Montana man saves moose; why park authorities blew it up

A Montana man is not happy with what happened to a sick baby moose he says he turned over to wildlife officials. The moose was killed then blown up.

Josh Hohm was at the West Boulder Campground when he took a walk in the woods and discovered the young moose calf. He expected the mother to come charging at him but instead, found her lying dead with a stillborn calf.

The calf’s mother had died after giving birth to twins, according to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. One of the twins lay dead alongside its mother.

Hohm took these pictures, wrapped the living calf in a blanket and took care of it and reported the incident to local authorities. Hohm thought he had saved the animal, but officials later killed it.

Forest Service officials later dispatched all three carcasses with explosives to remove the food source as quickly as possible and reduce the risk of drawing in large predators to a campground in grizzly bear habitat.

“I don’t have a problem with the disposal, that’s how it’s done,” Hohm said. Hohm took video of the crying moose calf at the West Boulder Campground.

He says the big issue for him is he left the animal with wildlife officials expecting it to get help.

“There were absolutely no steps taken to determine if it was sick, was it going to feed, were there facilities and resources available to care for this thing,” Hohm said.

Instead, he says they took the easy way out and moved on.

“These guys are on our payroll to oversee the protection and well being of these animals and this is how we ‘manage wildlife.’ It’s quite disheartening.” Hohm said.

Andrea Jones with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks says it will rehabilitate bears and raptors but not moose, elk or deer due to the risk of spreading disease.

“They can carry chronic wasting disease which can be very devastating to populations, it’s also very dangerous to humans,” Jones said.

As for the Forest Service using explosives to dispatch the animals, officials say this is not something they do lightly or often but it was not possible to use heavy equipment or pack the carcasses out of the area.

While the idea may be hard to swallow, Jones says the animal would have met the same end.

“This animal was dispatched. but it would have been euthanized if it had been taken to our office, it would have starved to death without its mother.” explained Jones.

Jones says she understands the good intentions people have to care for sick animals, but doing so is often dangerous.

“Because whatever is making that animal sick could also make you sick,” Jones said.

Jones says the mother was severely infested with worms.

If you do come across a sick animal especially a moose, montana fish wildlife and parks say it should be reported so they can investigate then left alone.

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