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Drowned Moose Bernadette Toth via AP

SOUTH HERO, Vt. (AP) — A moose drowned in Lake Champlain after people crowded around the animal to take its picture, Vermont wildlife officials said

Fish and Wildlife Officer Robert Currier told WCAX that the moose swam across the lake from New York to South Hero, Vermont, on Saturday. He said it made it onto land but was forced back into the water, likely feeling threatened by onlookers. The moose succumbed to exhaustion and drowned.

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SOUTH HERO – The Grand Isle County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed the moose spotted near the bike path in South Hero earlier today has drowned. The moose was reported deceased to the Sheriff’s department shortly before The Islander posted the pictures today. We learned shortly thereafter.

Sheriff Ray Allen reported that the moose made it’s way out of the water, exhausted. When it tried to rest, people crowded it and spooked him. According to Fish and Game, when a moose feels threatened it will respond in one of two ways, either leave the area to avoid the threat or respond with aggression. He went back to the water and drowned due to exhaustion. Vermont Fish & Wildlife Warden’s Thiel and Currier, Colchester Police Marine Division and the Sheriff’s Department responded to remove the moose.

It is amazing to see these creatures, but they are wild animals and should be left alone/viewed from a distance Sheriff Ray Allen told The Islander.

“If you see a large animal like this – please report it to Vermont Fish and Game immediately to avoid this type of situation.” Allen said.

Bernadette Toth was in the area Saturday morning with her 17-year-old daughter, who was having her senior photos taken. She saw the moose swim to shore, but left before it re-entered the water. She said there were about half a dozen people nearby and noted that the incident happened near a bike path popular with tourists.

“They made it sound like it was this big mob of people. No, this is a heavy trafficked area for South Hero,” Toth said. “That is always a very busy, busy area.”

Currier said people should keep their distance from moose, adding that the animals respond to threats by leaving an area or getting aggressive.

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