Humans aren’t the only ones struggling in the wake of the massive flood that has swept across New Brunswick, causing damage to buildings and natural areas.
Many animals have been stranded by the floodwaters, separated from their food sources and habitats. That’s what happened to two moose who were stranded on the Trans-Canada Highway near Jemseg and had to be euthanized Tuesday.
“After examining the situation and the conditions, the condition of the animals, it was deemed to be the best option in that case,” Dwayne Sabine, a biologist with Energy and Resource Development, told the CBC.
Forest rangers shot the moose, who were emaciated after weeks of insufficient access to food. They were found, along with several other moose, on a highway bridge surrounded by water.
Initially, rangers believed the moose would have a chance to relocate on their own, as the highway was closed and would be for several days. However, after it became apparent that the moose were too weak to travel far, the decision was made to euthanize them.
“They attempted that yesterday, to move them across,” Sabine said. “And in the end they turned out to be too weak. They could really only walk a few steps. One of them was badly injured. Our staff made the decision to euthanize those two animals.”
Pam Novak, wildlife care director for the Atlantic Wildlife Institute near Sackville, told the Toronto Star that the floods will affect many animals, especially since it’s birthing season. She said that waterfowl may be affected by the possible contamination of their waters by wastewater, while many other animals will face difficulty finding food.
“If there weren’t good rodent populations, then you might start seeing starvation more in the predator species, like birds of prey and other mammal species,” she said.
“For some crows and ravens, their young have already hatched and there’s going to be effects there where they’re not able to forage and find food for their own young, so we may see those kinds of starvation cases in the next couple of months.”
The full extent of the damage to wildlife is impossible to determine right now, but the flood’s consequences should become more apparent as the season passes.
“It will be interesting to see what the birth rates are going to be this year,” said Novak.