Grand Mesa Moose Days give wildlife lovers a chance to learn more about animals
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The Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s annual Grand Mesa Moose Day will be July 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center on the Grand Mesa.
State wildlife managers first brought moose to Colorado’s North Park area in 1978, followed by several additional transplant projects over the next 30 years. The Grand Mesa relocation effort began in 2005, concluding two years later after wildlife managers transplanted a total of 91 moose from Utah into existing herds in Colorado.
Today, according to the most recent CPW population estimates, approximately 350 moose now live on the mesa and 2,500 moose have spread across the state. The phenomenal growth in their numbers makes the transplant project one of the most successful wildlife management efforts in the country.
“(Moose) capture people’s imagination,” CPW’s Northwest Region Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero said. “Until a few years ago, many people in Colorado didn’t even know they were here. Today, moose make headlines and people are fascinated by them, so we think it’s important people learn more about the species and how they are being managed.”
Romero said events like Moose Day provide valuable education about the animal, helping keep people and moose safe and providing information about where and how to safely see the elusive creature.
“One would think a large moose is easy to see, but surprisingly, you need a little luck to see one on the Grand Mesa,” she said “They can easily hide in dense vegetation then step out and allow you a quick glimpse before they disappear again. Those fleeting wildlife viewing moments can be very rewarding, and make great memories.”
Grand Mesa Moose Day features various kid-friendly activities, including arts and crafts activities and prize giveaways throughout the day. Kids can earn a prize for going on a hike with a wildlife officer to look for signs of moose activity, enjoy moose biology and history presentations and learn how biologists transplant and track moose.
Additional activities include a fishing casting lesson.
“Most people see moose by accident while hiking, fishing or camping,” said Romero. “If you suddenly see one, be sure to keep your distance. If you are searching for moose, be prepared with a camera, binoculars or a viewing scope. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to keep unleashed dogs far away from moose.”
CPW reminds the public that moose do not fear humans and instinctively react to a curious dog as if it was a predator and will attack it. In the past four years, several people have been seriously injured by moose in Colorado. In all but one case, the conflict was precipitated by a barking dog that got too close.