July 17, 2008

Moose on the prowl in Pine Junction
By Pamela Lawson

A moose is on the loose in Pine Junction.

Surprised residents have recently reported seeing the lanky beast around town, to some surprise, and one local has managed to capture the creature on film.

Moose are more typically seen in northern Colorado, where they were introduced in the state 40 years ago. Moose are the largest member of the deer family and are known for their lanky frame and the abundant antlers of the male.

As the state’s moose population continues to grow, the animals are expanding their territory. In 2007, Colorado’s moose population was 1,270, according to the state Division of Wildlife.

Kathi Green, assistant regional manager for the DOW’s northeast region, said her agency has received calls about the moose in Pine Junction.

“Moose are fairly common in South Park,” Green said. “They move through the Front Range on a pretty regular basis— usually it’s a little more common in fall, but it does happen. There are moose in the South Park, North Park and Middle Park areas.”

Green was new to her job with DOW when the animals were introduced in North Park near Walden in 1978 and 1979. Those animals came from Utah and Wyoming.

“It was big hot news,” Green said. “The moose population has definitely expanded from when they were originally introduced.”

The animals stand more than 6 feet tall from shoulder to ground and can weight between 800 and 1,600 pounds.

The man who photographed the moose in Pine Junction preferred not to be interviewed, but he did say he saw the animal earlier this month in the Woodside subdivision area.

Moose like to move around a lot, Green said. They like creek bottoms and willows. The animals can travel “huge” distances, and they are fairly solitary.

“It was checking out the country,” Green said.

Contact staff writer Pamela Lawson at Pamela@evergreenco.com

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