyway.
Jones told The Bozeman Daily Chronicle the mother moose, which was found nearby having died presumably while giving birth, had an arterial worm. While that particular parasite can infect deer and elk, it doesn’t harm humans.
“I feel for people who obviously have good intentions,” Jones said. “On the flip side of things, we also want to protect humans and animals when it comes to the spreading of disease.”
Hohm says MT FWP did not test the baby moose for any diseases before killing her.
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The Dodo reports that in many other states home to moose, orphaned calves are usually rehabilitated and released back into the wild with the help of private wildlife centers. MT FWP officials claimed no such facilities exist in Montana.
Hohm told KXLH he believes wildlife officials should do more in helping to preserve the lives of calves like the one he hoped to save.
"These guys are on our payroll to oversee the protection and well being of these animals and this is how we 'manage wildlife,'" Hohm said. "It's quite disheartening."
Jones told The Bozeman Daily Chronicle the department does not enjoy this part of the job, but it’s something staff have to do.
“Nobody ever wants to have to deal with putting down a young animal,” said Jones, adding that people who want to help animals need to “recognize that sick animals can translate disease to humans.”
Photo Credit: Josh Hohm via The Bozeman Daily Chronicle