Moose Fest Celebrates One of Colorado’s Coolest Critters

July 25, 2014

Colorado wildlifeMoose populations continue to grow in Colorado and the fascination with the charismatic animals continues to inspire moose lovers to learn more about the fascinating ungulates. For anyone that wants to have fun learning more about moose, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be sponsoring the Fifth Annual Grand Mesa Moose Day, Saturday, July 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor's Center atop the Grand Mesa, a few miles east of Grand Junction.

Since the first moose transplant to the state by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in 1978, the rapid growth of their population has become one of the agency's most successful wildlife management efforts. The Grand Mesa population is doing well, too. Wildlife managers estimate there are now over 400 moose from the original 91 animals relocated to the area between 2005-07.

"There are an estimated 2300 moose across the state today, and the population is growing steadily," said Trina Romero, event organizer and Watchable Wildlife Coordinator with CPW. "Because moose are showing up in many areas of the state where just a few years ago it would have been unheard of, the need for knowledge and education has become very important. Grand Mesa Moose Day is a great way to have fun and learn about moose."

Romero adds that learning how to co-exist with wildlife is the most responsible thing a person can do to protect themselves, and the animals.

"The more moose populations grow, the possibility of a close encounter increases as well," adds Romero. "We encourage everyone to come to the event and discover interesting things about moose, including how to watch them safely."

CPW officers, U.S. Forest Service personnel and a variety of partners will be on-hand to answer questions and lead activities, including a puppet show for kids and prize giveaways throughout the day. Several presentations are scheduled: moose biology and history, moose viewing tips and information about how biologists transplant and track moose. Kids can earn a prize for going on a hike with a wildlife officer to look for signs of moose activity.

"Everybody asks me where they can see moose on the Mesa," says Romero. "If you want to increase your chances of seeing one, come to the celebration this year and learn where and how from the experts."

Romero reminds the public that moose should always be viewed from a distance, ideally with a camera with a telephoto lens, binoculars or a viewing scope. She adds that dogs are a serious concern and warns people to avoid letting unleashed dogs approach them.

"Moose do not fear humans and instinctively react to a curious dog as if it was a predator and will attack it," she said. "They are majestic animals that are great to watch but they can be very dangerous if you or your dog get too close."

Grand Mesa Moose Day partners include Colorado Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, The Moose 92.3, the Grand Mesa Scenic & Historic Byway, Cabela's and A-n-G Outfitters.

In addition to moose viewing tips and information, fishing-related activities will be demonstrated.  Fishing and wildlife viewing are two of the most popular activities on the Grand Mesa.

Take Highway 65 from Interstate 70 to the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center at FR 121, or drive up Highway 50 from nearby Delta. Anyone heading to the event is reminded to be attentive as it is increasingly likely to catch a glimpse of a moose. Pack a picnic lunch and make this a fun day trip for the entire family.


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