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Crime & Courts

Troopers kill moose after Palmer woman posts Facebook video of herself feeding and petting it

Wildlife troopers killed a moose after a Palmer woman posted a live video on Facebook over the weekend that showed herself feeding and petting the animal, Alaska State Troopers said. Troopers said the juvenile male moose had become comfortable around people and posed a public safety risk.

The video was posted publicly on Facebook by 43-year-old Angel Bunch on Saturday and sent to Mat-Su trooper dispatch by another citizen, said troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel.

In the video, Bunch fed the moose carrots and pet it from the doorway of her home, McDaniel said. The video was not publicly available by Sunday, and Bunch could not be reached to comment by Monday.

“When Alaska Wildlife Troopers responded to Bunch’s residence the moose showed no apparent fear of humans and walked up to the Wildlife Trooper when he arrived,” McDaniel said over email. “This moose appeared thin and showed signs that it had been fed by humans for some time.”

McDaniel said troopers determined that the moose could become a danger to the public because it was so comfortable around people.

“When humans feed wildlife it causes them to stop searching and feeding on their own in nature and rely solely on humans for food,” McDaniel wrote. “When their human food source stops the animal can become aggressive towards other humans as it looks for food from them.”

There were no other reports of nuisance moose in the area, but troopers decided to kill the moose and donate the meat to charity to avoid a potential public safety risk, McDaniel said.

“Troopers take great care in making decisions to dispatch any big game animal and do so when it becomes a matter of public safety,” he said.

Bunch received a misdemeanor citation for negligently feeding game, troopers said. Her bail was set at $320 in Palmer District Court.

McDaniel said calls about negligently feeding wildlife are fairly common in the Mat-Su and Anchorage areas. Similar citations have been issued to people whose unsecured garbage attracted bears. Many of the encounters end in death for the animals, which become unafraid of people. A man was cited for feeding moose cabbage at his Hillside home in 2014.

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