Moose in Colorado Being Monitored with GPS Tracking

20 Feb 2018

In an effort to gain new insight into Moose behavior, wildlife officials in Steamboat Springs, Colorado have taken to accessorizing the local moose population. The hot fashion accessory they are equipping local moose with is a GPS tracking device attached to a collar around their necks.

The actual goal of this exercise is to help minimize incidents of moose vs. man on the ski slopes. Moose on popular ski trails has been a growing problem in Colorado and these new GPS equipped collars are hoping to reduce the incidents and find ways area wildlife management teams can steer moose clear of these populated trails and areas.

While they may be beautiful to look at, these creatures can be extremely dangerous when they feel threatened. There have been increasing reports of aggressive behavior from moose toward people in the area with several cases involving people being trampled by area moose while walking dogs. Dogs are easily mistaken as wolves who often prey on moose.

Currently, there are 10 moose wearing these GPS equipped collars, which will drop off the moose at a set time. Wildlife officials are hopeful to have the opportunity to tag at least 10 more for the purposes of the study.

This study isn’t about gauging the moose population in the area. Instead, it is focused on where the moose population goes and when they go to these locations.

The multi-year research project is largely being funded by revenue from hunting licenses.

The goal of the study is to find new ways to prevent possible altercations between locals, tourists, and the animals that all share the same playground. The snow is an attraction for everyone and the more we understand about when moose are venturing out into certain areas, the better prepared wildlife management teams are to re-direct them or run interference when needed.

GPS tracking on these moose collars offers a non-invasive way to keep track of the animals in the area without interfering with their normal daily routines. After all, the goal of this project is to better understand their routines and the possible motivations for their wanderings.

GPS tracking provides real time updates on their positions, so scientists can track their movements at all hours of the day and night for the duration of the study.

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