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May 2024

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Courtesy NM Game and Fish Bull moose grazes in field in downtown Santa Fe

Bull Moose Wandering Streets of Downtown Santa Fe, Relocated to Northern New Mexico

In the fall of 2022, a bull moose was spotted across the northern Taos County communities, with sightings documented on social media at the Tres Ritos Ranch in Cerro, Sunshine Valley, Costilla and Questa. Over the past 10 years, there have been only about a dozen sightings.

It was a beautiful New Mexico morning in Santa Fe on Tuesday, September 12, when a moose was once again spotted near Fort Marcy Park and immediately reported by people in town. Officers tracked the moose half a mile away, to Grant Avenue and Rosario Boulevard, just past the Casa Cuma Bed & Breakfast.

Courtesy NM Game and Fish Bull moose is euthanized and transported out of the downtown Santa Fe area

Officials say the animal showed very little fear of humans or pets, creating concerns for the safety of residents. Moose usually exhibit aggression toward humans and pets.

Officials with the Game and Fish Department accomplished the heroic feat of capturing the moose, removing him from the public scene at around 11 a.m. that same day. The moose was evaluated and determined to be in good health. He was estimated to weigh 900 pounds and believed to be between 4 and 5 years old. These animals are estimated to have a lifespan of between 15 and 25 years, and can weigh up to 1500 pounds.

Moose require a cool climate and wetland habitat near rivers and streams. This type of habitat is more abundant in Colorado, where a robust moose population exists. Most sightings in New Mexico are of younger males emigrating from Colorado in search of new habitat and breeding opportunities. Females have been observed in New Mexico as well, but there are presently no known breeding populations of moose in the state.

Department wildlife biologists suspect that the moose captured in Santa Fe started its journey south from Colorado, perhaps a few years ago. It is also suspected that this is the same moose spotted in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in the fall of 2022. The bull moose was spotted in the Tesuque area as he made his trip to the state’s capital.

In the unlikely event that you encounter a bull moose, talk and make your presence known while slowly backing away from the animal. If you are charged by a moose, hide behind something solid like a tree, or take shelter in your vehicle or building. If a moose knocks you down, curl into a ball and protect your head until the moose retreats.