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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Colorado Moose Calf Reunited with Mother After Plummeting 4 Feet Into Burned Basement

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Wildfires are unpredictable events that have far-reaching effects. Not only are people and animals displaced, but structures and livelihoods are destroyed.

The East Troublesome Fire began on Oct. 14, 2020, northeast of Kremmling, Colorado. It burned over 190,000 acres and finally was contained on Nov. 30, according to an incident report.

Months later, one of the homes that burned in the fire posed a threat to some of the local wildlife when a baby moose fell into an open, 4-foot-deep basement in Grand Lake and couldn’t get out, according to Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Neighbors spotted the mom and baby in distress. They attempted to fashion a ramp with boards so the baby could get out, but it didn’t work. The baby couldn’t get enough traction to hoist itself up and out.

Moose are nothing to mess with, so the locals called CPW on Aug. 19 and told them about the situation. Officer Serena Rocksund responded and assessed the situation.

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“The calf’s mother would come up to the foundation, walk over to the calf and touch muzzles and walk away about 40 yards,” Rocksund said, according to a news release from CPW. “The residents saw the calf and mother were stressed and needed help, so they called CPW.”

Rocksund rescued the calf from the basement. Then, concerned that the pair would find themselves in distress again if left to roam the area, Rocksund tranquilized both the mother and baby and trailered the reunited pair to the Craig, Colorado, area, where the landscape was more suitable. (More moose later were relocated to the Craig area.)

CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jeromy Huntington said this incident is a good lesson that hazards like the exposed basement need to be handled properly so that cases such as this can be avoided.

“It’s a good reminder that folks need to fence off foundations and cover their window wells because animals can get trapped and die,” he said in the news release.

“We’ve had some increased reports of human-moose conflicts near Grand Lake since the East Troublesome Fire burn, and we didn’t want to take the risk that this moose might get trapped again if we released it near the burn area. So this relocation actually was a win-win for these moose and the CPW project.”

While there is some general awareness that exists regarding the danger of these large animals, the CPW continues to educate people of the sheer power and destructive ability of the moose by sharing warnings on social media.

One recent video they shared showed the speed with which a bull moose can charge.

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“Always give moose and all wildlife space!” the post states. “This video shows what can happen when you are too close to a bull moose and how quickly they can decide to charge on you.

“The individual came upon the bull while walking along a willow bottom heading towards a lake in Clear Creek County.

“Thankfully no injuries occurred as this person managed to get behind a tree and the moose hit the tree.”

Hopefully now that mom and baby moose have been relocated, they will be able to avoid people, and people will be able to avoid them.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking