VAIL, Colo. - Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers tranquilized and removed a young bull moose out of a parking garage in Lionshead Village Tuesday morning (July 27) for the well-being of both the moose and the people in the area.
Wildlife officers estimated the bull moose to be 2-3 years old. It will now be translocated to a remote area outside of Craig and released there in appropriate moose habitat Tuesday afternoon.
The behavior of this moose indicated it was becoming accustomed to the area and was reluctant to leave on its own, so wildlife officers concluded translocation would be a judicious move all around.
“Everything went smoothly this morning, no issues,” Wildlife Officer Devin Duval said of the operation to tranquilize the bull, which started around 8:25 a.m. “We were definitely within that human health and safety realm where there could potentially be an injury to a human or the animal. That is the reason we decided to move it.”
Calls started trickling in a month ago related to the moose frequenting a few of the neighborhoods.
“Largely, most of these neighborhoods coincide with really optimal moose habitat, notwithstanding the fact there are a lot of pedestrians and human activity,” Duval said. “Moose are not fully concerned with that, they usually are unencumbered by the activity here in Vail.”
Wildlife officers have kept an eye on him for the better part of the month, but within the last 10 days this particular bull started frequenting the ground level of the parking garages. He was licking the walls, presumably for all the deicing agents that are used on the upper-story decks of the parking structure. CPW has worked closely with the Town of Vail to remove residual salts that may have served as an attractant, but the moose continued to remain in the area.
“He was pretty regularly coming into the parking structure first thing in the morning and then would kind of clear out before it got too busy,” Duval said. “This is the primary parking place for the folks accessing Lionshead Village as well as the Vail Health hospital.”
Wildlife officers did not feel this moose was acting aggressively, but as moose often are, this bull was agitated by the presence of dogs. The tipping point for going hands-on to relocate the moose came when it started spending the majority of the day in the area.
“This moose was not electing to spend time elsewhere, but now people can be at ease walking to work through that garage and the moose will be moved to more appropriate habitat,” Duval said.
The young bull is being moved over by Craig, where wildlife officials are looking for additional opportunities to expand the range of moose in the region.
“Coincidentally, it is kind of a serendipitous scenario in that our wildlife officials there were looking for some help with some translocation, so those folks are going to take this moose and find some more appropriate habitat for him,” Duval said.
Vail Fire, Vail Police and crews from the Town of Vail Public Works department all aided in moving the moose out of the garage. Wildlife officers estimated the moose to be 750 pounds.
You can learn more about CPW’s efforts to expand the range of moose into the northwest portions of the state through this Colorado Outdoors podcast episode.
For more information on living with moose, please visit our website by clicking here. CPW reminds the public to always maintain a safe distance from moose, never to approach them, and keep your dogs on a leash when hiking through moose habitat.