In this Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, photo provided by Bernadette Toth a moose stands in Lake Champlain in South Hero, Vt. Wildlife officials say the animal had crossed the lake and made it to shore, but went back in the water, after likely feeling threatened by onlookers, and drowned. Credit: Bernadette Toth | AP

Vermont’s moose biologist says brain-worm parasites and not onlookers probably caused the death of a moose that had drowned in Lake Champlain after swimming across about a 6-mile stretch of the lake from New York to South Hero.

Officials had suggested the exhausted moose was forced back into the water by people who had crowded around it to take photographs.

Vermont moose biologist Cedric Alexander tells the Burlington Free Press that moose infected with brain worms are often disoriented and unable to coordinate their body movements.

Alexander says exhaustion might have played a role, but the animal’s actions suggested neurological damage.

He says “there’s no way it’s just going to swim out and drown unless it’s being chased by a power boat.”

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