• U.S.

Americana: A Big Parking Problem

2 minute read

On Dec. 3, Public Relations Director Chris Beardsley sent employees at Providence Hospital in Anchorage a memo warning them to be careful when walking to and from the hospital parking lot this winter. Said the memo: “Security officers have chased the moose away several times, but recently the animals have started chasing back. This adds a whole new dimension to the problem.”

Indeed it has. The early winter’s deep snows drove more than 500 hungry moose out of Alaska’s Chugach Mountains and into Anchorage to forage for food. Normally shy creatures, moose tend to get ornery when hungry and are not readily moved by either cold reason or warm talk. At the hospital, a herd of seven moose, ranging in size from 350-lb. calves to half-ton adults, adopted the parking lot as their winter home. There they munched contentedly on recently planted shrubs; occasionally they charged at cars and employees. Hunting laws prevent forceful dealing with the problem.

“They think they own the place,” said Beardsley. “They do.” Employees still park in the lot, but cautiously wait in the lobby if there are moose around. Ray Kramer, a biologist for the state game service, has advised fellow Alaskans who encounter a hungry, charging moose to head for the nearest snowbank, cover up and pray.

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