Park rangers are trying to figure out who shot and killed a cow moose in Denali National Park and Preserve after its carcass was discovered near the park's post office Tuesday morning.
Park staff quickly determined the adult female had been killed one to two days before it was found, according to the National Park Service.
The cow's calves are still in the area, officials said. Park wildlife staff and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game decided against recovering the calves because they're about three weeks old and "too mobile." Trying to catch them would be dangerous, the Park Service said.
If the calves get weaker and are struggling, they may be caught and sent to a captive rearing facility.
Denali Park visitors can carry guns inside the park, but shooting and killing moose is illegal. Officials noted there is not a defense of life and property provision in federal laws regarding killing of wildlife in national parks, but there is under Alaska state law and those kills must be reported.
However, the Park Service said, given the circumstances, rangers suspect the incident was an illegal kill.