Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding the public about the dangers of approaching moose after recent activity in Grand Lake has heightened concerns with conflicts between moose and humans.
Tuesday afternoon, a cow moose injured a 60-year-old woman as she walked her dog in a neighborhood southwest of Grand Lake along County Road 4721.
"It's an unfortunate situation for the victim in this case, and we hope she has a quick recovery," said Area Wildlife Manager Lyle Sidener of Hot Sulphur Springs. "This is a reminder that approaching these large animals can, in certain situations, be dangerous."
According to a witness, the woman and her dog were reportedly as close as 10 feet to the cow and its calf before the moose charged her and knocked her down. The injured woman was taken to Granby Medical Center, then later taken to St. Anthony's Hospital in Lakewood.
Due to an abundance of caution for human health and safety, wildlife officials euthanized the cow and calf.
"People should remember that approaching wildlife often puts the animal at risk, as well," added Sidener.
Moose do not differentiate dogs from wolves -- their natural predator -- and will instinctively attempt to stomp them in self-defense. If the dog runs back to its owner for safety, it can bring an angry, thousand-pound moose with it, putting people at risk, as well.
Late spring is calving season, and cow moose will aggressively protect their young. Wildlife officials advise that people watch all wildlife from a distance with binoculars or a scope. In addition, people should keep their dogs on leashes at all times, especially in areas where moose are common.
Grand Lake made headlines recently after several national news organizations reported on a local bull moose's seemingly amorous attention to a large statue of a bull moose located within city limits.
Wildlife officials say the cow moose attack is not related to the bull moose's unusual behavior, but they remind onlookers to keep their distance from the bull and all other moose they may encounter.
"We have heard reports of people coming as close as 20 feet to take a picture of this bull," said Sidener. "Many people see it as a curiosity, however we caution the public to give it plenty of space, or it may feel threatened and could react."
For more information about living with wildlife, go to www.bit.ly/livingwithwildlife.
For more information about how to safely enjoy moose, visit www.bit.ly/watchingmoose