With a busy summer in Cottage Country ahead of us, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is asking drivers to slow down and be aware of their surroundings.

“You’ve heard this message before, yet we’re hearing from an increasing number of people that have collided with an animal while driving,” said Jan Kingshott, Director of Animal Welfare at the sanctuary. “The message isn’t sinking in the way it should, and we’re hoping it will.  While some drivers have hit an animal through no fault of their own, others admit that they might have avoided the collision altogether had they been paying closer attention and driving the speed limit.”

She adds that just as humans will be on the move this summer, animals will be, too.

In just one week in May, officials with the sanctuary say they have admitted three orphaned moose calves. Two of them were hit by vehicles. One of the crashes resulted in a mother cow being killed, officials say. The calves are now in the care of the sanctuary and officials explain individualized care plans have been put into action.

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“We receive hundreds of calls from many kind people who are asking for advice about wild animals that appear to be in trouble,” said Linda Glimps, Executive Director of the sanctuary. “Often, we advise callers to first observe and ensure that the animals actually require assistance. With some watchful waiting, many of our callers witness mothers returning to their young after foraging for food and have avoided becoming accidental ‘kidnappers.’”

Officials say spring and summer are the busiest months at the sanctuary. Over 1,100 animals were admitted during that time last year, they say, and add they anticipate that number to grow this year.

“AsIt is paramount to all of us here at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary that wildlife does not suffer needlessly, and we treat each animal with the dignity and respect it rightfully deserves,” added Glimps.