Colorado Has One Of the Fastest Growing Moose Populations in U.S.
While the moose population in other states around the country has declined during recent years, the status of these massive mammals continues to grow at a steady pace in Colorado.
However, a large moose presence in Colorado wasn't always the case.
Records dating back to the 1850s indicate that moose were observed in the northern portion of the Centennial State They had likely wandered down from Wyoming. Although the animals existed in Colorado in the mid-19th century, they were transient and never established a stable breeding population.
It wasn't until 1978 that the Colorado Division of Wildlife (now Colorado Parks and Wildlife) worked with the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the general public/local ranchers to introduce moose back into the state. The North Park area in the Routt National Forest near Walden was selected as the site for the first moose reintroduction. Here, wildlife experts transplanted 24 male and female moose from Wyoming and Utah to create a breeding population and provide hunting opportunities.
In the years to follow, additional moose from Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado’s own growing population were introduced to other areas of the state.
By 2012, the reintroduction program had established a breeding population of about 2,300 moose in Colorado. These impressive animals prefer a riparian habitat near lakes, rivers, or wetlands, where they can feed on young plants including shrubs, aquatic plants, grasses, mosses, willow, and aspen. This type of environment is present in many parts of Colorado and has contributed to allowing this species to continue to thrive.
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Between 2015 and 2021, the state's moose population grew from 2,500 to about 3,500. Walden has been dubbed the moose-viewing capital of Colorado due to how many are frequently seen roaming the area.
Disease, drought, and malnutrition are some of the factors the moose population has been declining in Wyoming.
According to CPW, Colorado’s adult moose can run 35 miles per hour, weigh up to 1,000 pounds and stand six feet tall at the shoulder.