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Troopers cite Wasilla man for feeding carrots to moose

Tegan Hanlon

Alaska State Troopers cited a Wasilla man Sunday for giving a moose carrots at his home after he posted a video of the feeding on Facebook, according to a troopers spokeswoman.

A person sent a complaint to troopers after spotting the recording on 47-year-old Paul Cocker's Facebook page. Cocker narrated the video while he lured a moose closer to him in his yard off East Bogard Road and hand-fed it the carrots, said Megan Peters, troopers spokeswoman.

Troopers issued Cocker a citation for $310 for feeding wildlife. He has the option to appear in Palmer District Court, Peters said.

Earlier this month, an Anchorage man was cited for feeding cabbage to a moose at his Hillside home. Troopers issued the man a summons to appear in Anchorage District Court for intentionally feeding game, a misdemeanor.

Peters said she could not elaborate on why Cocker was issued a lesser citation. Charging documents have yet to be filed in court for both incidents.

"There are different cases with different merits to them and different troopers handling them," Peters said.

Bill Collins, a physiologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said feeding a moose alters the animal's behavior but doesn't necessarily muddle its winter diet.

In the colder months, moose eat twigs, bark and certain grasses if the ground isn't covered in snow. In the summer, moose tend to eat green vegetation, which is higher in nutrients. Generally, garden vegetables are easily digestible, so moose don't get sick from non-woody winter foods, Collins said.

But feeding moose can break down the distance that the animal typically keeps from humans, a potentially dangerous consequence.

"It habituates them to people, and that's when more problems occur, and that's why we don't want people feeding wildlife," Collins said.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@adn.com or 257-4589.


By TEGAN HANLON
thanlon@adn.com