A moose found dead in East Anchorage on Friday was suffering an injury to its hind leg and was put down by an Alaska Wildlife Trooper, troopers said Saturday afternoon.
The moose was found with a "significant injury" to its hind leg around 3:30 p.m. Friday, Alaska State Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said. A biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game determined the moose needed to be put down.
"Anchorage is one of those places, you know, it's pretty common that there's an injured moose going around that Fish and Game determines, 'Yeah, this moose should be put down,' " DeSpain said.
The moose was later found by two boys near a church.
The boys, Robert Alec Lisbourne Jr. and Riley Ryan, both 10, said they were walking to McDonald's from their neighborhood directly south of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints off East 36th Avenue around 4 p.m. That's when they noticed the moose lying in the snow between a bike path and the church parking lot.
The Alaska Moose Federation was called to retrieve the moose after it was put down but the organization took some time in arriving, DeSpain said.
"There was a period of time … where (the moose) was left there and apparently that's when these guys discovered it had been shot and assumed it was maliciously, which it was not," DeSpain said.
An Alaska Moose Federation employee arrived at the church at 7:25 p.m. Bryan Dyer secured a winch around the moose's neck and hauled it up onto a flatbed truck as Ryan, Lisbourne and his family and another volunteer looked on.
Ken Marsh, a spokesman for Fish and Game, said Monday that a biologist from the agency "spotted badly infected wounds low on one of the animal's hind legs around the hoof. The biologist determined that the wounds were impeding the moose's movements and that the infection had progressed to a point where the animal probably would not survive." The wildlife trooper shot the animal twice with a shotgun, Marsh said.
The animal's leg wounds "suggested it had been bitten – perhaps by a wolf or large domestic dog," Marsh said. DeSpain, the spokesman for the troopers, had said earlier that the biologist determined the moose had likely been hit by a vehicle. That was not the case, Marsh said.
Elaine Bales, Ryan's aunt, said the moose had spent several days hanging around the neighborhood, near where Tudor Road curves north into Muldoon Road. It ate off trees and hadn't really bothered people, she said.
The moose was salvaged and donated to a local charity.
Unrelated, Alaska Wildlife Troopers are investigating the killings of two moose found dead in Anchorage on Tuesday.
The first moose was found in the Mountain View area around 6 a.m., while the second moose was reported to wildlife troopers just before midnight when it was found shot and killed near Valley of the Moon Park.
Both cases are being investigated as possible cases of wanton waste and taking a cow moose during a closed season. Investigators said earlier this week that they hadn't determined if the cases were linked.
DeSpain wrote Saturday that the investigations were continuing and he had no new information to share.
This story has been updated to reflect additional information collected after it was initially published. The story originally suggested that the moose had been shot and left, and it was unclear who had killed it. On Saturday, Alaska State Troopers reported that a wildlife trooper had killed the animal. A troopers spokesman said the animal appeared to have been injured by a vehicle before it was euthanized; an Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokesman later said that the animal's injury had come from a bite and there was no evidence of a vehicle collision.