A moose was spotted in north Durango last week, a rather rare sight for an animal more known to wander the high country.
Kirby McLaurin, who lives in the River View Mobile Home Park near Oxbow Park and Preserve, said he and his neighbor were talking Friday when they saw a moose on the newly constructed portion of the Animas River Trail.
“It looked like a young bull,” McLaurin said.
The moose crossed the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad tracks, went into the road in front of McLaurin’s house and then ran off. McLaurin said he heard from neighbors later in the day that the moose had crossed the Animas River and was on the east side of the valley.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in an email Monday the agency received a report from a property owner in the area about the moose sighting.
“Apparently, the moose is hanging around a water feature on the property. It’s not unusual for moose to wander through the Animas Valley, although it is not a frequent occurrence,” the CPW said.
The CPW spokesman said there are healthy populations of moose in the Silverton area and in the Lake City area. It’s not unheard of for male bulls go on walkabouts looking for new territory and mates.
“CPW will not take any action unless the moose moves into a more populated area where it might cause problems,” the agency said. “Moose are big and can become aggressive if approached by people and especially dogs. Anyone who sees a moose anywhere should observe it from a distance. If you are hiking with a dog, move well away from the moose.”
The last reported instance of a moose venturing into town limits was September 2015 when a young male was spotted in the Animas River near downtown Durango. At the time, more than 100 people gathered at the river to catch a glimpse of the animal.
Moose were reintroduced into the state in the 1970s. The population has since grown and is considered stable, though exact figures are difficult to count because of the ungulate’s solitary nature.