Public helps resolve 2 high-profile incidents of harassment of moose, investigate third encounter

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SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. -- Two high-profile incidents involving moose last weekend have been resolved thanks to help from the public, while officials are searching for two men involved in a third encounter, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Wednesday.

Wildlife officials said social media helped played a role in finding those responsible and helped educate the public about the dangers of approaching moose.

"If high-profile cases like this serve to spread the word, whether through social media or the grapevine, that alone has accomplished much of what we are trying to do to inform the public," district wildlife manager Elissa Slezak said.

"It was encouraging to see how many local folks are already aware of the dangers relating to moose, so there is definitely some community self-policing going on."

On Friday, a photo of a man standing next to an agitated moose in Frisco went viral on social media.

Wildlife officers received several tips and were able to quickly identify the man, who was detained by the Frisco Police Department later that evening.

"We know who he is and have attempted to contact him about the moose incident," Slezak said. "We'll evaluate the situation and make a determination about how to proceed when we meet with him."

Also on Friday, a woman in Summit County posted video on social media of her feeding a moose through the window of her vehicle.

Wildlife officials said because of backlash from the public, the woman removed the video.

Wildlife officers found the woman on Monday and wrote her a citation for illegal feeding of wildlife and gave her a warning for harassment of wildlife.

"She expressed remorse for what she did," Slezak said. "She realizes now what a mistake it was, and we believe she has learned a valuable lesson.

"When you consider how severe the response from the public was, I can say she's paid for her mistake. In fact, I would say the public's response is probably more of a deterrent than the citation she received."

Wildlife officials said a third incident involving moose was discovered when two young men approached and tried to touch an animal in Frisco's Drake Landing neighborhood about three weeks ago.

The moose kicked at one of the men with its front leg, appearing to make contact. It's not known if there were any injuries.

"That video is disturbing because the moose appears to actually strike the individual," Slezak said. "That could have easily led to a severely injured young man and we would have had to put that moose down."

Anyone can report incidents of wildlife harassment by calling 877-265-6648.

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