Yesterday, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department successfully tranquilized and relocated a young bull moose that had been lingering just outside downtown Stowe for the past several weeks. Vermont state game wardens and the Stowe Police Department had been monitoring the moose’s movements.
The Fish & Wildlife Department decided to relocate it because of a unique set of circumstances. The moose appeared healthy, several attempts to push it towards the woods were unsuccessful, and the area gets a large amount of recreational use by the public.
Stowe Police and state game wardens aided in the operation by closing the Stowe recreation path to the public starting at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday. They were also prepared to temporarily shut down Route 108, but that did not prove necessary.
“It’s great that we’re able to see wildlife like this right here in Stowe,” said Chief Donald Hull of the Stowe Police Department. “This has been a fantastic team effort with Fish & Wildlife, between monitoring the moose and eventually working together to relocate it.”
Fish & Wildlife staff, including their veterinarian and a USDA Wildlife Services biologist, tranquilized the moose. Once the moose became sedated, the team of biologists, wardens, and members of Stowe Mountain Rescue loaded it onto a sled designed for transporting large animals. The moose was transferred in a horse trailer to a wildlife management area in the Northeast Kingdom and released.
“Moose are large, wild animals that can sometimes behave aggressively when threatened, and our primary obligation in such situations is to keep people safe,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “Given the difficulty of handling a sedated animal the size of a moose and the potential danger of working with an unpredictable wild animal, these relocations are always difficult and rarely practical. We’re glad that in this case we were able to successfully relocate this moose.”
Young moose generally remain with their mother until the age of two, and are pushed away when the cow moose gives birth to a new calf. The Stowe moose was a two-year-old bull, whose mother was reportedly spotted by local residents with a young calf not far from the area.
“These young moose sometimes end up in residential areas or along roads. We were concerned that this moose might get hit by a car, which can have fatal consequences for the vehicle’s passengers,” said Commissioner Porter. “We’d also had reports that people were getting much too close to this moose trying to get a glimpse or take a photo, which is worrying. People should always appreciate wildlife from a respectful and safe distance, especially large animals such as moose or bears.”
With reporting by Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Photo courtesy of Richard Levine.