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Moose in Vail parking structure gets relocated

The young bull was getting used to being in town

Vail Daily Staff
Vail Daily
A Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer Tuesday morning prepares to tranquilize a young bull moose in the Lionshead parking structure. The moose had been spotted around Vail for about a month, and had started spending too much time in the town’s parking structures.
Photo from Colorado Parks and Wildlife

VAIL — Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers Tuesday morning, July 27, tranquilized and removed a young bull moose from a parking garage in Lionshead Village for the well-being of both the moose and the people in the area.

Wildlife officers estimated the bull moose to be 2 to 3 years old. The animal was relocated to a remote area outside of Craig and released there in appropriate moose habitat Tuesday afternoon.

The behavior of this moose indicated it was becoming accustomed to the area and was reluctant to leave on its own, so wildlife officers concluded relocation would be a judicious move all around.



“Everything went smoothly this morning, no issues,” Wildlife Officer Devin Duval said of the operation to tranquilize the bull. “We were definitely within that human health and safety realm where there could potentially be an injury to a human or the animal. That is the reason we decided to move it.”

A month with a moose

Calls started trickling in a month ago related to the moose frequenting a few of Vail’s neighborhoods.



“Largely, most of these neighborhoods coincide with really optimal moose habitat, notwithstanding the fact there are a lot of pedestrians and human activity,” Duval said. “Moose are not fully concerned with that; they usually are unencumbered by the activity here in Vail.”

Wildlife officers have kept an eye on the moose for the better part of the month, but within the past 10 days the bull started frequenting the ground level of the town’s parking structures. He was licking the walls, presumably for the deicing agents that are used on the upper-story decks of the parking structure.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife worked closely with the town of Vail to remove residual salts that may have served as an attractant, but the moose continued to remain in the area.

“He was pretty regularly coming into the parking structure first thing in the morning and then would kind of clear out before it got too busy,” Duval said. “This is the primary parking place for the folks accessing Lionshead Village.”

Wildlife officers did not feel the moose was acting aggressively, but as moose often are, the bull was agitated by the presence of dogs. The tipping point for going hands-on to relocate the moose came when it started spending the majority of the day in the area.

“This moose was not electing to spend time elsewhere, but now people can be at ease walking to work through that garage, and the moose will be moved to more appropriate habitat,” Duval said.

More moose for Craig

The young bull is being moved to an area near Craig, where wildlife officials are looking for additional opportunities to expand the range of moose in the region.

“Coincidentally, it is kind of a serendipitous scenario in that our wildlife officials there were looking for some help with some (relocation), so those folks are going to take this moose and find some more appropriate habitat for him,” Duval said.

Vail’s fire and police departments, as well as the town’s public works department, all aided in moving the moose out of the garage. Wildlife officers estimated the moose weighed about 750 pounds.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s efforts to expand the range of moose into the northwest portions of the state are detailed on an episode of the Colorado Outdoors podcast.

More information on living with moose is available on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. Wildlife officials remind the public to always maintain a safe distance from moose, never to approach them, and keep dogs on a leash when hiking through moose habitat.


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