FedEx warns employees to stop feeding moose

Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Federal Express issued a memo to its employees Wednesday, urging workers to stop feeding a young, motherless moose that had been hanging around the company's hub at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

''Not only can it be dangerous to them and the animal, but it is against the law,'' said Pam Roberson at FedEx world headquarters in Memphis, Tenn.

Some workers had taken to feeding the animal and even petting it, said biologist Rick Sinnott of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

When employees learned that biologists would have to destroy the animal if it became aggressive, some called Sinnott this week in anguished worry that he would shoot the calf or that it might die without their help.

Feeding endangers people as well as the moose, Sinnott said. Moose can kick out their sharp hooves with blurring speed and have killed people in the city, he said.

Sinnott has no plans to shoot the moose. He's confident, he said, that if the calf doesn't become a danger to people, it will find grass, new buds and other food once the snow is gone.

''It is perfectly capable of moving out on its own,'' he said.

He acknowledged that the young moose could starve to death. But by ''adopting'' the animal, a practice that Sinnott has seen in apartment complexes and trailer courts, people are creating a bigger problem.

''It if gets aggressive, the only solution we have is to destroy the moose,'' he said.

Sinnott learned about the calf last week when a FedEx security guard called him, worried that someone might get hurt. Sinnott confirmed the guard's concern, which led eventually to Wednesday's memo.

''Moose are more dangerous potentially than black bears,'' he said. That's because people fear bears instinctively. But they've come to see moose differently, especially the young.

''It's those big brown eyes and the long lashes, and they look so cute,'' he said. ''I blame it all on Walt Disney and Bambi.'''

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