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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    Moose euthanized after roaming near I-91 in Windsor Locks

    A moose takes a break from eating tree branches in 2023 in Anchorage, Alaska. In Connecticut, a moose that Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials believe is the same one that has been spotted several times in Windsor Locks was euthanized just off Interstate 91 on Monday. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

    WINDSOR LOCKS — A moose that Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials believe is the same one that has been spotted several times in Windsor Locks was euthanized just off Interstate 91 on Monday.

    Officials said the large animal posed a danger to motorists on the high-traffic highway.

    Previous sightings occurred in October and December. In 2022, residents reported to DEEP seeing moose seven times in seven days.

    Early Monday, DEEP received a report of a moose within 20 feet of the southbound lanes of the highway near the Route 20 exit ramp in Windsor Locks, James Fowler, senior adviser of outreach and engagement for DEEP, said.

    "After consulting with DEEP's Wildlife Division, and in collaboration with Connecticut State Police Troop H, DEEP Environmental Police euthanized the moose in the interest of public safety," he said.

    DEEP policy states that moose within 500 feet of an interstate highway are "imminent threats to public safety and shall be euthanized," Fowler said.

    DEEP's Wildlife Division has "repeatedly and consistently" received reports of a bull moose along the same stretch of road since October, with about 20 reports in total, he said.

    "Law enforcement has responded to this moose seen along I-91 multiple times," Fowler said, adding that the same moose has been seen in backyards and ballfields, and has been recorded crossing the interstate by Department of Transportation traffic cameras.

    "Given the repeated observations and consistent description, this is likely the same individual," he said.

    Simply tranquilizing large animals such as moose near a very busy highway can create further risks, Fowler said.

    "Tranquilizers don't take affect immediately and during that time, the animal may behave erratically or unpredictably, potentially running into roadways or creating other dangerous public safety situations, putting both the animal and people at risk of injury or death," he said.

    The significant weight and height of moose make them particularly dangerous to motorists because when they are hit by a vehicle, they often end up impacting the vehicle's windshield, Fowler said.

    Citing data collected from other states, Fowler said that moose collisions involving cars are 13 times more likely to result in the death of a human driver or passenger than in crashes involving deer.

    There were five moose hit by vehicles in Connecticut last year, he said.

    The estimated population of moose in the state is "just over 100 animals," according to DEEP.

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