The death of Millie the moose causes a stir in Belgrade

Millie the moose had become something of a celebrity in Belgrade since she was first spotted in June. She died on Saturday and some complained on social media that a motorboat hit her, resulting in her death. The state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife said a preliminary investigation based on witness reports found a boat traveling the legal speed limit passed Millie, but an examination of her body did not revealed no signs of trauma or damage. People who had seen Millie had commented on social media that she appeared to be ill. Photo courtesy of Dan McCarron

BELGRADE — Millie the moose was the talk of the town when she first appeared in June, trudging along Great Pond and other waterways.

The gossip really intensified when she died last weekend, with some claiming that a wayward motorboat hit Millie at Mill Stream, causing her death.

The state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is investigating the case, and game wardens have interviewed several witnesses.

One of the first accounts of Millie popping up in town was from Dan McCarron, the owner of Lakepoint Real Estate, who said she was seen wandering around his parking lot. He said after a few days and two visits from game wardens, she moved to the creek.

She nibbled on pond weeds and McCarron said he called her Millie, a reference to watermilfoil plants. More and more people met Millie posted pictures of her on Facebook and other social platforms. Several had commented on how unwell she looked, with sluggish behavior and missing patches of fur.

Some shared that they saw the motorboat hit Millie on Saturday at Mill Stream.

“On Saturday, it was reported that the moose had been standing all day near a point motionless and then moved into Mill Creek,” said Inland Fisheries & Wildlife spokesman Mark Latti, in an email. “It was reported to the Maine Warden Service that a boat traveling through the creek area struck a moose on Saturday afternoon.”

He later explained, “Witnesses reported seeing the boat and the moose in the same immediate area the boat was passing through. At some point after the boat passed by the moose, the moose died.

Witnesses told guards the boat was traveling within the legal speed limit, Latti said. The creek is about 75 to 100 meters wide in this area, but the channel is much narrower, he said.

Millie was born in the spring of 2021 and likely weighed between 500 and 600 pounds, he said.

Game wardens pulled his body from the water on Sunday and an examination “showed no apparent injuries, as there were no signs of broken bones, no deep cuts or scars, and no other signs of trauma,” he said.

The 7 Lakes Alliance, a conservation group serving the Belgrade Lake District, said in a statement that it was “saddened to learn that the moose that recently visited the Mill Stream that connects Great Pond and Long Pond has passed away. last weekend”.

Waterville resident Nate Timmins has a camp on Great Pond. He said he crossed the creek around 2.30pm on Saturday and saw Millie standing there and took pictures of her.

When he returned around 6 p.m., Millie was about 10 to 15 meters from where she had been before, but was mostly underwater, he said. At first he thought what he saw was a rock, but then noticed his ear.

“She was floating so low,” Timmins said. “A boater could have easily hit her when she was already dead.”

Latti said the investigation is ongoing.

“The Maine Warden Service reminds everyone who loves wildlife to enjoy wildlife from a distance,” he said.

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