September 19, 2013

Moose tranquilized in Augusta neighborhood

By ANDY MOLLOY and MICHAEL SHEPHERD Kennebec Journal

A young moose lingering on a lawn in a city neighborhood was tranquilized, moved and set free Wednesday by wildlife officials and first responders.

Kendall Marden, a biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said a game warden got a complaint Wednesday morning of a male moose that had been lingering for days in a small patch of woods near Parkwood Drive, in Augusta’s Ganneston Park neighborhood.

The moose, weighing nearly 600 pounds and having stubs for antlers, was a yearling, the term for a moose in its second year of life. Adult males can weigh more than 1,000 pounds.

Although it’s the beginning of the rutting period, the moose’s mating season, Marden said timing didn’t play a factor in the animal’s confusion, and it wasn’t aggressive.

Marden said the animal was nervous, as it was unable to find a contiguous stretch of woods in the urban area.

“A little like me, growing up in Waldo County, in New York City,” Marden said.

Just after 9 a.m. Wednesday, wardens responded to a call from Parkwood Drive, where the moose was pacing just outside the woods near a stone wall. Marden shot the animal with a tranquilizer, sending it running toward onlookers, across a driveway and into another patch of woods.

Eventually, the moose collapsed. Marden and Warden David Ross then rolled it over onto a heavy-duty plastic tarp. Augusta police and firefighters arrived to help wildlife officials get the moose out of the woods and into the back of a pickup truck.

The moose was driven to the Alonzo H. Garcelon Wildlife Management Area on the outskirts of Augusta, where officials unloaded it and Marden injected it with an antidote. It groggily attempted to stand, but initially couldn’t. After Marden patted it on the hind quarters a few times, it staggered off, still healthy.

“That’s perfect,” said Keel Kemper, a regional biologist for the wildlife department, as the moose walked away.

Marden said there are a few unique situations in which the public should call state game wardens about moose around their property: if one is obviously unhealthy, wandering in circles, staying for an unusually long time in a small area or trying to cross a highway.

“Other than that, animals are animals, and they’ll wander through neighborhoods,” Marden said. “Give the animal its room and let it find its way out, generally.”

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