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Alaska Moose Emergency As Winter Kills Hundreds February 10, 2012
Alaskan moose in midwinter setting
Snowbound moose conserves energy in stark Alaskan landscape during early February.
Alaska’s now infamously deep snow cover this winter is taking a deadly toll on the state’s moose population.

More than 600 of the ambling animals have been killed so far this season in high-speed collisions with vehicles and trains across south-central parts of the state.

The non-profit Alaska Moose Federation (AMF) asked Governor Sean Parnell to declare a “moose emergency” to help it prevent even more deaths before the spring thaw.

The animals are drawn to the relatively snow-free areas along roads and railroad tracks, and have difficulty getting out of the way when trains, trucks and cars approach.

The AMF was granted a permit to allow volunteers to set up feeding stations and to clear paths to natural grazing areas in an effort to avert future collisions.

Some carcasses of the animals killed are sent to prisons, where they are butchered by inmates withs the meat distributed to a food bank.

Churches and charities also collect some carcasses and salvage the meat.

Snow around Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula and the Matanuska-Susitna borough is more than four feet deep in places, forcing residents to don snowshoes when leaving cleared roadways and trails.

Moose gravitate to plowed areas as a way to avoid expending precious calories by trudging through the deep snow with their long legs.

Photo: Butch Heiter