Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) wildlife officers are warning residents and visitors to the state alike to give moose space. As it should be obvious to everyone -moose are loose — they are not tame and can be dangerous.
On Friday, March 11, Area 9 wildlife managers responded to reports of moose on the Boardwalk in Grand Lake. Officers found a female (cow) moose and year calf in front of a restaurant entrance. While monitoring the moose, officers saw people getting dangerously close to the moose, as well as evidence of illegal feeding.
“Moose are common in Grand Lake throughout the year. It’s not uncommon to see them on or near the Grand Avenue Boardwalk, and the swim beach at Grand Lake,” said District Wildlife Manager Serena Rocksund. “Caution and common sense go a long way in preventing injury or death to humans and wildlife.”
CPW wildlife officers were also notified of another abandoned yearling bedding down near businesses and on porches, with reports saying the yearling was being fed and petted by people. They found the yearling near a residence and decided to relocate the yearling to a remote location outside of town based on its comfort level around humans.
CPW wants to emphasize that moose are not pets.
Give them space
Give moose time and space to move. Attempting to move moose is not only dangerous, it is considered harassment and is illegal. Laid-back ears, pawing the ground, licking their snout, or moving to face the people they encounter all mean that people are too close and need to back away.
How do you know when you’re too close? Hold your arm out in front of you and extend your thumb. If the entire moose is not blocked out by the thumb, back away from the moose.
Remember to keep dogs leashed at all times when enjoying the outdoors or taking them on a walk. Dogs allowed to run off-leash are at substantial risk of being injured or killed by animals trying to defend themselves from what they feel is a predator.
If a dog encounters a moose, the thousand-pound animal will try to stomp on the dog. Dog owners are at risk of being severely injured as well if they attempt to run after their dog to catch them or the dog runs back to them.
Feeding wildlife is illegal
In addition to being illegal, feeding wildlife is harmful to their health. Wildlife have complex digestive systems that are not adapted to handle human food, and intentionally placing or distributing food not naturally found in their habitat, including carrots, birdseed, hay, and salt blocks, can lead to illness or death.
These rules apply to all wildlife, not just moose. Help report unsafe human behavior, like feeding or harassing wildlife, to your local wildlife office. Local offices can be found on CPW’s website.