On Wednesday, a Palmer, Alaska teenager suffered minor injuries when she was trampled by an aggressive moose (which, I admit, is one of the more Alaska things you can have happen to you). The young lady is going to be OK; the moose, not so much.
Alaska State Troopers said they shot and killed an aggressive moose that injured a teenage girl Wednesday morning near Palmer.
The teen’s mother called 911 just before 7 a.m. to report her daughter was trampled by the moose on Plumley Road in Butte as the girl prepared to go to school, according to Sgt. Bret Ledford of the Alaska Wildlife Troopers. She was brought to the hospital by family, Ledford said.
The girl was later released from the hospital with minor injuries, troopers said.
When wildlife troopers arrived at the area of the family’s home, the young bull began acting aggressively and it was shot and killed, Ledford said. A charity responded to salvage the meat, according to troopers.
Several aggressive moose, including the one involved in the attack, had been reported in the area recently, Ledford said.
Here in the Great Land, we deal with a lot of things most of the lower 48 doesn’t, from weather to wildlife, although moose are found in lots of places from Maine to Washington – and they are large and potentially tetchy throughout their range.
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If this animal was hoping to get famoose, though, he guessed wrong. A hostile animal the size of a moose isn’t something you want hanging around. These are big, big beasts.
It’s likely that this animal, as well as the other aggressive moose noted, were suffering from the long winter and a lack of browse. The Anchorage area has had over nine feet of snow so far this year, and while up here in the Valley we have a little more than half that, it’s still stressful on wildlife, even one as massive and long-legged as the Alaska-Yukon moose.
The problem (while there’s no evidence of it in this case) is that some people, well-meaning but ill-informed, resort to feeding wildlife. While we run a (bear and squirrel-proof) bird feeder, it’s unlikely in the extreme that our chickadees, redpolls, and nuthatches will suddenly attack. But feeding animals like moose – or worse, bears – is a bad practice, no matter how much a-moose-ment one might draw from it. A moose is far and away the largest animal in their environment and, when full-grown, has few natural predators. A grizzly may occasionally pull one down, and wolves will try their luck on a moose caught in deep snow, but these big antlered beasts aren’t really genetically programmed to fear people, and enticing them around human habitations with promises of feed seldom ends well.
It’s even worse with bears; when a bear starts associating humans with food, that can end very badly. So, avoid feeding large, possibly aggressive wildlife unless you want to end up in the moosepaper. Worse luck, your actions can result in the moose being destroyed when it was, after all, just being a moose.
It’s best to observe animals like this at a safe distance. We have plenty of the big critters around – it’s not likely that you will ever only be able to view one in a moose-eum.