'He’s feeding the moose!:' Man attacked in Muldoon
A Facebook video of a moose attacking a man in Muldoon is going viral online – and state biologists say the incident is an example of what not to do when interacting with ungulates during spring breakup.
Birdie Collins posted a video of a man approaching the moose at about 7:30 p.m.Thursday and apparently offering it food, as it stands on a snow berm along Boundary at arm’s length from him.
Collins and the people in her car watch at a distance as the man watches the moose eat from his palm, then runs his hand over the animal's snout.
“He’s feeding the moose!” a woman shouts, as the man strokes the animal’s snout. “Wow – he’s all petting up on the moose.”
A moment later, the moose swings at the man with its right front leg, briefly causing the man to back off.
Collins said via Facebook on Friday that the man didn’t appear to be hurt, so nobody apparently tried to contact authorities at the time.
“(H)e walked back to his car after and grabbed some more food and took some more pictures before I drove off,” Collins wrote. “I didn’t think it was very smart so I drove off before anything else happened to him.”
Ken Marsh, a spokesman with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Anchorage, confirmed that his office hadn’t received any reports of the incident on Thursday. He said interactions with moose at this time of year are typically on the rise.
“It's late spring, early summer; it's a time of year when moose are nutritionally stressed and cranky,” Marsh said. “They're having to move through deep snow to find food.”
Dave Battle, a Fish and Game biologist, noted that state law forbids feeding several species of wild animals including moose, to prevent them from becoming acclimatized to humans.
“When moose get fed, particularly by humans, they walk up to humans looking for handouts – and if they don't have handouts, they're likely to get kicked and stomped far worse than that fellow did,” Battle said.
The moose in the video appears to be roughly two years old, Marsh said. Although it wasn't clear from the video whether the moose was actually being fed, he said its actions suggested it has become accustomed to humans.
"A moose behaving that way has been fed that way before," Marsh said.
Marsh said that people also shouldn’t approach moose, due to both the dangers of being struck and their attitude as they forage.
“It's a particularly good time of year to give moose additional space,” Marsh said.
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