Friday, September 21, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! - Part 3

As I previously wrote, the review quiz for my ski patrol Mountain Travel & Rescue Course includes three questions with the theme of “Lions and Tiger and Bears, Oh My!” -- or, when animals attack:
  1. type of North American animal attack with the most emergency room visits;
  2. type of North American animal attack with the most human deaths; and,
  3. type of Northeastern U.S. animal attack with the most incidents of potentially highly adverse health effects.
Students tend to put down all sorts of terrifying species -- e.g., snakes -- for any or even all of these questions, even though the correct answers involve far less "impressive" animal species.

I can't recall though if anyone has ever put down moose, or more specifically, brain-worm-affected moose:

Manic moose in Vermont rampage; brain worm is to blame, says game warden

Vermonter Brent Olsen awoke Sunday to find a bull moose messing with his car. He tried to get the moose away, but went for his camcorder when he noticed the moose's erratic, and then violent, behavior, which he later learned was a symptom of brain worm.

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Brent Olsen, of Westford, Vt., was spooked when he found a deranged moose on his property.

A Vermont man’s encounter with a manic moose started off “cute,” but ended in horror as the animal had to be put down by a state game warden.
Brent Olsen of Westford awoke Sunday to find a bull moose with its hoof on his car. He tried to shoo him away, he told CBS affiliate WCAX.
“I started hollering at it, ‘Do not jump on my car, Mr. Moose!” Olsen said.
He soon became fascinated and clutched a camcorder to tape the creature’s erratic behavior — which appeared as if he were inebriated.
“A moose with ivy in its horns — I thought it was kind of cute.” he told WCAX.
But Olsen quickly changed his tune when the beast — which typically weighs more than 800 pounds — bolted toward him.
“It scared the crap out of me,” he added.
The video shows the moose charging Olsen, who flew out of the way. At another point, the animal is seen walking in circles, even bumping into a flag pole.
Olsen said the moose rammed into his home four times before a state game warden arrived.


So why was he acting out?
Vermont Fish and Wildlife Lt. Curtis Smiley told WCAX the moose was exhibiting symptoms of brain worm, a parasite that lives in grazing mammals.
“I have never seen a moose act like that,” Smiley said.


In the end, officials decided to shoot the moose.
“Very sad to see a beautiful, healthy animal suffer from something like this,” Olsen said.


Brain worm in moose is not uncommon. At Acadia National Park in Maine, park biologist Bruce Conner told that the animals have been found after falling off cliffs or getting hit by cars.
“The ones that had accidents and died may have been infected with brain worm,” Connery said. “That makes animals do irrational things.”

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