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Moose incidents in Grand Lake prompt warnings

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

PRESS RELEASE – Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding the public about the dangers of approaching moose after recent activity in Grand Lake has heightened concerns with moose/human conflicts.
Last Tuesday afternoon, a cow moose injured a 60 year-old woman as she walked her dog in a neighborhood southwest of Grand Lake, along County Road 4721. Grand Lake is located just north of Granby and west of Estes Park near Trail Ridge Road.
“It’s an unfortunate situation for the victim in this case, and we hope she has a quick recovery,” said Area Wildlife Manager Lyle Sidener of Hot Sulphur Springs. “This is a reminder that approaching these large animals can in certain situations be dangerous.”
According to a witness, the woman and her dog were reportedly as close as 10 feet to the cow and its calf before the moose charged her and knocked her down. The injured woman was taken to Granby Medical Center then later transported to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood.
Due to an abundance of caution for human health and safety, wildlife officials euthanized the cow and calf.
“People should remember that approaching wildlife often puts the animal at risk as well,” added Sidener.

Because of the circumstances and variables involved, it ultimately required that our agency make some tough decisions and we were very aware of how the public would perceive our actions. For additional perspective, you might consider what the officer who carried out his responsibility to public safety may have experienced as he carried out his duties.
The cow was euthanized because it injured a human, regardless of the reason. We understand that the cow was acting instinctively, but we could not take the risk of letting it go and then it possibly injuring or killing someone else in the future. Unfortunately, the calf was too young to survive on its own.
Our wildlife managers discussed possible alternatives for the calf, including taking it to a rehabilitation facility. Ultimately, due to our strong commitment to protecting human health and safety and the best interests of the calf, there was only one responsible option.
Keep in mind that the goal of wildlife rehabilitation is the eventual release of the animal back into its natural habitat. It is often successful with certain species; however, it is nearly impossible with moose, mule deer, elk and other ungulates, especially when they are very young. If they do not succumb to disease or digestive problems while in captivity, they then become “imprinted” on humans, essentially making them a pet – an unnatural and unhealthy existence for a moose. Releasing it would have been impossible because it would have likely continued seeking interaction with humans, putting the public, and the moose, at risk.
Moose do not differentiate dogs from wolves – their natural predator – and will instinctually attempt to stomp them in self-defense. If the dog runs back to its owner for safety, it can bring an angry, thousand pound moose with it, putting people at risk as well.
Late spring is calving season and cow moose will aggressively protect their young. Wildlife officials advise that people watch all wildlife from a distance with binoculars or a scope. In addition, people should keep their dogs on leashes at all times, especially in areas where moose are common.
Grand Lake made headlines recently after several national news organizations reported on a local bull moose’s seemingly amorous attention to a large statue of a bull moose located within city limits.
Wildlife officials say the cow moose attack is not related to the bull moose’s unusual behavior, but remind onlookers to keep their distance from the bull, and all other moose they may encounter.
“We have heard reports of people coming as close as 20 feet to take a picture of this bull,” said Sidener. “Many people see it as a curiosity, however we caution the public to give it plenty of space or it may feel threatened and could react.”
For more information about living with wildlife, go to www.bit.ly/livingwithwildlife.
For more information about how to safely enjoy moose, visit www.bit.ly/watchingmoose
Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado’s wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs. To learn more, please visitcpw.state.co.us

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