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Moving the Nuisance Urban Moose Won't Save Them or Solve Problem

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / July 26, 2006


Saving baby moose seems like a fine concept, but the goal of the Alaska Moose Federation to stock moose has serious biological problems ("The calf collector," July 16). As a moose biologist with nearly 40 years experience, I've asked my colleagues across North America their opinions and none think it a good idea.

Capturing "nuisance" moose in Anchorage using dangerous narcotic drugs, holding them in captivity, transporting them long distances, and releasing them in strange environments all create problems for the animals. Adult, city-bred moose released in new environments would not know where to find food, how to migrate or how to avoid predators. Even if they survived, they would not significantly add much to the local moose population.

Although the concept was sold to the Legislature as a public safety measure to reduce urban moose problems, the real goal is to bolster moose populations for hunters. The federation's motives are the same as for the aerial wolf-control programs. Unfortunately, both measures are ill-conceived and not justified with sound science.

---- Vic Van Ballenberghe / Anchorage

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