Moose visits Vail Valley schools
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado “-Shayla Turnbull was just about to head into Vail Valley’s Berry Creek Middle School to start her day at the Edwards school when she saw a huge moose roaming around the Edwards campus.
Shayla’s mother, Janeil, was dropping her off at school when Shayla spotted the moose from the car. Janeil Turnbull grabbed her camera and the two followed the moose to the ball fields.
“I don’t think she liked the flash (from the camera),” Janeil Turnbull said of the moose.
The moose was actually a male, said Randy Hampton, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
After spending the morning in the Edwards area around Berry Creek Middle School, June Creek Elementary School and the Eagle County Charter Academy, he wandered back across Highway 6 up toward Arrowhead, he said.
He’s back in the woods where there are less people around, and he’ll likely hang out in the area for weeks, Hampton said.
The schools were told to keep students inside all day Tuesday as a precaution, though.
“People need to keep their distance and leave him alone,” he said.
Sightings of the large animals aren’t uncommon in the valley, he said.
“Moose are doing quite well in Colorado,” he said. “There are a number of different populations, and as they continue to grow it’s going to be more common to see them in the Eagle River Valley.”
The Colorado Division of Wildlife reintroduced moose into the state in 1978 and 1979. Before then, moose had wandered into the state, but there wasn’t a breeding population here, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife Web site.
The North Park area in northern Colorado has the largest moose population in the state, Hampton said. The moose often roam into surrounding areas, though. The Colorado Division of Wildlife brought in more moose from Utah to the Grand Mesa, near Grand Junction, in 2005.
“We see some of those moose moving into the Roaring Fork Valley ” and the Eagle River Valley is right next door,” he said.
Early settlers likely hunted Colorado moose out of the state, but Colorado is a perfect habitat for them, Hampton said. There’s likely more moose in Colorado now than ever, so it’s important to respect the animals when you see them, he said.
While moose can be aggressive, Hampton said they’ll typically keep to themselves if people don’t come into their personal space.
“Any wild animal has the potential to be a risk,” he said.
This time of year is the calving season, meaning female moose, or cows, may be seen with their calves could happen. These females can be aggressive, just like any mother protecting its young, he said.
The time when males, or bulls, are most aggressive is around August and September ” the breeding season.
“They can get to be like college guys, with one thing on their mind,” he said.
When people approach moose and try to get a closer look, it can cause the moose to become aggressive and defensive. That’s why it’s important to leave them alone ” if they become aggressive the Division of Wildlife has to step in and either tranquilize the moose and relocate it, or kill it.
“That’s the last thing we want to do,” Hampton said.
For the Berry Creek Middle School students, parents and teachers, the moose sighting was an exciting beginning to the day with a happy ending for the moose and its spectators.
“Where else could you live and see a moose at your school,” Janeil Turnbull said. “We just live in such a cool place.”
Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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