By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A moose calf was rescued from a burned out basement and reunited with its mother in northern Colorado late last week, officials announced Monday.
The calf was trapped in the foundation of a house in Grand Lake that burned during last year’s East Troublesome Fire. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers received a call on the morning of Aug. 19 from residents in the house’s neighborhood reporting that a moose calf had fallen into the 4-foot deep foundation that was left when the rest of the structure burned.
The neighbors tried to rescue the calf themselves by creating a ramp with boards that might have allowed the calf to climb out, but it was unable to get enough traction to make the steep climb.
CPW Officer Serena Rocksund responded to the calls for help and found the calf’s agitated mother nearby.
“The calf’s mother would come up to the foundation, walk over to the calf and touch muzzles and walk away about 40 yards,” Rocksund said. “The residents saw the calf and mother were stressed and needed help so they called CPW.”
Rocksund tranquilized both the cow moose and calf and the calf was removed from the basement. Then both animals were placed inside a wildlife transport trailer to be relocated to more suitable habitat.
The two were released in near Craig, Colorado, later that afternoon.
“It’s a good reminder that folks need to fence off foundations and cover their window wells because animals can get trapped and die,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jeromy Huntington. “We’ve had some increased reports of human-moose conflicts near Grand Lake since the East Troublesome Fire burn and we didn’t want to take the risk that this moose might get trapped again if we released it near the burn area.”
Huntington said CPW has been working to grow the moose population near Craig and Meeker, Colorado.
“So this relocation actually was a win-win for these moose and the CPW project,” Huntington said.