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State awards additional $1.5 million for moose relocation

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

According to the Anchorage Daily News, the state has awarded the Alaska Moose Federation $1.5 million more public funding toward a moose relocation project the agency has yet to put into practice.

Last winter, the state gave the organization $1.3 million and a unique permit from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for a "rescue and relocation" plan that resulted in exactly zero moose being moved.

The Moose Federation says it's gearing up to move between 50 and 100 urban moose away from cities into rural areas with low moose populations. The idea would be to drug the moose and fly them out into the Bush.

Gary Olson, executive director of the federation, said the group didn't move any moose this past winter because Fish and Game staff didn't have the time to train relocation workers before the state's two-month permit ran out.

He said only about half of the original grant has been used, mainly to purchase equipment like trucks and trailers.

The main priority of the relocation effort, says Olson, is to move moose away from roadways where they pose a threat to drivers and themselves, but increasing depressed populations would add value.

He cited a successful moose transplant operation conducted in the Copper River Delta in the 1950's as precedent the plan could work.

Read much, much more, including criticism of the proposal and its new funding, here.