BILLINGS - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) euthanized on Thursday a young bull moose that had been hanging around midtown Billings since early October.
The moose was in poor health and struggled to walk, according to FWP.
The animal had gained notoriety in recent weeks, and neighbors had reported it was looking sick.
FWP staff has closely monitored the animal giving it time to move out of town and into a more suitable environment.
Wildlife health experts with FWP determined the moose was too unhealthy for a successful relocation to the wild.
The potential spread of disease was also a factor.
A full necropsy is planned to determine the cause of poor health.
Euthanizing urban wildlife, including the moose, is never the preferred action by FWP but officials said it was necessary in this case.
FWP officials said they heard reports that neighbors had fed the moose, which can cause digestive issues and inflammation in wild animals, potentially leading to his declining health.
Feeding many wildlife species, including moose, is illegal and often causes more harm than good for the animal, FWP warned.
Because of the drug used to sedate the animal, potential of disease or infection and the need for a necropsy, the meat is not fit for human consumption and cannot be donated.