Dear Colorado residents,

First of all, I know this plea doesn't apply to all of you. Hopefully, it doesn't apply to most of you. However, there's a reason why wildlife officials are constantly reminding us to stay away from wildlife.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) issued another warning last month after a cow moose trampled a runner in Breckenridge who had gotten too close to her calf. A few weeks before that, Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) had some stern words for a visitor who tried to take a selfie with a moose.

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I thought these reminders were getting through to us — until I witnessed this behavior myself.

On Memorial Day (May 31), my boyfriend and I were driving near Fairplay when we spotted two moose by the side of the road. We pulled over to take some pictures (and avoid a traffic accident).

Emily Mashak // TSM
Emily Mashak // TSM
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We were playing it safe. I rolled down the window to get a better glimpse, but my boyfriend advised that I roll it up since we had a St. Bernard in the car (he's a smart cookie).

Other onlookers were not as cautious. In fact, some of them were downright stupid.

My boyfriend and I watched in shock as people got out of their cars and approached the moose to get a better picture. Another couple brought their dog (a husky, on the left) out of the car with them — and moose see dogs as wolves.

Emily Mashak // TSM
Emily Mashak // TSM
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People were getting dangerously close to the moose (RMNP recommends staying at least 120 feet away). The only barrier between them and the animals was a wire fence, which the moose could have easily jumped or run through.

Emily Mashak // TSM
Emily Mashak // TSM
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Thankfully, the moose did not charge and instead backed away from the crowd, but I couldn't believe this blatant display of disrespect to wildlife.

Do better, Colorado. No photo opportunity is worth the danger it could cause.

Sincerely,

A Conscious Coloradan

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