moose nose.jpg

A moose and its long nose, adapted for feeding under water. Photo by Ned Rozell.

The National Park Service reported on Friday that an aggressive moose charged a park visitor and was shot and wounded by the visitor on June 6. The incident took place on the Harding Icefield Trail above the second bridge and below Marmot Meadows. After the incident park officials closed the area for six hours for visitor safety.

Park staff are continuing to monitor the area and attempting to locate the wounded moose who also has a calf with her. Visitors are asked to be on the lookout for the animal, maintain a safe distance, and report any sightings to park staff directly or by calling (907) 422-0500.

Wounded moose can be especially aggressive and with a calf, overly protective of the calf. The park service also is warning visitors that the wounded moose can attract black and brown bears. Visitors to the area are advised to use precautions and be diligent regarding safety.

Safety reminders from the park staff are:

•          Give wildlife plenty of space and view wildlife from a distance.

•          Moose, particularly moose with calves, can be aggressive. If you encounter a moose and it has not detected you, move away slowly and give the animal plenty of space. If the moose is aware of your presence, speak calmly and quietly as you move away.  This will help the animal not perceive you as a threat. During surprise encounters, or if a moose charges, protect yourself by getting behind something solid such as a tree or vehicle. Unlike bear encounters, running from a moose can be an appropriate response. 

•          Both black bears and brown bears reside in Kenai Fjords National Park. Visitors are encouraged to hike in groups, make noise and not surprise a bear. Visitors are encouraged to carry bear spray and know how to use it. If you encounter a bear and it has not detected you, move away slowly and give the animal plenty of space. If the bear is aware of your presence, speak calmly as you move away; this will help the animal to not perceive you as a threat. Do not run from a bear. If a bear actively pursues you or is aggressive, using bear spray has been shown to be an effective deterrent.

For additional information on wildlife safety, please visit the Wildlife Safety page of the park website.

Michael Paschall is the publisher of the Seward Journal and covers general news topics. He can be reached at news@sewardjournal.com.

Publisher

Michael Paschall is publisher of the Seward Journal and president of TriDelta, Incorporated Publishing, owners of the Seward Journal.