A half-dozen frozen cows interred in a cabin high in the Rockies may have to be blasted out before they defrost, wildlife authorities say.
They come from a herd of 29 cows that disappeared last fall from Gunnison National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service told the Associated Press. Spokesman Brian Porter told the AP that rangers saw six cows inside the cabin and others lying dead outside.
Steve Segin, another Forest Service spokesman, said action must be taken quickly.
“Obviously, time is of the essence because we don’t want them defrosting,” Segin told the news wire, adding that the nearby hot springs could become contaminated if the frozen-solid cows are allowed to thaw out and start decomposing.
Two Air Force Academy cadets discovered the cows in late March, the AP said. Rangers surmise that the animals wandered in there during a snowstorm seeking shelter and couldn’t figure out how to get out.
Using explosives is not without precedent, Segin told the AP. It’s a way to leave minimal impact on the land, which has been left as much as possible to its natural habitat.
“We’ve used them as a means of disposal to remove dead horses, elk and other animals in areas where it’s impossible to get them out,” he said.