A Vermont moose drowned in Lake Champlain Saturday after a group of curious onlookers crowded around it to snap its picture, wildlife officials say.
The moose swam across the lake from New York to the Vermont town of South Hero, Fish and Wildlife Officer Robert Currier told WCAX.
The moose made it to land. However, the animal may have become so frightened by those gathered around that he went back into the lake where he drowned as a result of exhaustion, Currier added.
Currier said people should always avoid getting too close to moose and other animals, which may leave an area or may become violent if they feel like they are in danger.
"Best practice is to stay away from it," Currier told WCAX. "Keep your distance, don't crowd the moose. If a moose feels threatened, it's going to respond by either leaving the area or it’s going to respond with aggression and, obviously, we don’t want anyone to be a victim of the latter."
He said that it is not often moose swim across the lake, but it does occur on occasion.