GRAND LAKE, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers rescued a moose calf trapped in the basement foundation of a house that burned in last year’s East Troublesome Fire, reunited it with its mother, and relocated both to more suitable habitat.
CPW officers received a call the morning of Aug. 19 from residents of the Aspen Pine Estates in Grand Lake reporting a moose calf had fallen into the four-foot-deep foundation left when the rest of the structure burned.
The neighbors tried to rescue the calf themselves by creating a ramp with boards that might have allowed the calf to climb out. But it was unable to get enough traction to make the steep climb.
CPW Officer Serena Rocksund responded to the calls for help and found the calf with its agitated cow nearby.
“The calf’s mother would come up to the foundation, walk over to the calf and touch muzzles and walk away about 40 yards,” Rocksund said. “The residents saw the calf and mother were stressed and needed help so they called CPW.”
Rocksund tranquilized both the cow moose and calf and the animals were placed inside a wildlife transport trailer to be relocated to more suitable habitat. The moose calf and cow were released in suitable habitat near Craig later that afternoon.
“It’s a good reminder that folks need to fence off foundations and cover their window wells because animals can get trapped and die,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jeromy Huntington.
“We’ve had some increased reports of human-moose conflicts near Grand Lake since the East Troublesome Fire burn and we didn’t want to take the risk that this moose might get trapped again if we released it near the burn area.”
Huntington said CPW has been working to grow the moose population in suitable habitats near Meeker and Craig.
“So this relocation actually was a win-win for these moose and the CPW project,” Huntington said.
Photos: On the left, a moose calf has become separated from her mother after getting trapped in the foundation of a house that burned in last year’s East Troublesome Fire. On the right, the moose cow and calf are released in suitable habitat near Craig.