moose crossing

A moose crossing sign in Colorado.

Colorado’s White River National Forest was recently the scene of an accident after a moose darted into the road right into the path of an oncoming car. The collision caused the moose to flip up into the air, and it landed on the other side of the road. The moose, which was seen limping, at least “initially survived the hit,” CBS Denver reported, and no one was injured in the vehicle that collided with it.

Moose, which are in the deer family, can be as large as 7 feet tall at the shoulders, and can weigh as much as 1,600 pounds, Chris D’Angelo writes for The Huffington Post. Because they are so large, collisions between vehicles and moose often end in serious injuries or death.

Moose Crossing

Kayla Whitehead, a Summit County, Colorado resident, posted the video (which you can see below) on YouTube on July 5. On the page, she explained that she and her brother were on their way to go backpacking in Eagles Nest Wilderness, Colorado, when they pulled over to observe two moose running along Colorado State Highway 9 north of Silverthorne. One moose took a turn for the road and the other moose stopped and watched.

Whitehead said:

An oncoming car didn’t see what was coming. I think the guys were just from out of town and didn’t know that a bunch of cars pulled over means there’s wildlife on mountain roads. Be careful driving mountain roads — watch for wildlife! When you see a bunch of cars pulled over near ‘watch for wildlife’ signs, there’s probably an animal near the road.

As she was recording the scene, she noticed a car suddenly enter the frame, and it was obvious that it and the moose were going to collide. “I just started freaking out.” Wildlife officials say it could easily have been a fatal accident.

Car’s Passengers Uninjured

Whitehead said she then ran over to see how the people in the car were. The car’s windshield was almost broken through, but the passengers — who were from Chicago — were fine. A police officer arrived and went with Whitehead to see how the moose was, but it was no longer there. Although Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers tracked the moose “for some time,” they were not able to find a carcass. They thus concluded that at least for a time, it was able to survive the car accident.

Whitehead told CBS that Parks and Wildlife plans to use her video for educational purposes.

Wildlife Overpasses

The accident occurred on a stretch of the highway where crews are building wildlife overpasses to prevent this type of accident from happening, as reported by this blog last September.

Before watching the video, be warned that it’s very graphic and may be disturbing.

Image by Jennifer Boyer, used under its Creative Commons license.

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