BOZEMAN, Mont. — A Montana camper saved a newborn moose, only to have it blown up by park authorities, together with its dead relatives.
Josh Hohm was camping at Gallatin National Forrest late last month when he spotted the orphaned calf.
The calf’s mother had died after giving birth to twins, according to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. One of the twins lay dead alongside its mother.
Hohm found the calf that survived, took a few photos with it, and sought help.
“The camper called the sheriff and they called us, and our warden went up to euthanize the animal,” Montana FWP said.
Since the calf never suckled on its mother to get the necessary nutrients, authorities said, it would not have survived even if they rehabilitated it.
Wildlife officials said it was not an issue of cruelty. It was an issue of policy.
“We have a policy to not rehabilitate moose, deer and elk because of disease,” the FWP said. “We rehabilitate bears but we are not staffed to take care of animals that transmit disease.”
The moose was euthanized, then blown up, together with the carcasses of its mother and sibling. They were in a public campground and risked spreading diseases, authorities said.
“We are not grim reapers; we are in this business because we care about animals,” the FWP said.
CNN’s attempts to reach Hohm were unsuccessful.