SOLDOTNA, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska nonprofit organization that salvages roadkill moose and donates the meat to charities and people in need has suspended operations due to a lack of funds.
The Alaska Moose Federation was sustained by memberships, which have significantly declined this year, Alaska Public Media reported Tuesday.
The federation has four trucks in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Wasilla and Kenai. Volunteer drivers picked up moose killed in road accidents and coordinated with Alaska State Troopers to deliver them to members.
Charities on the Kenai Peninsula paid $500 for memberships, which funded costs including gas. Salvage teams elsewhere in the state purchased $100 memberships.
Membership was not required to join the salvage list, but nonmember charities or salvage teams were required to retrieve and transport the moose.
Executive Director Don Dyer said the federation experienced a reduction in renewals among groups that usually buy memberships in October when Alaska residents receive Permanent Fund dividends.
There were previously 15 to 20 member charities in the Kenai area supporting the federation.
“And now, there’s too few to be able to carry on,” Dyer said.
Job losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic may have contributed to the decline, he said.
The federation also recently finished paying a court settlement for a lawsuit that occurred before Dyer took over, he said, declining to provide details of the case.
“I decided to do the work to honorably meet those obligations, and I have. But it’s taken over five years to get that settlement paid off,” Dyer said.
The federation previously came under fire for a controversial calf-rearing program and unpaid debts.
The federation paused operations in 2014 because of funding trouble but stabilized under Dyer’s leadership in 2015. The federation suspended work again in 2017 following the completion of a two-year contract with the Alaska Department of Transportation.
The pause could become permanent this time, Dyer said.
“It had been stopped when I took the Moose Federation over. And at the time, I had assets that could be sold and other resources to make it work,” Dyer said. “However, at this time, all we have now is the trucks. And if you sell the trucks, you can’t pick up moose.”
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