By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A young bull moose that made itself at home in Vail, Colorado, was tranquilized in a parking garage and removed from the area Tuesday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife the department announced this week.
The moose is being relocated to a remote area about 120 miles north in a more appropriate moose habitat. Wildlife officers estimated it to be 2 to 3 years old.
The behavior of the moose indicated it was becoming accustomed to the area and was reluctant to leave on its own, so wildlife officers concluded relocation was the best move.
“Everything went smoothly this morning, no issues,” Wildlife Officer Devin Duval said. “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 Vail’s 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 kept an eye on on the moose for the better part of the month, but within the last 10 days, it started frequenting the ground level of the parking garages.
He was seen licking the walls structures, presumably for all the deicing agents that are used on the upper-story decks of the parking structure.
CPW 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.
Wildlife officers did not feel the moose was acting aggressively, but it was agitated by the presence of dogs.
Wildlife officers decided to relocate the bull from the parking garage 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 Vail Fire Department, Police Department and crews from the Vail Public Works Department all aided in moving the moose out of the garage. Wildlife officers estimated the bull to be 750 pounds.
“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.