Nova Scotia

Moose dies during relocation attempt

The wayward moose near Pictou has died.

The wayward moose near Pictou has died.

Officials from the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources shot the endangered moose with a tranquillizer gun Thursday, then used a helicopter to airlift the animal out of the area.

"The team worked pretty quick," said Alan Blinn, DNR area supervisor.

By the time they lowered the moose onto a trailer two minutes later, however, it was dead.

"Moose are a highly stressful animal, and of course it was very stressed out when we were trying to catch it and tranquillize it," Blinn said. "A combination of the stress and drugs might have done this."

The moose will be taken to the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I. for a necropsy. Blinn said only a veterinary pathologist can determine how the moose died, or whether it was sick.

The mainland Nova Scotia moose was declared an endangered species in 2003. There are only an estimated 1,000 animals left in isolated areas, a decline of 20 per cent over the past 30 years.

Reports of a young bull moose in the Pictou area caused a stir this week.

For the past three days, residents reported seeing a moose in wooded areas on the outskirts of town.

Julie Hendsbee was driving to her job at a nursing home on Haliburton Road Thursday morning when she spotted the animal. She stopped the truck and quickly grabbed her camera.

"Just seeing the helicopter up there going round and round and round, I'm thinking, oh, the poor moose," she said. "I knew he'd be upset. And it would be running, his heart would be racing."

Later, Hendsbee's worst fears were confirmed.

"I'm pretty upset about it," she said.

Blinn is also disappointed. With so few moose on the mainland, he said losing even one would slow down the herd.

"That's the way things go sometimes," he said. "You just can't predict the outcome."

Blinn said there were reports of a second moose in the area, but a helicopter search with a heat-sensing camera turned up nothing.