Anchorage, Alaska — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says a certain type of fence is posing a very dangerous problem for moose in Anchorage. Wrought iron fences with spear-like ends can injure and kill a moose that tries to jump over it, says Jesse Coltrane with Fish and Game. Coltrane says it is a growing problem in town, as more of these fences pop up- usually in higher-end neighborhoods.
Last Thursday, Fish and Game responded to an incident at the Atwood mansion in West Anchorage. A moose calf tried unsuccessfully to jump over the fence and was severely injured in the process. Coltrane says the calf had to be put down. This was not the first time it happened at the Atwood mansion. Fish and Game says four moose were caught up on the fence over the last three years.
"It needs to be fixed, these spikes need to be caught up or capped, so that it's safe. And usually, people are mortified that its happened, they never thought about it," says Coltrane.
Natasha Von Imhof with the Atwood Foundation says the fence was put up in 2006 after the property was divided. The first incident happened shortly after and Von Imhof says previous management capped the entire fence on the west side of the property- the area most frequented by moose. The back gate is also kept open so moose can walk in and out freely, she says.
After hearing about last week's incident, Von Imhof says she immediately called upon the Atwood Foundation board for input on how to find a solution. She met with a fencing company who walked the perimeter of the property on Thursday and says the board will decide on the best method of fixing the problem permanently.
"At the time that we erected this fence had no idea that this could ever be an issue and we have made steps in the past to try and remedy the situation," she says. "We are working right now to have a solution, we don't want this to happen ever again."
According to Coltrane, most people who purchase the wrought-iron fences are unaware of the dangers they can pose to moose. One incident that Fish and Game responded to happened two winters ago in a Rabbit Creek neighborhood. A sharp-ended fence impaled a moose when it tried to leap over the fence. Coltrane says the homeowner was upset and claimed she would fix the problem, but never did.
"We would really recommend people not installing the fences to begin with and then you don't have a problem to fix," says Coltrane.