Lonely Planet Writer

Alaska scientists seek public’s help to count Anchorage moose population

Famed for its proximity to nature, the city of Anchorage, Alaska, has frequent visitors, including moose. Now wildlife biologists have put out a call to the public seeking help counting how many moose are roaming the city.

Urban moose wandering in Alaska
Urban moose wandering in Alaska Image by Emma Forsberg / CC BY-SA 2.0

Last week, staff from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game went out collecting moose droppings for DNA analysis in order to estimate the city’s moose population. In order to help with the process, they also asked the public to text, call or message them through the department website. Reports included moose location, time spotted and number of moose seen at a specific location.

The program is part of a pilot study to estimate the number of moose that roam the Anchorage area. In the fall, the department will conduct a larger moose count.

Typical moose counts are done via plane or helicopter, but because these moose roam a metropolitan area, where there are restrictions on flights, biologists are seeking the public’s help. This is the first time the public has been asked to assist in a moose count in Anchorage.

In addition, the DNA samples collected during the survey will allow biologists to study genetic relationships between area moose, and, combined with collar data that measure moose location, scientists will be able to determine whether related moose stay in the same geographical area.

Moose spotters are reminded not to approach the animals.

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