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Winchester police warn people to stay away from moose

Police said people have been crowding the area around the moose and in some cases going into the woods to approach it.

WINCHESTER, Conn. — A moose has made Winchester its home.

"She was beautiful, it was an amazing sight," said Amelia Nichols of Winchester. "We stood and watched her for a couple of minutes and then the police came and suggested that we don't stay so we immediately left."

First spotted in February, the moose has become an attraction that people are hoping to see.

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"It's always nice to see people in town and it's always nice to see wildlife in town but we're certainly seeing a discrepancy in how we would like to see people behaving around the moose and what's happening," said the town manager Joshua Kelly.

That is why Winchester Police put a warning out to the community to leave the moose alone. Police said people have been crowding the area where the moose is, even going into the woods to try to approach it. It has created a dangerous situation for people and animals.

If you love nature, leave it alone. We have been receiving continued complaints regarding the wild moose and people...

Posted by Winchester CT Police Department on Thursday, March 31, 2022

"We don't want to scare that away and we also don't want anything to happen that would result in the moose being hurt, being injured, or having to be moved or unfortunately euthanized," Kelly said.

The moose is also believed to be pregnant, making her even more territorial. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the staff is checking on her weekly. 

Police in town are also taking steps to protect the moose and those trying to get a peek at it. Traffic cones and no parking signs have been put up to stop people from pulling over on the busy road.

"We're working very diligently to make sure it is disturbed as little as possible, people are staying away a safe distance if they are in that area for any reason," Kelly said.

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While the moose is a beautiful and pretty rare sight, many people agree that ensuring her safety is the best way to keep her around.

"We want her to stay safe. It is her habitat and her surroundings so we should respect that," Nichols said.

"We all should know they're very dangerous animals so you do have to stay away from them," said Mike Krammen of East Granby.

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The DEEP shared some recommendations for people to enjoy wildlife safely:

  • Resist the temptation to move closer to get a photograph or better view.
  • Give wildlife plenty of space with a wide escape route.
  • Be alert for changes in the animal's normal behaviors(i.e., it moves away from you or is looking at you). If it reacts or freezes, you are too close and should back away!  What an animal needs most is likely more space and some privacy. Respect these amazing animals by knowing when to leave.
  • Invest in optics, such as binoculars and spotting scopes, or upgrade your camera gear with a strong zoom lens, to view or photograph wildlife up close while maintaining a safe distance.
  • Be respectful to both wildlife and people who are also wildlife watching or participating in other outdoor activities nearby. 
  • Consider mentoring others—offer those new to wildlife viewing a peek through your spotting scope or glimpse through binoculars.
  •  Always respect private property and do not trespass to observe wildlife.
  • Be aware of your surroundings—avoid blocking traffic, park safely, and follow any local rules.
  • Never feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife is dangerous for wildlife and people. Sharing your food can sicken an animal or encourage it to approach humans in the future, expecting a snack.
  • Model good wildlife viewing ethics and lead by setting good examples of ethical behavior. You’ll be rewarded with magical moments in nature.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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