Moose relocated from Basin neighborhood
While a conservation officer from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources central region was responding to a bear sighting in Jeremy Ranch Tuesday, a crew from the northern region was assembling down the road near Kimball Junction to relocate a cow moose and her calf.
"We had several officers in the same area at the same time and we were able to respond to a number of sightings," said Phil Douglass, Division of Wildlife Resources conservation outreach manager for northern Utah. "It started the evening before with a couple of complaints about moose that were in that same general area."
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources received several reports about a moose and her calf roaming the Blackhawk Station neighborhood north of Interstate 80 near Kimball Junction. None of the reports indicated the moose displayed any aggressive behavior, Douglass said.
However, the animals were tranquilized and relocated to the western slope of the Uinta Mountains Tuesday afternoon.
"With a cow and a calf there is always that possibility that the cow will become defensive, especially when hanging around an area," Douglass said. "It is more of a preemptive thing to prevent a negative interaction."
A DWR officer responded to the area Tuesday morning and found the moose on a playground.
The cow and her calf were immobilized without incident at about 2:30 p.m., though a large crowd of people assembled to witness the scene, Douglass said.
"There is always concern by the public," Douglass said of the DWR’s decisions to relocate wildlife. "And it’s not just a matter of it being close to a residential area, but also it being close to highways and traffic. Other than that it’s about general safety, not only to people, but to the moose as well."
Douglass referred to an incident in august where a cow moose killed a dog and knocked over a man while defending her two calves.
"I’m really hopeful that people are talking about these things and that they are taking preventative measures. That’s what’s going to keep us from having negative wildlife interactions," Douglass said.
While a crew dealt with the moose, a DWR conservation officer responded to a report from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office of a black bear on Saddleback Drive in Jeremy Ranch.
Dispatch received a call from a woman at about 9 a.m. who reported seeing the animal, described as a mature black bear, according to Sgt. Ron Bridge, with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
"She came out, sees the bear, snaps a couple of photos with her cellphone and then calls 911," Bridge said.
Deputies responded to the area and a reverse 911 was distributed throughout the neighborhood. DWR officers continued to search for the bear, but he has not been seen and no other sightings have been reported.
Douglass said he was hopeful the bear had left the area, before adding relocation is not the first choice for wildlife officials.
"We call ourselves the guardians and trustees of wildlife in the state. It’s part of what we are, who we are and what we do. The welfare of those animals is foremost," Douglass said. "We are removing them from an area where there is the potential for danger and moving them to an area where they can be their wild selves."
The community doesn’t always agree with the decision to relocate, even when the best interest of the animal and the public is concerned, Douglass said.
"When we show up to these types of things, half of the neighbors will say, ‘You are doing a great job, you are taking care of this so there are no safety issues.’ While the other half are saying, ‘What are you doing? Why are you taking these animals?’ And then you have a situation a couple months ago where the people had named the cow and the two calves. This is just part of the community. But the bottom line for me is tolerance. We want people to be tolerant of the animals and, at the same time, the management that has to take place sometimes."
Anyone who sees the bear is encouraged to contact the Division of Wildlife Resources Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700 or the Summit County Sheriff’s Office at 435-615-3600.