(Trends Wide) — For two years, a moose had a tire around its neck. Now, after several attempts, wildlife officials have released the animal.
The moose was first seen by a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) agent in 2019 when conducting a population survey of bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain ibex in the Mount Evans Wilderness. , about 30 miles west of Denver, according to a CPW press release Monday.
“Being in an inhospitable area, we did not expect to be able to get our hands on the moose alone due to proximity or distance from civilization,” CPW agent Scott Murdoch said in the statement. “It’s harder to get the further they are there and usually the further these moose are from people, the wilder they act. That certainly happened in the last few years, this moose was hard to find and harder to get close to. to the”.
Since then, the wild animal has been spotted a handful of times by tracking cameras and was known to travel between Park and Jefferson counties, the statement read. Wildlife officials monitored the animal over the years and saw that the tire did not affect its ability to eat and drink. But officials feared the animal would become entangled in tree branches, fences or even the antlers of another elk, according to Jason Clay, a public information officer for CPW.
Here is some video of this bull elk over the past two years. pic.twitter.com/R6t9nNPOyb
– CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) October 11, 2021
CPW posted videos and images of the moose over the years in the hopes that the community would call and report if they saw it. Last weekend, an advisory in the community of Pine, Colorado, allowed wildlife agents to help the 4-year-old animal.
On Saturday, Murdoch and CPW Agent Dawson Swanson safely tranquilized the 270-pound animal and removed the tire. Officers had to cut the antlers to remove the tire.
“It wasn’t easy at all. We had to move it well to get it out because we couldn’t cut through the steel at the bead of the rim,” Murdoch said in the press release. “We would have preferred to cut the tire and leave the antlers for their furrow activity, but the situation was dynamic and we had to remove the tire in any way possible.”
Agents estimated that the tire had more than 4 kilos of debris and that the moose lost 15 kilos with the removal of the tire and antlers. They were also surprised by the state of the animal’s neck.
“The hair had been rubbed a little bit. There was a small open wound maybe the size of a nickel or a quarter, but other than that, it looked great,” Murdoch said. “I was actually quite surprised to see how good it looked.”
This was the fourth time in a week that officers had attempted to reassure the animal to remove the tire, but several factors, including the fact that other moose were nearby, hampered the efforts.
“Tranquilizer gear is a relatively short-range tool and given the number of other moose moving along with other environmental factors, you really need to get things going in your favor for an opportunity or a shot to present itself,” Swanson said in the press release.
Agents said neighbors in the area helped and that the moose was back on its feet within minutes after being administered a tranquilizer antidote.
The mystery remains how and when the moose got stuck in the tire. But CPW said it happened when the moose was younger or during the winter when it shed its antlers.
Officials said the moose saga only highlights the importance of residents living responsibly with wildlife in mind. They said that in order for people to have their property clear of obstacles, wildlife could become entangled such as nets, hammocks, clothing lines and Christmas lighting.
Trends Wide’s Leslie Perrot contributed to this report.