BILLINGS — It’s been over a month since the moose in Billings has been on the loose, and neighbors are concerned with its mobility.
Billings resident Tess Lehman and her husband Tim have gotten used to seeing the notorious moose wander along the irrigation ditch behind their backyard around Poly Drive and Parkhill Avenue.
“The poor thing, you know, you look out your window and there’s this moose crawling,” said Tim on Monday.
However, this weekend, they noticed something strange going on with the animal and shot video as evidence.
“I saw him trying to walk past this fence and he couldn’t get up. He was like on his hands and knees basically,” Tess said.
The couple believes the moose is injured.
“One of his front legs are sprained and broken or something. He can’t put much weight on it,” Tim said.
Dave Pauli is the program manager for the Human Society of the United States. MTN News sent him the Lehmans' video of the moose, and Pauli said it's actually not unusual for species like moose to kneel while searching for food.
It’s the animal’s behavior after he stands up that concerns Pauli.
He said the moose's movements seem more labored or “stoved up” compared to earlier sightings.
“It’s just so sad to see him slowly deteriorate,” Tess said.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks agreed. After MTN News shared Tess’s video with FWP, they immediately sent a team out to check on the moose this Monday.
“As long as they’re still mobile. They’re incredible with what they can live and with what things they can overcome,” said Robbie Seykora, FWP’s acting regional communication manager.
FWP will monitor the moose’s whereabouts for the next few days and reminds residents to refrain from feeding the moose.
“It won’t leave because, of course, it has a food source and it’s comfortable in town,” Seykora said.
Some now wonder if the animal will be capable of leaving town on its own, which has been FWP’s hope since day one.
“Pretty soon he’s going to end up dead back here,” said Tim.