A wild moose chase in Broomfield ended Monday morning after wildlife officials captured and relocated a 2-year-old male moose who had been wandering through town since Friday.
The moose was spotted off First Avenue and Laurel Street early in the morning on Monday, but was not captured until after just before noon. Broomfield police and Colorado Parks and Wildlife chased the moose through several neighborhoods before trapping it behind Colorado Dog Academy on Sheridan Boulevard, where it was tranquilized and captured.
Jennifer Churchill, a spokeswoman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said a veterinarian would examine the moose to make sure he is healthy, then he would be released somewhere 30 to 60 miles away in a riparian area that is better suited as moose habitat.
It took three tranquilizer darts to subdue the 550-pound animal, she said.
"He really took off like a shot, and it took awhile to get him down," she said as a trailer pulled away carrying the tranquilized moose.
Before moving him away, officials gave the moose some eye drops and a drink of water to make sure he would stay hydrated for his journey. Animals lose the ability to blink when tranquilized.
Parks and Wildlife officials first cornered the moose between some apartments on Second Avenue and Laurel Streets just before 9 a.m., but the moose escaped and ran throughout Broomfield before becoming trapped behind the dog training facility and the Extra Space Storage facility near Sheridan Boulevard and 120th Avenue.
Churchill said the moose was likely looking for new territory and that his wanderings through Broomfield were not related to recent flooding. Moose typically leave their mother's territory as adolescents and strike out to find new places to live.
This moose likely got lost in a human-populated area during its search as it followed greenbelts and open space, she said.
Tim Hilt, who lives on Laurel Street, said his wife saw the moose from their window on Monday morning.
The couple took photos, but police had asked residents on the street to stay out of the way. Hilt's wife stayed in the house while he crossed the street to look for the moose with his uncle.
"It's pretty cool that there was a moose in my yard," he said.
Though officials shot the moose with he tranquilizer dart while it was cornered near Hilt's apartment, the moose was able to sprint away. The moose led police and CPW on a confusing chase past schools, businesses and homes before they could capture him.
Broomfield resident Carrie Lingo heard about the moose on TV and brought her 9-year-old daughter, Izzy, on a search for it. The mother and daughter were there when the moose was cornered and pulled away in a trailer.
Izzy is homeschooled, and Lingo said the experience of seeing a moose outside its natural habitat was an educational experience for her daughter.
"It's outstanding to be able to listen to a wildlife officer explain the process and figure out why (the moose) would be in such an area," she said.
Tom Adams, assistant manager at Extra Space Storage, said he was taking out the trash when he heard there was a moose near his property. He was glad the moose was not able to crash through the chain link fence that separated the storage center from the open area where the animal was tranquilized.
"It's crazy. He was huge," he said. "This was definitely not how I thought I would be spending my Monday."
Churchill said the moose sighting might seem unusual, but large wildlife comes through suburban neighborhoods more often than people think.
Moose have no natural predators in Colorado, so they have no fear of humans. Yet they can get spooked by dogs and hurt humans who might get too close, she said.
"Our main concern is safety of both the citizens and the animal," she said.
If anyone crosses paths with a moose or another large, wild animal, "give it some space to pass by," she said.
This isn't the first time Broomfield residents have come face to face with wildlife. In July, a young black bear wandered through town for about five days before settling into a tree on Mesa Court. Parks and Wildlife tranquilized the bear and moved it to a more appropriate habitat.
On Friday, residents first reported the moose sightings in Broomfield. The moose wandered through Broomfield Heights Middle School's football field and moved on to the Ruth Roberts open space north of 136th Avenue and Kohl Street, said Broomfield Sgt. Brendan Sullivan.
Contact Enterprise Staff Writer Megan Quinn at 303-410-2649 or firstname.lastname@example.org