For more than two years, one has Moose has wandered around the wilderness of Colorado with a tire around his neck. Although wildlife officials are not sure how it got there, they were finally able to remove it.
The young bull moose was first spotted by a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officer in July 2019 who examined the population of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and mountain goats in Mount Evans Wilderness, about 40 miles west of Denver, according to a CPW release. At that time, the moose seemed to be about 2-3 years old.
“Because we were up in the wilderness, we did not really expect to be able to catch the moose just because of the proximity or distance from civilization,” CPW official Scott Murdoch said in a statement. “It’s harder to get the farther they are in there and usually the farther these moose are away from humans, the wilder they shop. That was really true in recent years, this moose was hard to find and harder to get close to. ”
There have been only a few sightings of moose in recent years – three were on track cameras and only two were in person. One was several miles away through a perimeter and another lay behind a home, In Murdoch. The moose traveled back and forth between Park and Jefferson County.
Although the moose acted normally, officials feared that he might become entangled with another animal or debris so that they had been on the lookout and had released updates on the moose in hopes of sightings.
Last weekend, they received a tip from someone in Pine, Colorado, that the moose had been discovered. Murdoch and CPW officer Dawson Swanson arrived to find the animal in one crew of about 40 other moose.
They could calm the moose safely and not so easily remove the tire. They had to cut off the bull’s antlers to get the tire off.
“It was tight to remove,” Murdoch said. “It was not easy, we had to move it right to get rid of it because we could not cut the steel in the tire. Fortunately, the bull’s neck still had some room to move. ”
They had not intended to remove his horn.
“We had the preference to cut the tire and leave the rifle for his track activity, but the situation was dynamic and we had to remove the tire in every possible way,” Murdoch said.
They determined the bull to be about 4 1/2 years old, weighing more than 600 pounds. Officials estimate that the tire was filled with about 10 kilos of pine needles and dirt and that the bull lost about 35 kilos when the tire and antlers were removed.
They were surprised that the animal’s neck was not in a worse condition.
“The hair was rubbed off a bit, there was a small open wound, maybe as big as a nickel or a quarter, but other than that it looked really good,” Murdoch said. “I was actually quite shocked to see how good it looked.”
The bull was back on his feet in just a few minutes after being injected with a drug to reverse the effects of sedation.
Mystery and a happy ending
This was the fourth time in the past week officials had tried to calm the moose to remove the tire. They encountered several roadblocks in their other attempts including too many moose along the way.
“Tranquilizer equipment is a relatively short-range tool and given the number of other moose moving along with other environmental factors, you really have to get things going in your favor to get a shot or opportunity boiler,” Swanson said.
Officials are not sure how the bull managed to get the tire around his neck, however it happened when it was young before it had horns.
“Someone is guessing how it really went there. It could have been a big bundle of tires, ” In Murdoch. “I’ve seen people feed animals and animals come in and put their heads in things. I’ve had deer with buckets around my neck because humans artificially feed animals. ”
Now that the moose is safe, wild officials hope that humans will realize that animals can get into all sorts of things and will clean up their traits to prevent situations like this.
“I’ve seen everything from swings, basketball hoops and tomato cages and hammocks, tires, garbage cans, you name it, I’ve seen it around these animals’ necks,” Murdoch said.
“It’s a good reminder if you live where wildlife lives that you should walk around your property, clean things up and try to remove all kinds of obstacles that may prevent wildlife from moving or tangling them.”