New Brunswick

Moose stranded by flood shot dead by rangers

Two moose stranded on a Trans-Canada Highway bridge over the high St. John River have been shot by forest rangers, a provincial biologist said Wednesday.

Trapped by floodwaters for more than a week, 2 animals were shot on Tuesday

The two moose stranded for more than a week by floodwaters were shot and killed on Tuesday. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

The two moose stranded on the Trans-Canada Highway near Jemseg have been shot and killed by forest rangers, the province's big game biologist said Wednesday. 

The Department of Natural Resources believed the animals trapped on a highway bridge after the St. John River rose to historic levels were too weak to live, Dwayne Sabine said,

"After examining the situation and the conditions, the condition of the animals, it was deemed to be the best option in that case," Sabine said.

They could really only walk a few steps. One of them was badly injured. Our staff made the decision to euthanize those two animals.- Dwayne Sabine, provincial biologist

For more than a week, the moose had been stranded because of high water from the St. John River and nearby lakes. 

As the river rose, the animals moved to higher and higher ground until the only dry area left was the closed highway bridge, where they were essentially trapped without access to food. 

The Trans-Canada between Fredericton and Moncton has been closed since last Thursday because of the flood.

Although moose are often trapped temporarily by the spring freshet near Jemseg, rangers said these two moose were getting weak without access to food. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

A forest ranger said Tuesday that the animals would likely have time to relocate, since the highway wasn't expected to reopen for several more days. 

But about two hours later, both moose were shot.

Another stranded moose was herded across the Jemseg bridge earlier in the week. Conservation officers made attempts at herding the two weakened moose as well, but they were deemed too exhausted. 

"They attempted that yesterday, to move them across," Sabine said. "And in the end they turned out to be too weak. They could really only walk a few steps. One of them was badly injured. Our staff made the decision to euthanize those two animals." 

Sabine said the department hadn't made any effort to feed the two moose, and doing so would have been difficult because moose tend to browse on tree twigs and buds. 

Dwayne Sabine, a provincial biologist, said his staff did everything they could to save the two stranded moose, but they decided against tranquillizing the animals or trying to feed them. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Tranquillizing the animals to move them was considered too hazardous to humans.

"It can represent a danger to staff," said Sabine. "It can represent a danger to the public if darts disappear. In this case animals quite often run when they're darted. They're going to run into the water. They're on a very narrow strip of highway." 

The department said it will continue to monitor the area for other stranded animals. 


Shane Fowler


Shane Fowler has been a CBC journalist based in Fredericton since 2013.