VAIL, Colo. (KDVR) — Lionshead Village in Vail, Colorado, doesn’t just draw the winter crowd for its high-end accommodations and proximity to the lifts. Something about it draws wildlife, too.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers had to remove a 2- to 3-year-old bull moose from a Lionshead Village parking garage on Tuesday morning after it refused to leave on its own. The animal seemed to be comfortable in the structure, so officers had to tranquilize him before attempting to move him.
“Everything went smoothly this morning. No issues,” Wildlife Officer Devin Duval said of the operation to tranquilize the bull, which started around 8:25 a.m. “We were definitely within that human health and safety realm where there could potentially be an injury to a human or the animal. That is the reason we decided to move it.”
Residents in the area have been reporting incidents and sightings of the moose, who seemed to have moved into the neighborhood in the last month. CPW officers said they’ve been tracking him, but now his lease is up and he had to be returned to the wild.
“Largely, most of these neighborhoods coincide with really optimal moose habitat, notwithstanding the fact there are a lot of pedestrians and human activity,” Duval said. “Moose are not fully concerned with that, they usually are unencumbered by the activity here in Vail.”
Moose are attracted to the deicing agent used on the garage walls, which is most likely why this bull was there, CPW said.
“He was pretty regularly coming into the parking structure first thing in the morning and then would kind of clear out before it got too busy,” Duval said. “This is the primary parking place for the folks accessing Lionshead Village, as well as the Vail Health hospital.”
The 750-pound animal was moved to the municipality of Craig and released in a more moose-friendly habitat.
“This moose was not electing to spend time elsewhere, but now people can be at ease walking to work through that garage and the moose will be moved to more appropriate habitat,” Duval said.