Moose and elk roam free in Colorado’s Front Range, and conservation officials at Colorado Parks and Wildlife have had to rescue animals in suburban areas on two separate occasions this week. On Monday, January 10, CPW agents rescued a moose trapped in a basement in Breckenridge. And on Tuesday, officers freed a moose that had become entangled in rope and temporarily snagged on a tree in Golden.
Officers were notified of the captive moose around 3:30 p.m. Monday, according to a CPW press release† They arrived at the house that afternoon, located off Ski Hill Road in Breckenridge, to find that the moose had fallen through a snow-covered window deep into the basement of the house. They first tried to lure the moose down the basement stairs to the nearest exit, but the young bull wouldn’t cooperate.
CPW officers then calmed the moose, and in an effort to minimize damage to the house, they “cut off the antler so it could fit on the stairs of the house.” With help from Breckenridge Police, Blue River Police and the local EMS and Fire Department, officers were able to carry the animal up the stairs and outside, where it was released safely.
According to CPW, “Moose antlers usually fall off this time of year and the moose will get new antlers this spring.” CPW District Wildlife Manager Jake Kay added that the moose had been released in good health, saying, “other than a small cut on its leg, the moose appeared to be healthy.”
State conservationists were at it again at 8:15 a.m. the next day, when they received a report of a bull elk entangled in rope and hung in some trees near Golden High School. Officers were on the scene within an hour, police said a CPW press releaseand they were assisted by the Animal Management Division of the Golden Police Department.
After sedating the moose, they were able to remove the rope and around 10:25 a.m., wildlife officials administered a reversal agent to wake the moose from the stun and he ran away. The animal was likely exhausted, but officers saw no serious injuries and they believe the moose recovered quickly from the ordeal.
Wildlife rescues similar to these two incidents have become more frequent of late as towns and subdivisions along the burgeoning Front Range continue to expand into areas that also provide habitat for wildlife. At the same time, Colorado’s resident moose population is expanding and the state’s Clear Creek moose herd is becoming increasingly urbanized, especially in the Golden area. CPW is currently in the midst of a five-year collaring study that is intended to provide a better understanding of the movements of the Clear Creek moose herd so that they can properly manage the herd.
The state wildlife organization also has a lot of information about: live with moose in Colorado and how best to do it? avoid nature conflicts† This includes respecting wildlife by not feeding them and taking measures to prevent them from entering homes, buildings and gardens.
As CPW puts it on its “Living with wildlife” website: “In most situations, humans and wildlife can coexist. The key is to respect the wildness of wildlife.”