Report and update from NYS DEC on the moose that was seen running at large through the City of Plattsburgh last week:
On March 23, a report came into DEC regarding a moose that had been observed in the City of Plattsburgh. On March 25, DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) Buffa was checking fishermen at the mouth of the Saranac River in the City of Plattsburgh when he witnessed the moose running through the area. Clinton County ECOs responded to the scene along with DEC Region 5’s Wildlife Unit staff to formulate a plan of capture.
At approximately 5:45 p.m., the moose ran into a residential yard and fell into an inground pool. The response team acted quickly and was able to safely tranquilize the cow moose. ECOs, wildlife staff, State Police, Plattsburgh City Police, and SUNY Police assisted in removing the moose from the pool and loaded it into a trailer to be transported out of the area.
While assessing the animal’s health, DEC wildlife staff determined the moose had become exhausted and sustained injuries as a result of constant stress from both human and environmental factors over the several days since it was reported. Knowing the moose would likely succumb to capture myopathy, a condition in which muscle damage results from extreme exertion, struggle, or stress, wildlife staff made the decision to humanely euthanize the moose. This was the most humane option given that the moose would not have been able to recover from this condition and likely would have starved to death. The moose was transported to the DEC Wildlife Pathology Lab where a necropsy was performed. The necropsy determined the moose had numerous pre-existing health conditions.
Moose are very susceptible to capture myopathy due to their sensitivity to stressful environments like being trapped in an urban area where barking dogs, vehicle traffic, unnatural obstacles such as fences and pools, and a high volume of people create a difficult path for the moose to travel safely. Additionally, moose are often subject to being chased or cornered by the public for photo opportunities which amplifies their stress significantly and places people at great risk of being injured or killed. Environmental factors, like reduced food abundance and warm temperatures in late winter, are other significant stressors for moose.
Moose captures can be successful when stressors are minimized; DEC Wildlife Biologists and ECOs have a strong record of safely handling and moving moose when necessary. DEC urges the public maintain a safe distance from moose and other wildlife, and never approach, corner, or chase them. The public is encouraged to report moose sightings to DEC at 877-457-5680.