University of Alaska Anchorage campus police killed a moose after the animal began wandering toward the Fine Arts Building in a "very agitated state," police said Friday.
Police responded to the east side of campus about 1 p.m. Thursday to find the bull's antlers tangled in fencing material used to support young trees, police chief Dale Pittman said in a statement. Nylon tape was wrapped around its antlers and there were 4-foot stakes dangling on each side of its face, he said.
Police blocked off the area as the animal struggled to free itself, but then it began moving toward the arts building, still agitated, Pittman said.
Police called the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which told officers it would be about an hour-and-a-half before agents could arrive. Police then decided to take the moose down before it neared people and became an "imminent threat," Pittman said.
Pittman said killing the moose was not the preferred choice and that tranquilizing it would have been an option if Fish and Game were closer. University police are not trained to use such drugs, he said.
"In order to keep our community safe, UAA Police made the decision to put the animal down rather than risk injuries or human death as a result of a moose-human encounter," Pittman said in the statement, which was sent by e-mail to students, faculty and staff. "We do not like having to use deadly force, even on animals."
Moose are a common sight on campus, and there have been problems before. Back in January 1995, 71-year-old Myong Chin Ra was stomped and trampled to death on campus outside the sports center after he tried to slip past a cow and a yearling calf on his way inside.
Students on campus had been taunting the cornered animals for several hours in that case, throwing snowballs and yelling at them as they tried to sleep and feed in the area. That moose was allowed to wander off after the attack.
Pittman said the meat from the animal killed Thursday was given to charity.
Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call him at 257-4589.