Silverton’s resident moose calves prompt reminder: Give them space

Two orphaned moose calves have taken up residence in the Silverton area in southwest Colorado. CPW asks residents and visitors to give these animals space to help encourage their natural migration away from town without human interference. (Courtesy photoBryon Powell/ CPW)

As moose become a more regular sight within town limits in Silverton and other Southwest Colorado towns, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is urging residents and visitors to remember to give these large animals space.

Seeing moose around San Juan County isn’t a new phenomenon since their reintroduction in the area in the early 1990s. But this year, residents have noticed a few more moose showing up within town limits and sticking around for longer periods of time.

That is particularly true of two 6-month-old moose calves that were orphaned earlier this summer when their mother was struck by a motorist. The two calves — one bull and one cow — have stuck close to Silverton since losing their mother nearby.

“It is likely these two calves will be around town through the winter,” said Area Wildlife Manager Adrian Archuleta. “We expect them to kind of stick around together and then, hopefully, move out further into the high country next spring when the snow starts to melt and there is more abundant food and territory elsewhere for them.”

CPW District Wildlife Manager Brandon Dye asks residents and visitors to give moose space and to remember to keep dogs on leash and well distanced from the animals at all times. If trying to take a photograph, stay back and use a zoom. There have been five moose attacks in 2021 across Colorado.

“Moose react to dogs the same way they would react to a predator in the wild,” Dye said. “While these moose in town, especially the two calves, may seem relatively tame or docile, it is important to remember that they are wild animals and can be unpredictable and extremely dangerous.”

Dye said the preference in this particular situation is to let the moose naturally migrate out of town on their own without human interference. He will continually monitor the situation with a priority of public safety.

For the two orphaned calves, it is important to limit their interactions with humans in an effort to keep them as wild as possible and encourage them to naturally migrate to a different area.

The latest population estimate from CPW after the 2020 hunting season indicated there were roughly 460 moose in the southwest region of Colorado. That number has held relatively stable for the last 15 years.

However, the population is thriving and expanding its range, evident by several young bull moose crossing into New Mexico this year.

CPW has several resources regarding moose. See the links below for more information.

CPW produced a video illustrating how people can be safe and responsible around moose. The video is available on YouTube.

John Livingston is the public information officer for CPW Southwest District based in Durango.

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