Cow moose in Paonia dies from poison plant

A moose that had been hanging around Paonia for a few weeks to the delight of onlookers died last weekend from poisoning.

Randy Hampton, spokesman for the Division of Wildlife, said a necropsy of the animal performed in Grand Junction revealed the cow ate Japanese yew, an ornamental plant used in landscaping that is also poisonous to moose and other animals.

The moose and its calf had taken up residence in the town and had shown up in backyards on occasion.

Hampton said the necropsy showed the animal had a dislocated hip that was consistent with a collision with a car.

The injury was old, Hampton said, but most likely caused the moose great pain and contributed to the animal hanging around Paonia and not wandering off.

“If the moose had been outside of town, it probably would have been taken down by a predator because of the hip injury,” Hampton said.

“It’s just nature taking its course.”

Hampton said the calf seen with the cow was an older calf from the last breeding season and is strong enough to survive on its own.

It already had wandered away from the town, he said, adding, “We have no concerns in that regard.”


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