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UAA police shoot, kill aggressive moose on campus
MENACING: Students, officers say the cow was dangerous and threatening.


By Peter Porco
Anchorage Daily News

(Published: January 23, 2003)
Campus police at the University of Alaska Anchorage shot and killed a cow moose Tuesday night after the animal had menaced students and charged the officers.

At one point, a student got trapped behind a light pole near the UAA Commons when the moose forced him to take refuge there, said Sgt. Annie Endecott of the University Police Department.

"He kept dodging the moose," Endecott said. "Every time he moved, the moose got real aggressive."

Officer Brad Munn later fired two shotgun slugs at the animal when it charged both him and Endecott as they watched it browsing on a birch tree.

Though struck, the animal ran off into nearby woods where, more than two hours later, officers tracked it down with flashlights and Endecott finished it with two more slugs.

"I'd rather not have had to shoot it," she said. "But we were afraid a student could get hurt." She guessed the animal's age as between 2 and 3 years.

A 100-foot trail of blood smears and debris leading out of the woods near one of the dorm buildings indicated very clearly Wednesday where the carcass had been dragged behind an ATV by members of a charity organization called in to salvage the meat.

The moose had been extremely aggressive while wandering around the Commons area, according to police and students.

"Somebody warned us: 'Watch out! There's a moose over there with its ears down,' " said Aaron Wilson, a 22-year-old junior, referring to his encounter with the animal as he and a friend left the UAA Commons after dinner.

It was about 6:30 p.m., and several others were cautiously watching the animal. Wilson said he's from Juneau and doesn't know moose very well but nevertheless thought this one was "dangerous."

"We watched it for a little while and walked as far as we could around it," Wilson said.

About the same time, someone called campus police.

Munn arrived and drove his patrol car along bike paths behind the Commons. On a small hill leading up to the dorms, he saw the moose 30-40 feet away, highly agitated.

"It was like a bronco," Munn said. "It started bucking with its back legs, kicking outward, and even with its front, throwing that out. It was blowing air from its nose."

Munn called Endecott, who used to be an Alaska State Trooper in the Fish and Wildlife Protection Division.

"I felt right then we had a dangerous moose," he said.

He drove around to another part of the campus to put himself between the moose and a frequently crossed area called the quad.

Standing near a corner of a dorm building, he pulled his shotgun out, watching the moose browse contentedly on a tree.

"I wasn't sure it was the same moose," he said. He got out of the car with his shotgun and was watching the animal when Endecott, who had arrived, walked up to him.

"It was maybe five car lengths away, just browsing," Endecott said. "Out of the blue, it was (coming) at us, making funny noises with its teeth, its ears were down, the hair on its neck went up, and . . . it cleared that distance quicker than I can imagine."

Endecott told Munn to shoot as she jumped out of the way. He fired off one slug when the moose was 15 feet away and the second when it was nearly on top of him, police said.

"It ran within a couple feet of us and kept going," said Endecott.

"Thirty yards away there was a parent unloading groceries for his kid," Munn said. "He had no idea that moose was ever there. If I hadn't shot, the moose would've got me or my sergeant or somebody in the parking lot."

"I've never seen a moose do what it did," Endecott said.

It was unclear why the moose behaved so badly, she said. The moose did not appear to have a calf.

Another moose was shot on the UAA campus in January 1995 when a cow, apparently protective of its calf, stomped a 71-year-old man to death outside the UAA Sports Center.

State wildlife officials shot that moose four days later after it charged another man on the campus. The calf later died after being hit by a car.
 
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