Moose Arrives on Grand Mesa

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

The Colorado Division of Wildlife’s (DOW) effort to establish a moose herd on western Colorado's Grand Mesa continued Tuesday with the arrival of the first dispersal moose from Utah.

The cow moose was captured north of Ogden by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources on Tuesday morning. She was examined by a veterinarian in Price, Utah and transferred to DOW personnel who had responded from Grand Junction.

"The cow seemed to be in very good health," said DOW District Wildlife Manager Lyle Sidener. "She was hesitant to come out of the trailer, but when she realized she wasn't in any danger she jumped out and headed for a nearby willow stand."

As cow moose begin to chase off yearling moose in preparation for the arrival of new calves, more dispersal moose are expected to arrive from Utah. These moose typically come off the Wasatch Front in search of new territory and end up in areas where they are more likely to come into contact with people or vehicles.

"Last year, Utah trapped about 100 dispersal moose," said Ron Velarde, DOW northwest regional manager. "So, while we won't be getting 20 moose at one time, we are expecting to get more moose over the next few months."

Biologists also continue checking on the cow and two bulls released on Jan. 18. The animals appear healthy and active. The moose have remained close to the original release site, which was selected because of its plentiful willow forage for the animals.

"The original cow was in the area when we released the Utah cow," said DOW terrestrial biologist Stephanie Duckett. "We never saw her, but from the radio collar signals we received, we could tell she wasn't far away."

It is possible that one or both of the cows are pregnant. Pregnancy rates in the wild are typically about 90 percent, with twinning occurring in 22 percent of Colorado's wild moose populations. Moose typically calve in late May and DOW biologists say they will monitor the two cows around that time to see if any additional Grand Mesa moose arrive naturally.

"We're excited to see this project move ahead," Velarde added. "The positive comments continue to pour in from around the area. It's apparent that there are plenty of people who are anxious to catch a glimpse of a Grand Mesa moose this summer."