Wildlife hits the interstate | VailDaily.com

Wildlife hits the interstate

Veronica Whitney

EAGLE COUNTY – People driving on Interstate 70 near Edwards early Monday morning saw lots of flashing police car lights. Police and wildlife officers weren’t responding to an accident, though. They were helping an injured elk in a ditch on the eastbound side of the road.The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, State Patrol and the Department of Wildlife responded to the call at about 8 a.m. Monday near Wilmore Lake, west of Edwards.”We were concerned with the elk possibly getting into traffic and causing some accident,” said Sheriff’s Sgt. Tad Degan. The elk, which had been hit by a car, had to be put down, Degan said.”Be vigilant. It’s the best advice we can give,” Degan added.Wildlife crossing the interstate is a common thing in the county, said District Wildlife Manager Bill Andree of the state Division of Wildlife. “On Monday, there were six accidents involving wildlife from Avon to Dotsero,” he said.The interstate from Avon to Dotsero is a high wildlife migration area and people can expect deer and elk to cross the road at any time, Andree said. “There’s always a lot of wildlife on the road, but with the snow melting, there could be some green grass growing attracting them even more,” he said. “There aren’t fences the whole way. And fences also get holes on them, and the animals seem to find the holes.”To avoid hitting wildlife, Andree recommends people slow down and drive no faster than 60 mph in areas that have wildlife warning signs posted by the Colorado Department of Transportation.”Locals know that in the Wolcott area, elk will be out,” he said. “Going slow and paying attention to the signs or to the dead animals along the road helps.”Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or vwhitney@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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