What can be done when a large, dead moose is found decaying in the cottage water source? How can it be removed and can it be poisonous?
Any time you have a piece of rotting meat that weighs as much as 600 kg sitting in your water supply, it could affect your water quality. In addition to pathogens accumulating on the dead beast, there’s also the danger that the moose is carrying potentially deadly bacteria, such as E. coli or salmonella. Water supplies can easily become contaminated and should be tested on a regular basis.
In Ontario, the Ministry of Natural Resources no longer removes animal carcasses, so check with your local township for its policy. While municipalities have no jurisdiction over waterways, they might assist out of concern for local welfare. Many animal control services will also remove the animal. Contact the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (CCWHC) to report dead animals that you find – especially if you suspect that the animal was sick.
Dead animals can be removed from the water by placing a large plastic garbage can with ropes attached and holes cut in the bottom, behind the animal. As the container is pulled forward, the animal (or part of it) will “fold into” the cylinder. And yes, it’s a good idea to have nose plugs or, ideally, a respirator on hand, and to wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Bury the animal as deep as you can, with at least 30 cm of soil on top to contain the odour.