ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Wildlife Troopers do not intend to issue a citation to a man who was seen lifting a baby moose over a guardrail in south-central Alaska over the weekend, though it is illegal to “handle any wild animal in a similar fashion,” an Alaska State Troopers spokesperson said Thursday.
Spokesperson Austin McDaniel said Alaska Wildlife Troopers “strongly advise people to stay a safe distance from all wildlife, including moose calves, as the animal may react aggressively towards humans.”
Anyone who sees a wild animal that may need help should call the nearest law enforcement agency or the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, McDaniel said in an email to The Associated Press.
Alaska’s News Source reported an Anchorage man, Joe Tate, was driving home Sunday from a fishing trip with friends when he saw a line of cars and a moose in the road on the Kenai Peninsula.
Tate said a mother moose was pacing in the road, and a young calf struggled to scale a guardrail to join her. He estimated watching for about 30 minutes. He said he considered calling wildlife officials or law enforcement but worried an accident could occur in the time it would take for them to arrive.
Friends with a trailer got between the mother and the calf, breaking the line of sight, Tate said. Another vehicle positioned itself similarly on the opposite side of traffic.
Tate said he then lifted the calf over the guardrail and helped it steady itself on the pavement before letting it return to the adult moose.
“It was calculated,” Tate said. “It was something we kind of looked at and talked about before we did it. It worked out for the best. And it could have gone bad, and I understand and know that. But it did go for the best, and it was worth the risk that I took.”
Dave Battle, a biologist with the Department of Fish and Game, said people should do all they can to avoid handling wildlife like this.