Darker days increase moose, caribou kills

Posted: Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Shorter days and longer periods of darkness already are contributing to increased numbers of moose and caribou being killed by motorists on the Kenai Peninsula.

Last Thursday morning, three moose were reported killed in less than two hours between Kaliforn-sky Beach and Funny River. Another was killed in Ninilchik that evening.

One moose was reported killed by a vehicle at Mile 17 of Kaliforn-sky Beach Road at 6:13 a.m. Thursday; another at Kalifornsky Beach Road and Elder Drive at 7:37 a.m.; and one at Mile 4 of Funny River Road at 8:09 a.m.

A yearling moose cow was killed in Ninilchik when it was struck by an Alaska State Trooper vehicle that was unable to avoid the collision.

On Sept. 29, troopers received a report that a caribou ran across Kalifornsky Beach Road at Mile 15.7 in front of a Chevrolet S-10 and was hit.

The driver was not injured, but the caribou had to be killed at the scene.

According to troopers, several reasons contribute to more moose and other large animals being killed by motorists in winter than during the remainder of the year.

First, moose are concentrated on their winter ranges at lower elevations where most roads are built, and moose commonly use roads and plowed areas as travel corridors.

Second, during the longer darkness of winter, motorists must travel more at night when visibility is reduced and animal activity is high.

Also, packed snow and ice on the roads increase the chance of having an accident.

To help prevent human injury and death, reduce property damage to vehicles and reduce the number of animals killed by motorists, troopers are continuing their Give Moose A Brake campaign asking drivers to voluntarily slow down and be aware of moose along roadways.

While troopers do not issue citations to people who accidentally hit moose and caribou, all wildlife-vehicle accidents must be reported.

In most instances, the killed animals are donated to charities in Alaska.

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