Alaska city moose counting is using DNA technique, analysis of the DNA samples will be used to identify individual moose, without the expense of capturing them.
Moose develop vigorously in Alaska’s largest city with little to fear from natural predators such as wolves or bears, but getting an accurate count of the largest member of the deer family remains a challenge. The state wildlife biologists must manage their numbers.
Traditionally, aerial surveys are performed from low-flying aircraft after there’s snow on the ground to find out moose. But flight rules from Anchorage’s international airport prohibit the survey flights.
Biologists asked Anchorage residents to call or text whenever they spotted moose. Teams of moose trackers with dart guns then hurried to the locations. The darts capture a DNA sample.
Analysis of the DNA will let researchers calculate the ratio of bulls to cows. The samples also will be the start of a database to identify individual moose, without the expense of capturing them.
Anchorage residents are using to steering clear of moose because hitting them with a car can be fatal to both animal and driver.
The city has just 300,000 people, but the moose population is unknown. Hunting is not ok in most of the city. Biologists want to know how many moose move in and out of hunting areas.
Biologist Dave Battle said that they have been taking an educated guess. Battle was among teams collecting DNA.
He fires pencil-length darts into the sides of both moose, which then startled and move a few feet before resuming feeding. The darts felt like bee sting, researchers said.
Surveys suggest most Anchorage residents like sharing their yards with moose. Biologists said their participation in the survey is critical and they received 510 calls and texts over the three days.