WASHBURN, Maine — A moose calf that a group of people helped remove from a snowbank Monday was later euthanized by a game warden who determined it was likely dying of lungworm.
The Maine Warden Service received multiple calls in the past week about an apparently sick or injured moose yearling walking along roadways in the Washburn area, Maine Warden Service spokesman Cpl. John MacDonald said.
On Monday, another call came in about what was probably the same moose, MacDonald said. A game warden arrived on the scene as about a dozen people were carrying the 200-pound moose in a toboggan sled after digging it out of a tall snowbank.
“It didn’t look like it was very energetic, but we weren’t sure if it was tired from the snow,” MacDonald said. “Normally it would kick and thrash.”
The fact that the moose was able to be handled and put into the sled was a sign that it wasn’t well, MacDonald said.
The game warden noticed that the moose was heavily-labored in its breathing, a symptom of a worm parasite that inflames a moose’s lungs and leads to emaciation. Lungworm and other parasites are among some of the common causes of death for young moose, MacDonald said.
MacDonald said the warden and the volunteers brought the moose to the yard of a nearby home and asked the homeowners to watch over the moose and let the warden service know what happened.
On Monday afternoon, “They called to say it hadn’t moved all day and wouldn’t even pick its head up,” MacDonald said.
The game warden returned “and had to dispatch the moose,” MacDonald said.
“Some people may not be aware of the natural causes of death for moose that occur in the winter time,” MacDonald said. “Most of the time, this happens to the moose out of the sight of people, and it dies a slow death.”
People who see wildlife in distress are encouraged to call the warden service, he added.
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