Fort Collins police officers, Department of Wildlife managers and Colorado Parks and Wildlife veterinarians work together to lift an estimated 700-pound tranquilized and blindfolded moose into a trailer on Sunday in a west Fort Collins neighborhood. The moose was transported to the northwest corner of Larimer County, an area that is 'prime moose territory' and away from the wildfire, said Colorado Division of Wildlife manager Shane Craig. / Dawn Madura/ The Coloradoan
An above-average "influx of animals" is possible with the 56,480-acre High Park Fire burning west of the city, said Shane Craig, district wildlife manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The 2-year-old, 700-pound male moose was seen crossing the lake this morning, and later it was seen at Overland Park before it crossed Taft Hill Road.
"The calls started like clockwork," Craig said.
Police found the moose hunkered under a tree at a ditch near Taft Hill Road and Glenmoor Drive. The wildlife service tranquilized the moose, blindfolded it and moved it to the northwest corner of Larimer County, away from the fire. Craig said the moose was standing up and appeared to be in good health before it was released.
Two others have "found little homes" in natural areas in the city, Craig said. "So we've just really been keeping a close eye on them."
The hot weather here is dangerous for the animals normally seen in forested, higher elevations.
"They have to be really careful they don't overheat," Craig said.
Before the fire, a dry winter and spring led to a shortage of berries and choke cherries, which the animals depend upon for food.
"It was a bad year, anyway," Craig said.
He said it's likely the animals are leaving to find food sources wherever they're available, whether that's pet food or bird feeders or other sources in populated areas.
Written by Robert Allen and Dawn Madura
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