Biologists warn against touching baby moose

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FILE – This June 1, 2006 file photo shows a baby moose resting with its mother north in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s the time of year in Alaska when moose are being born, and state biologists once again are reminding people not to touch the calves, even if the animals seem to have been abandoned by their mothers. (AP Photo/Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth, file)

FILE – This June 1, 2006 file photo shows a baby moose resting with its mother north in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s the time of year in Alaska when moose are being born, and state biologists once again are reminding people not to touch the calves, even if the animals seem to have been abandoned by their mothers. (AP Photo/Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth, file)

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — It’s the time of year in Alaska when moose are being born, and state biologists once again are reminding people not to touch the calves or try to take them home as pets — even if the animals seem to have been abandoned by their mothers.

In most cases, mothers eventually return to their young.

A series of incidents have surfaced in recent weeks involving people handling moose calves, the Anchorage Daily News (http://is.gd/9az6GO) reported.

In one case, a calf was taken into a home in the Wasilla area. “They just had it in the living room, as if it was a puppy,” state biologist Todd Rinaldi said.

In Willow, another calf was put in a backyard dog run with a collar around its neck. Last week, someone tackled a calf at an Anchorage mobile home park and tied it up with an electrical cord.

Such encounters can lead to calves being taken to zoos or wildlife conservation centers, wildlife officials said. Taking an animal into captivity is dangerous and illegal, and it can also lead to animals being injured or worse, officials said.

In the Anchorage incident, someone called authorities Friday afternoon to report that a cow moose with two calves was running around a mobile home park. At one point, one of the calves separated from the mother.

“Evidently, some man took it upon himself to tackle it and tie it up with an electrical cord,” Anchorage area wildlife biologist Jessy Coltrane said.

The calf ran off with the cord hanging from its neck and dragging behind it, Coltrane said.

That night, police called Coltrane and told her the calf had been running through the mobile home park again, this time without the extension cord.

Police and others corralled the calf next to the mobile home park, Coltrane said. They also found the mother moose.

“It’s people with big hearts that are well-meaning. But sometimes being well-meaning and knowing what’s best for the animal are two different things,” Coltrane said.

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Information from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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