May 12, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Summit Daily News "Moose on the loose, so steer clear"

Janice Kurbjan:
"When moose and bears start showing up near homes, officials start getting worried.

Not because the wildlife is there — humans in the High Country live in the animals' home, afterall — but because often, humans don't treat the beasts like beasts.

“We've had multiple incidents in Willowbrook with moose,” Silverthorne Police Chief Mark Hanschmidt said. “There are three or four moose wandering around the neighborhoods (there).”

None of the moose have shown signs of aggression, even when people approach far too close for comfort for those who know what the animals are capable of. But there's never any telling what will set a mamma or bull moose off, sending them charging at a bystander, Hanschmidt said.

And when a bear shows up in Dillon Valley, as it did Thursday morning, it's not something to approach closely for pictures — which is what officials witnessed.

“The wildlife is out and it's great to see it. I'm happy people are aware and seeing all these animals, but they don't realize it's dangerous,” Hanschmidt said. “They are wild animals. They need their space. People assuming that they're not dangerous and can walk right up and take pictures are wrong.”

Hanschmidt remembers when he was walking his dog one night in Willowbrook about five years ago. A female moose, unprovoked, approached and put her head down to charge....."
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