Exhausted Moose Drowns After Being Scared Into Water by Photo-Snapping Crowd

Velvet covers the antlers of a bull moose walking at the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, Thursday, May 31, 2018, in Wentworth’s Location, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Velvet covers the antlers of a bull moose walking at the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, Thursday, May 31, 2018, in Wentworth’s Location, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Photo: AP

A moose drowned in a lake in Vermont this weekend—a death that authorities attribute to a bunch of people trying to take its photo.

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The moose swam across Lake Champlain from New York to Vermont on Saturday, ending up near a bike path that a local characterized as “a very busy, busy area,” according to Burlington Free Press. The moose had completed its journey across the lake, but state fish and wildlife officer Robert Currier told the paper that it went back into the water, likely intimidated by a crowd of people watching it. The moose, exhausted, then drowned.

WCAX-TV reports that onlookers were crowding the moose and taking photos. “Best practice is to stay away from it,” Currier told the news station. “Keep your distance, don’t crowd the moose.”

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“Sheriff Ray Allen reported that the moose made it’s way out of the water, exhausted,” the Islander, a local newspaper, wrote in a Facebook post. The newspaper posted a photo of the deceased moose on its Facebook page. The post was shared over a thousand times. “When it tried to rest, people crowded it and spooked him.”

It’s hardly uncommon for humans to endanger wildlife because they want to get that sweet shot. It’s an ignorant—or egomaniacal—practice that has killed harmless creatures before. Abusive wildlife ecotourism even prompted Instagram to roll out pop-up windows, warning users searching for certain animal hashtags that snapping a selfie with protected species can be harmful—and policy violating—behavior.

It’s a deeply frustrating behavior to witness, especially when such a tragic outcome is so easily preventable. Just give the animals some space, and resist your opportunist temptations to always do it for the ‘gram.

[WCAX-TV, Burlington Free Press via The Guardian]

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DISCUSSION

I live near the most popular national park in Canada which is also near the second most popular national park and near a handful of provincial national parks. They are filled with all sorts of wonderful animals that can seriously fuck your shit up and every time I go hiking, I see people doing stupid shit for a photo. Just this past weekend, I rolled down my window to yell at a woman to get back in her car as she was approaching a male elk to get a better picture. It’s fucking rutting season. That elk will fuck you up. Do you see the giant rack of antlers on his head with several pointy fucking daggers? She didn’t listen and the elk started lowering and raising its head as I was about to drive away. She looked startled and I yelled again, less politely, saying that elk is about to fucking charge you and to get back in your fucking car. She finally did. I wish I could say this is the only occurrence I witnessed of this behaviour for the approximately 1 hour I spent in the front country. It was not.