There’s been a lot of buzz over a furry little celebrity in Solider Pond– an orphaned baby moose that’s stolen the heart of the community. For the past 2 weeks people have been feeding it, petting it, and treating it like a beloved pet. But as New Source 8′s Angela Christoforos reports, doing these things to a wild animal can do more harm than good…
Meet Max the baby Moose- he’s an orphaned male calf that’s the talk of the town in Soldier Pond.
Rachel Nadeau said, “He’s very gentle and I mean he’ll take food right out of your hand and you don’t feel his teeth at all, you can pet him, you can sit with him, people have laid with him.
People leave all kinds of food in they hay for Mr. Max; things like celery, cheerios cereal, even BIG MACS!
Heather Sittig said, “I bought him a bag of carrots, I’ve been waiting for him to come out so I could catch a look at him I’ve never seen a baby moose before.”
Ashlee Gardner said, “It’s a once in a lifetime experience to pet one and feed it.”
“He’s a baby and he’s all by himself it’s really cold, and I think everyone just feels bad for him and they’re trying to help him out,” said Nadeau.
Baby Moose in a blanket sounds cute; but it’s gestures like these that can do more harm than good.
Regional Wildlife Biologist of the Maine Dept. Of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Richard Hoppe said, “Now you have an animal that’s close to the road it could create a fatality, there’s a safety issue, also for future survivorship of this animal it’s going to be quite hard now.”
Treating a wild animal like a household pet makes it more vulnerable to predators. That’s why the best way to handle an orphaned animal is let a professional handle it; call a Warden or the Department of Wildlife.
“Just leave it alone. If you care leave it there, that’s the saying if you care leave it there,” said Hoppe.
Although Max has come into contact with some very caring people; the truth is it’s not in his best interest. Hoppe says any wild animal turned tame has just a 50% probability of making it in the wild.
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is currently working out the logistics to transport Max to the Grey Animal Farm in Southern Maine, where he will stay for 6 to 8 weeks to get him back into the swing of living like an animal in the wild before he is released back into the wild.