Moose, calf relocated to Williams Fork area
SUMMIT COUNTY – State Division of Wildlife (DOW) officials were forced to tranquilize and relocate a moose and her calf because the two kept meandering into heavy Fourth of July holiday traffic on Interstate 70 Sunday afternoon.The two were moved Tuesday to an undisclosed location in the Williams Fork drainage at the north end of the county. “They were right on the highway,” said Todd Malmsbury, the DOW’s chief information officer. “People had to swerve to avoid them. We were concerned enough about it that we tranquilized them and moved them.”The two had been lingering in the area just west of the Silverthorne westbound on-ramp and north of the interstate for several days, and had wandered onto the highway on occasion.
At one point, the DOW and Colorado State Patrol had to shut down the interstate in both directions and scare the two back into the wetlands below, Malmsbury said.Hitting a moose is extremely dangerous, he said.”Their legs are so long, their bodies are way up in the air,” Malmsbury said. “If you hit them, it takes their legs right out from under them and their body goes into the passenger compartment of your car. With the high-speed traffic and volume we had, it was a classic setup for a disastrous car wreck.”Moose are the largest member of the deer family, weighing up to 1,000 pounds.
There are about 1,000 moose in Colorado, most of them in the North Park and Middle Park areas north of Summit County. Malmsbury estimates Summit County is home to about a dozen moose, but it’s hard to keep tabs on them because they move around so much.He hopes the two the DOW relocated stay put.”They could return, or they might find that the habitat where they are now is so good they choose to stay,” he said. “But all animals have a mind of their own, and moose especially. They go wherever and whenever they want. They can, because they’re usually the biggest guy on the block.”Drivers should pay close attention for wildlife – from ground squirrels to moose – while driving along rural highways, and particularly at night.
Malmsbury said an elk was hit and killed near Silverthorne within the past week, and two people were seriously injured on the Front Range when their SUV rolled when they tried to avoid an elk. Additionally, more than 100 bears were killed in each of the past two years on Colorado highways.Wildlife, from ground squirrels to moose, have always crossed highways,” Malmsbury said. “But with more of us driving such big vehicles so fast – and not just in the day, but 24/7 – it increases the chances of accidents. People need to be more alert.”Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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