• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 27s

Moose-vehicle crashes spike by more than 200 percent

By KTVA Alaska 7:03 AM January 30, 2014

The Alaska Moose Federation has collected data that shows an increase in vehicle-moose collisions.

ANCHORAGE - It isn’t uncommon to see traffic stopped to allow moose to cross on roads like the Seward Highway, but drivers don’t always see the moose before it’s too late too avoid it.

Animal experts said speed plays a role in the number of moose and vehicle collisions, but what’s been attracting moose toward roads over the past year may be responsible for more than doubling the number of vehicle and moose collisions.

Now, experts at the Alaska Moose Federation said the number of moose-vehicle collisions has jumped so much in just one year it’s becoming both a major wildlife and public safety issue.

The Alaska Moose Federation is a nonprofit group that is called by area law enforcement every time a vehicle strikes a moose in the state.

“We have a team of volunteers and trucks, statewide, that are called every time a moose is hit by a car,” said Gary Olson, the federation’s executive director. “We pick up the moose and we deliver it to the charities.”

Every time a vehicle crashes into a moose, AMF said, about $35,000 in damage is done. In December 2012, moose collision costs for the Mat-Su totaled nearly $1 million, it said. In December 2013, just one year later, AMF’s data shows the moose collision costs jumped to more than $2.6 million.

Olson said 75 moose were hit in December of 2013; an increase of 267 percent.

That’s 28 moose-vehicle collisions in the Mat-Su in December 2012. AMF’s data suggests that number jumped up to 75 in the same area in a similarly mild December just one year later.

“As growing populations increase and we’re building areas, building into the natural habitat of the moose, they’re given fewer options on where to go,” said Patrick Lampi, executive director of the Alaska Zoo.

That is forcing moose into residential and business areas and out onto roads, Lampi said, leaving the zoo to take in moose orphaned by road collisions, among other things.

But what is driving the 267 percent increase in moose-vehicle collisions in the Mat-Su that AMF is reporting? Olsen said numerous reports of moose licking roads and cars offered him a clue.

“Molasses has been added to deicing agents by DOT,” Olsen said.

Olsen believes a new deicing agent the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities puts on roads to make them safe could actually be attracting moose. He said he took his concerns to ADOT&PF, but left with more questions than answers.

“They’ve said it has not been sprayed in the Mat-Su so that may not be the problem, but something is happening that’s drawing moose into corridors,” Olson said. “Most of the solution lies outside the highway corridor. We need habitat enhancement out there, we need diversionary programs, diversionary trails, other stuff in the wintertime to really get these moose out there rather than on the corridor.”

To avoid catching a moose in the headlights, they said in some cases the solution is as simple as slowing down.

Latest Stories

  • Crime

    Friend remembers Brandon Merritt, 19-year-old killed in gas station shooting

    by Eric Ruble on May 29, 20:17

    Brandon Merritt had been in Alaska less than one month when he was shot and killed at a Holiday gas station on Abbott Road last week. He grew up here before moving to Hawai’i for his freshman year at Campbell High School in ‘Ewa Beach, where he met Sam Lewis. “Ever since the day we […]

  • News

    AFD calls Div. of Forestry, JBER for assistance with wildfire near East Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 18:01

    The Anchorage Fire Department is responding to a wildfire just less than a mile from an East Anchorage neighborhood. The fire was first reported at 5:25 p.m., according to fire dispatchers. AFD Fire Chief Denis LeBlanc said the fire was located on military land and was difficult to reach, so the department has reached out […]

  • News

    Dead whale found stuck on cruise ship docking in Seward

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 17:26

    A dead humpback whale was found on the bow of a Holland America cruise ship Sunday morning in Seward. The Seward City News reported the Zaandam arrived at the Alaska Railroad terminal with what was initially believed to be juvenile humpback whale on the bulbous, lower bow. The whale has since been tentatively identified as […]

  • News

    DOF battles two wildfires near McGrath, one covers roughly 100 acres

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 17:05

    The Alaska Division of Forestry is battling two wildfires near McGrath, including one that has grown to nearly 100 acres. The larger fire, known as the Medfra fire, was reported at 10:25 a.m. and “started in an old burn area and spread into an unburned area with fresh fuel.” The Alaska Interagency Coordination Center reports […]

  • News

    Firefighter: Grass fire at Glenn Highway ramp may have been started by cigarette

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 15:20

    An Anchorage firefighter at the scene of a small grass fire near the Glenn Highway Sunday told KTVA it may have been started by a cigarette butt thrown out of a passing vehicle. The fire was first reported to the fire department at 2:25 p.m., according to fire dispatchers. The fire was out less than […]

  • News

    Missing girl may be with her mother, who has no legal custody

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 14:53

    The Anchorage Police Department is searching for an 8-year-old girl whose mother has warrants for her arrest and doesn’t have legal custody of the girl. Nayla Demings was last seen at her father’s house on E Fifth Avenue around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday. Her father has full legal custody of Nayla and police said in […]

  • News

    Park Service considers visitor caps, expects record crowds

    by Associated Press on May 29, 14:15

    As the National Park Service kicks off a centennial summer expected to draw record crowds, the agency is seriously considering caps on how many people pass through some of the country’s most iconic landscapes and historical sites each day. Park managers have begun looking at whether, when and how best to manage the impact of […]

  • News

    Czech Republic man dies on Denali after 1,500-foot fall

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 12:02

    A Czech Republic man died Saturday evening while skiing on Denali, according to the National Park Service. Pavel Michut, 45, “fell roughly 1,500 feet from an elevation of 17,000 feet” on the Messner Couloir route, NPS spokeswoman Maureen Gualtieri said in a statement Sunday. “The event was witnessed by multiple parties at the 14,200-foot camp […]