NORTH ADAMS -- The state Department of Fish and Game (DFG) was forced to euthanize a more than 800 pound male moose following a rescue attempt Tuesday, after the animal injured itself while roaming in the city.
People reported sightings of the moose on East Main Street at roughly 8:30 a.m., launching a removal and rescue attempt by Berkshire County Environmental Police officers and the DFG. Every North Adams Police officer on duty also responded to protect public safety.
At roughly 10 a.m., the moose was found bedded in a patch of trees near Arnold Place. DFG Western District Manager Andrew Madden teamed with other animal and environmental authorities to tranquilize the animal using a dart shot from inside Notre Dame Parish on East Main Street.
After transporting the moose to a release site in Monroe at around 11 a.m., responders discovered the animal had previously broken its jaw in several places, and then had to shoot it. The animal would not have been able to feed in the wild due to its injury.
Monroe Highway Department was recruited to bury the animal.
Madden called the result "just disappointing."
"It's a real shame," Madden said Tuesday. "We, as biologists, hate to see it go that way. When you get a big animal like that in a downtown situation, it presents a lot of hazards and, of course, it can be very difficult for the animal. ... [During a rescue], we look after the welfare of the animal. That's what I'm concerned about."
Jeff Adams, a city resident, had followed police and other responders to the scene in North Adams after hearing about the moose at North Adams Public Library. He later became part of a group assembled to help move the animal.
"He was staring right at us as we were standing in the backyard at Arnold Place," Adams said. "... [The moose was] slow-moving and not aggressive. He was hurt and scared."
Adams said a net was used to carry the animal, which he estimated to be between 800 to 1,000 pounds.
"I would say there was at least 15 people that helped pick up that net," Adams said. "[The moose] was very well protected and responders were very worried, wanting to get it back in the wild and fine."
Adams followed authorities to Monroe, where he joined several passers-by and members of North Adams Ambulance Service in unloading the moose. It was then that the extent of the animal's injuries were discovered.
"The only reason I went is because I wanted to see [the moose] get up and go off into the wilderness," Adams said. "As soon as I knew it was going in the opposite direction, I thanked everybody and left."
Later, a blood trail left by the moose in North Adams was followed to a stone wall, leading DFG to infer that the moose sustained its injury while attempting to leap over the structure.
Madden thanked North Adams residents and police for their "great cooperation."
To reach Phil Demers, email email@example.com.