Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds you to give moose their space. Moose are very protective of their territory and young. They will defend themselves, their territory, and their young when they feel threatened.
On Friday, March 11, Area 9 wildlife managers responded to reports of two moose on the Boardwalk in downtown Grand Lake. Wildlife officers responded to find a female (cow) moose and her yearling calf in front of the entrance to a restaurant on the Grand Avenue Boardwalk.
As they were monitoring the moose, CPW wildlife officers noticed some very concerning and dangerous behavior from people in the downtown area.
“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. “On Friday, we witnessed people getting dangerously close to the moose and evidence of illegal feeding. Caution and common sense go a long way in preventing injury or death to humans and wildlife.”
While downtown, CPW wildlife officers were notified of another abandoned yearling calf bedding down in front of businesses and on porches. Several reports stated the yearling was being fed and petted by humans. Wildlife officers were able to find the yearling near a residence. Based on its comfort level around humans, they decided to relocate the yearling to a remote location outside of town.
We cannot stress this enough. Moose, especially calves, are not pets. The best and the only way to view them is from a safe distance. Here are a few simple things to remember when living with and viewing moose.
Give them space:
If you encounter a moose, give them space and time to move. Do not attempt to move the moose. Not only is it dangerous, but this is also considered harassment and is illegal. If a moose has laid-back ears, pawing the ground, licks its snout, or changes its direction to face you, you’re too close and need to back away.
How close is too close? Extend your arm out as far as it can go and hold up your thumb as though you are giving the moose a thumbs-up sign. If you cannot cover the moose with your entire thumb, you are too close and need to slowly back away from the moose.
When enjoying the outdoors or taking your dog(s) on their walk, remember to keep them leashed at all times. Dogs allowed to run off-leash are at substantial risk of being injured or killed by animals trying to defend themselves from what they perceive as a predator. If your dog happens to encounter a moose, the thousand-pound animal will aggressively try to stomp on your dog. If the dog runs back to you, or you go after your dog in an attempt to catch them, you are at risk of being severely injured as well.
Feeding wildlife is illegal:
Not only is it illegal, but it is also very harmful to their health. Wildlife has a complex digestive system that is not adapted to handle human food. When people intentionally place or distribute food that does not naturally occur in the animals’ habitat, such as carrots, birdseed, hay, or salt blocks, it can lead to illness or death.
We want to thank our partners with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Lake Fire Protection District, and the Town of Grand Lake for your assistance Friday. It’s also important to note these tips and rules apply to all wildlife, not just moose. If you see unsafe human behavior such as feeding or harassing wildlife, please report it to your local wildlife office. Find your local wildlife office at cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/ContactUs.aspx.