GRAND LAKE, Colo. (CBS4) – Officials with Colorado’s Division of Wildlife are trying to spread the word about the problems associated with a new kind of moose encounter that apparently has become popular.
Some snowmobilers have recently started posting videos on YouTube and other online channels of them harassing the moose, coming up close and forcing them to run away. One video shows a moose being tailed in the snow by the machine and running at top speed.
The videos have been made in multiple locations but one is Grand Lake near Rocky Mountain National Park.
Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton told CBS4 that in addition to being dangerous for the snowmobilers, the encounters can be quite harmful to the animals.
“For winter moose store up a lot of body fat,” Hampton said. “By making them run like this, it burns it up. They may need that energy and may not have enough to survive the winter and die.”
Hampton said that because moose don’t fear humans like elk or deer, there’s a chance they might charge at people that harrass them in any way.
“We’ve got to do something before someone gets hurt, or before animals die,” he said. “Moose are going to do what they need to survive.”
One place wildlife officials will be focusing on with their educational campaign is snowmobile rental shops. There they will ask employees to remind customers that such behavior isn’t okay.
Anyone caught harassing a wild animal can be fined, and the costs shoot up if an animal is injured.