OUT: Flat Tops moose January 14, 2009

Utah moose take up residence in upper reaches of White River in the Flat Tops

Colorado Division of Wildlife
THIS YOUNG MOOSE has a solar-powered ear transmitter on its right ear and a regular ear tag on the left. The transmitters enable researchers to track the moose and determine survival rates.

What’s old is new and Colorado’s newest moose herd isn’t really all that new.

Nineteen moose now call home the upper White River and its major drainages, after a cooperative project last week between the Northwest Region of the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

The moose were moved from the Weber Canyon area around Ogden after the moose wandered out of the Wasatch Mountains into urban areas.

Crews from Utah trapped the moose, slung them under helicopters and lowered the animals to waiting livestock trailers.

“It took about 15 of us to carry each moose from where they were dropped off to the trailers,” said Darby Finley, DOW terrestrial biologist from Meeker.

Included in the catch were 11 cows, most of which are assumed to be pregnant, four calves and four young bulls.

The calves and bulls were given ear-tags and solar-powered ear transmitters while all the cows are wearing ear-tags and a radio-collar with Global Positioning System capabilities.

“This uses a satellite signal and gives us the ability to track them in real time based on their location,” Finley said.

Each of the GPS collars cost around $3,000, Finley said.

Moose aren’t new to the Flat Tops although the area holds fewer than a dozen resident moose.

Those moose are thought to have migrated from existing herds in North Park and Grand Mesa.

“We’ve had one marked bull off the Grand Mesa for several years now,” Finley said. “So this is more to augment the existing herd rather than establish a new herd.”

It’s hoped another 20 or so moose will be captured next year as well.

It’s expected the herd eventually will grow large enough to support a limited hunting season.

Funding for the $20,000 project came from the raffle of a moose license and through donations from Safari Club International.

The moose were released on the North and South forks of the White River and along Marvine Creek.


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