Two days after a moose calf was rescued from a Central Alberta lake, the young animal is dead.
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General’s Office, which oversees Alberta Fish and Wildlife, is investigating after receiving two differing reports of the calf’s death from the public.
Brendan Cox, a public affairs officer, said the department received a call Monday indicating the moose may have been killed illegally.
On Sunday, the officers received a report the moose had died of natural causes.
Colleen Baradoy of Raven, whose house overlooks Adams Lake, said she woke up on Sunday morning to see a trail of blood where the animal was dragged.
“We could see she was shot and gutted on the spot,” said Baradoy. “And then he hauled her away.”
On Friday, Baradoy and her painter, Harvey Von Hollen of Red Deer, and others pulled the young moose from a fishing hole in Adams Lake, south of Red Deer.
The calf moose was believed to have been in the water for about five hours. After the rescue, neighbours gave her food and water while she rested. Baradoy said she stayed close to the hole most of Friday and only ventured a short distance away. On Saturday, the calf was resting near the hole again but in a different spot.
Baradoy said the calf did not seem like she was suffering on Saturday.
She said a neighbour called her a few times after the rescue, indicating the moose should be shot because it wasn’t doing well.
Baradoy said she is devastated because she and her husband bonded with the animal.
“I am really mad,” said Red Deer painter Harvey Von Hollen, who was one of the volunteers who were part of the rescue. “They should have let nature take its course or let Fish and Wildlife make the decision.”
Moose hunting ended on Nov. 30. Hunters must have a special licence to hunt moose within the season.
Violators may face hefty fines and possibly jail time for poaching or hunting outside the season. Cox said if it is authorized by the Fish and Wildlife officers, someone can euthanize an animal out of season if it is in distress or suffering.