As it became obvious a moose would not be able to free itself from the icy water of the Bulkley River Tuesday, a Conservation officer was forced to shoot it to end its suffering.
A gathering of onlookers on the bridge into Smithers bore unfortunate witness as the shot rang out just after noon. Police were on scene to help with traffic.
While the ice may seem safe to cross, this sad result is a reminder that a flowing river freezes much slower than lakes or ponds and should not be walked on.
UPDATE 3 p.m.
B.C. Conservation officer Brandon Beck explained the call was made to shoot the moose after speaking with an ice rescue expert. The expert agreed that it was too dangerous to attempt a rescue.
Beck said the moose fell in at about 11 a.m., meaning even if it was deemed safe, by the time a rescue could have been organized the animal’s muscles would be suffering myopathy and it would be highly unlikely to survive.
Unfortunately, the death of the moose does not make it much safer to get out to it, so the carcass will not be retrieved. Beck explained that the body will be left for any animals willing to set upon it as it slides under the water and into the river.