Metro

Moose crowded by people on shore drowns in Vermont lake

After swimming across Lake Champlain from New York to South Hero, Vt., Sept. 1, this moose, perhaps feeling threatened by onlookers, returned to the water and drowned.
Bernadette Toth via AP
After swimming across Lake Champlain from New York to South Hero, Vt., Sept. 1, this moose, perhaps feeling threatened by onlookers, returned to the water and drowned.

SOUTH HERO, Vt. — 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, Vt., 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.

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 reentered 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.

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‘‘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.