Beach-goers were caught by surprise Monday when a young bull moose made an appearance on Parlee Beach, but the unusual appearance turned tragic when it drowned about 500 metres from shore later that afternoon.
The Department of Natural Resources said calls started coming in around 10:30 a.m. from Shediac Bay, southwest of Parlee Beach.
Bonnie Leger was enjoying a barbecue at her Pointe-du-Chêne home with her 11-year-old son Jordan when the animal startled them.
“I just happened to turn my head and it came running,” Leger said, “It was huge, it was black and we were all shocked. It kind of stopped by a tree and it looked around for a little bit and then went around on his way.”
Unfortunately, the moose then headed in the direction of Parlee Beach, where the Department of Tourism said about 1,500 people were enjoying the water amid Monday’s heat.
With such a large crowd, and an unusual moose sighting, pictures and videos were quickly shared across social media.
Pam Novak, director of wildlife care at the Atlantic Wildlife Institute, said she started to receive calls in the morning that continued throughout the day.
“What was so unfortunate and so sad with something like this, it was such a visual all day,” she said. “And it was continually a worse and worse predicament.”
Pictures and reports of the animal being chased and harassed angered Novak and some onlookers.
Nick Brown, a spokesperson with the Department of Natural Resources, said the ranger’s office in Dieppe received a second call about the moose around 5:00 p.m.
He said when the officials arrived, the animal was already in the water 500 m from shore.
“Officials went to try and help the animal via boat, hoping to guide it toward shore to a more isolated location, but the animal was already showing signs of fatigue and going under water.”