“State of the Moose” meeting set for Oct.10

Western Colorado residents are invited to a public presentation on the state of the Grand Mesa moose population, and the current status of the relocation project that brought them here, at 6 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northwest Region Office in Grand Junction.

Based on the latest moose population estimates of around 300 animals, wildlife managers say that the relocation project can be considered a great success.

“The project has gone far better than we expected,” said Grand Junction Area Wildlife Manager JT Romatzke. “We encourage the public to attend this presentation and learn more about this fascinating species and about our continuing efforts to maintain a healthy moose population on the Grand Mesa for future generations.”

Area residents first approached Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials with a proposal to bring moose to the Grand Mesa in 2001. After conducting an extensive feasibility study, the agency concluded that the area could sustain a modest population of the large ungulates.

Funded almost entirely by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, wildlife managers began relocating Shiras moose from Utah and other areas of Colorado in early 2005.

Wildlife managers relocated 91 moose to the area before the transplant phase concluded in 2007.

“It was difficult work,” said Romatzke. “But thanks to our sportsmen and our agency’s dedicated professionals, we can say that this is one of our most successful wildlife management efforts.”

Other partners contributing to the successful project included Safari Club International, the U.S. Forest Service and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Because the Grand Mesa’s habitat proved to be exceptional for this species of moose, their population growth exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.

“The Grand Mesa has truly great habitat for this species of moose,” said Stephanie Duckett, terrestrial biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “In fact, several sets of twins are born each year, a clear sign that they are thriving up there.”

During the evening presentation and discussion, Duckett and other wildlife managers will offer interesting information about moose, including a brief history of the species in Colorado, viewing tips and the agency’s plans to maintain a healthy population.
“Moose are magnificent animals and we’re all fortunate to have healthy population close-by,” said Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “We want the public to be aware of how we plan to sustain moose on the Grand Mesa while also providing hunting opportunities for the sportsmen that were instrumental in funding this project.”

Who: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

What: “State of the Moose” public presentation

When: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 6 p.m.

Where: Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Northwest Region Office, 711 Independent Ave., Grand Junction

To see video of moose in Colorado, visit: http://wildlife.state.co.us/NewsMedia/Videos/Pages/Moose.aspx

For more information about the Grand Mesa Moose transplant project, please visit: http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Mammals/Pages/MooseReintroductionProgram.aspx

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