Moose makes a home in Vail
July 8, 2010
VAIL, Colo. – Recent moose sightings in Vail Village are causing concern for the town and the Colorado Division of Wildlife mainly because the cow – a female moose – hanging around town has a calf to protect.
Cow-calf pairs can be dangerous because the mother can become territorial, causing more of a danger to people and domestic animals, said Randy Hampton, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
The town of Vail gets moose sighting calls every year, but the cow-calf pair so close to the town’s urban core areas is causing more concern, said Vail Police Sgt. Annette Dopplick.
“It’s unique to have them in our urban setting,” Dopplick said. “Our goal is to have a peaceful interface, where people can appreciate the presence of moose, but keep their distance.”
Stacey Provance, a former local visiting the area for the month, said she saw the cow “running around like crazy.”
There were some people nearby who had run off when the moose began acting erratically, and Provance said once the moose reunited with its calf she immediately calmed down. Provance wasn’t sure if the people nearby had provoked the cow to act the way it did by getting too close, but said they were very close.
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“I felt really bad for the mom (moose),” Provance said.
Provance said she doesn’t think the people nearby realized the cow had a calf with her. She hopes people stay away so the moose doesn’t get agitated and so wildlife officials don’t have to step in.
Hampton said the cow seems to feel comfortable with where she and the calf are staying for now, which doesn’t give her any reason to want to move on. He expects her to remain in the Vail Village area for a while.
If the location does become dangerous for the moose or for people, however, the Division of Wildlife would direct her to another area, Hampton said.
Dopplick thinks there could be more than one cow-calf pair in Vail – there have been calls about sightings in the Red Sandstone area, too, which Dopplick said is too far away from the Vail Village sightings for it to be the same pair.
Hampton said multiple pairs in town are very likely because moose are thriving in Colorado right now.
“There’s a growing moose population in that area,” Hampton said.
Dopplick said the town of Vail wants people to make sure they keep their pets, especially dogs, away from moose.
Once the calf matures, the pair will likely move out of the area, she said. In the mean time, people should enjoy the view if they do see the pair and just keep a distance, Hampton said.
“It’s a good opportunity to see some wildlife, but don’t get closer than you need to,” Hampton said.