A Montana man called in park authorities when he saw a baby moose by its dead mother, believing they would help the calf. Instead, they shot the newborn dead.
The incident occurred when Josh Hohm, from Bozeman, Montana, was walking in the woodland near West Boulder Campground in the Gallatin National Forest.
He stumbled upon a newborn moose calf, which was still too frail to walk steadily. Next to the infant, Hohm saw its mother’s dead body, along with a stillborn baby. He captured the sight on video. (Scroll down for the video.)
The man hugged the tiny orphaned calf and snapped a selfie with it.
In the video he took, the calf is seen running around, bleating and crying in an evident effort to communicate with the human.
In the hope of ensuring the infant’s safety, Hohm called the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Service — a decision he now wishes he didn’t make.
Once he handed the baby over to the rangers, Hohm says they shot it dead in a “mercy killing”. The officers then blew up the three dead bodies so that their rotting carcasses would not be eaten by bears and other predators.
Hohm told The Bozeman Daily Chronicle:
It’s just unbelievable to me that thatΓÇÖs how things are handled. It just sounds incredibly wrong.
FWP spokesperson Andrea Jones defended the officers’ actions, telling KXLH that it is common practice in Montana.
While state officials may sometimes rehabilitate bears or birds of prey, Jones explained, they do not help moose, elk or deer because they carry dangerous diseases which can infect humans and other species.
Jones added that in any case the infant’s chances of survival without its mother were extremely slim, because it would need a special after-birth milk called colstrum, which is not something the authorities keep in store.
Hohm says that if he’d known their policy, he would never have called the authorities and instead give the baby whatever small chance of life it might have had. He said:
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.
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