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Why A Moose Is Wandering Around The Colorado Plains

Jennifer Kleffner
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
A moose with its young in Colorado.

In mid-June, a wayward moose made an appearance on Colorado's eastern plains. It has been seen near the town of Crook.

In case you were wondering, moose don't live on Colorado's eastern plains. As Jennifer Churchill, a public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, points out, "there's not really good moose habitat out there."

Nonetheless, this moose, likely a yearling from Wyoming, has made its way to farm country. While it might stick out like a sore thumb amid cornfields and cattle grounds, moose visits in farm country aren't entirely unusual.

"As far as wildlife in Colorado, we ask everyone to understand you can see wildlife pretty much anywhere," said Churchill.

The reason a moose might come down to the plains is typically linked to how moose raise their young, said Churchill.

Babies are born in June, and when that happens, the yearlings, who have hung around their mothers for a year, are pushed out to find their own territory.

Credit Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Volunteer Christian Schaller helps to keep a tranquilized moose calm as wildlife officers prepare to move it from a Lakewood yard,

"The older calf will be pushed out and go and fend for itself," said Churchill.

Earlier in 2015, a moose found its way to Loveland and attempted to cross I-25. In June 2015, two moose also wandered into Lakewood and Arvada. (They failed to make it to Denver; it seems even moose agree it's gotten too unaffordable.) There was a sighting in Colorado Springs, and the furry ungulates have shown up in the past in Fort Collins, said Churchill.

Most of the moose make their way back on their own, following the same river corridors they used to come down in the first place. If they don't, CPW has moved moose back to the mountains, to keep them safe.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn has been reporting from Colorado for more than five years, primarily from the Western Slope.
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