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Three moose were recently relocated from Park City; neighbors are asking why

moose fall leaves.jpg
Andrea Buchanan
Three moose were relocated to the mountains from a neighborhood in Park City. The DNR said it was the best way to keep the public and the moose safe.

In the last two weeks, two female moose and one calf have been relocated from the area. Some residents are not happy about the decision to move them.

Fall is fast approaching and so are the moose. They are looking for mates, hanging out with their calves and wandering the streets. Carol Dalton, a long-time resident of Park City, lives on the uphill side of the Rail Trail area called Chatham Hills. She said neighbors have been on moose watch.

“And I mean, we even text each other when the moose are moving, oh, they're coming your way. Get your dogs in, you know. And, yeah, and, you know, Joe and I have put out water because it's been so hot and dry," she said. "And they've been, you know, it's kind of on a quarter of our yard where they're not disturbed, and they know where it is. And, you know, the baby came down and drank. And the mother, she's got a lot of personality. I mean, we really all gotten to know him pretty well, and love them.”

Dalton said when she learned the moose had been relocated by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) she was shocked and confused by the decision.

Ryan Miller also lives in the neighborhood and was part of the neighbors’ moose watch. He and his wife were on the Rail Trail last week when they saw police and people gathered around a trailer.

“And, you know, we were both really hoping that it was that we weren't going to see the moose that live in our front yard peacefully in that trailer," he said. "And when we got to the trailer, that's exactly what we saw, we saw both the mother and the baby not quite conscious with the mother, you know, appearing to having a hard time waking up. And they woke up the baby while we were there. We it took a while before the the mother most started to stir. But it was you know, it was pretty sad to watch.”  

Scott Root is the regional outreach manager for the DNR. He said the only reason the DNR relocate moose is for public safety, but moose safety is also a concern. He said the DNR received a call that the moose was acting aggressively so a team went out with biologists to observe her and the calf.

“And people it was kind of by a running trail and such and she was starting to become a little aggressive. She didn't charge anybody," he said. "But she would, you know, pit her ears back and stomp her hoof. And some of these people were just kind of unintentionally encountering her, you know, they'd come around the corner No, there she is. And, and of course, she's a protective mother, a good mother.”

Because the animals were in a residential neighborhood, Root said herding them back into the mountains wasn’t going to be easy. That’s when the DNR biologists decided to tranquilize and relocate them to the mountains off Highway 40.

He said when moose are tranquilized, experts do health assessments and put GPS radio collars on them so they can be tracked.

“You know, we will check nasal cavities, the hooves, the legs, the mouth will kind of do the eyes and ears, we just kind of look them over really well. And occasionally we'll take a blood sample and we did you know to monitor if there's any disease," he said. "And we also like to look them over to see if they have a heavy tick load. But fortunately, the last three moose, they really didn't have any we could see visibly. So that was encouraging”

Root said the last moose relocation was in March, when one was hanging around the high school. He wants the public to know it’s a last resort.

“Yeah, and like I say, we really we understand how everybody feels and Park City, especially if you're lucky enough to have a most, that's kind of passing through here and there and they're so beautiful," he said. "But, you know, just, it's our responsibility, and it's our duty if they do kind of present a safety risk, we often have to relocate, but it's not something we're, you know, rushing to do. We, we need to respond to the public and for any type of, you know, safety risks that are out there with wildlife.”

An adult moose can weigh 800 to 1,200 pounds and bulls can stand 6 feet tall. Mating season begins in late September and continues through mid-October.

Andrea moved to Park City in 2017 with two huskies, two kids and one husband… not in that order. Prior to working at KPCW, she spent decades in the entertainment industry – and racked up a few awards in the process for her work on “Behind the Music” and most recently for a film she produced for Lifetime, “Somebody’s Child: The Regina Louise Story.” She was featured on “Good Morning America” twice for her books which made best sellers lists in Dallas and Denver. She’s still hoping to write one that hits The New York Times list. She loves taking photos, loves the mountains, especially the fall, and is excited to be working with the amazing team at KPCW.