A bull moose rubs his antlers on weather instruments in Anchorage. Photo courtesy Dan Peterson, NOAA/NWS/WSFO Anchorage
It’s uncommon to see wolverines in Anchorage, but one rogue wolverine ventured into the city where it could prey on chickens and chase stray cats. Biologist Dave Battle got a call one day that the wolverine had killed someone’s rabbits and stashed them under a low deck. Every time the homeowner approached the deck, the wolverine growled.
To solve the dilemma, Battle first used a garden tool to pull the rabbits out from under the deck. Then, he and a fellow biologist turned on the hose and jetted water at the animal. The wolverine sprinted out from under the deck and never returned.
“Not every day that you spray a wolverine out from under a deck with a garden hose,” Battle says.
Battle, who has worked as the management biologist for the Anchorage area since 2015, says he spends a lot of his time responding to human-wildlife conflicts.
“Anchorage is not a typical urban area that’s like a concrete jungle,” Battle says. “This is a real mosaic of inhabited areas, neighborhoods, and greenspace.”
That means there’s plenty of available habitat for wildlife. Plus, animals like moose can trot down Anchorage’s cleared roads and trails during winter without having to plod through deep snow.
New survey methods that estimate the number of moose in Anchorage revealed that roughly 350 moose live in the city. “This is pretty exciting for us because we’ve never known how many moose we have in the Anchorage bowl,” Battle says.
Living in such close proximity to wildlife means simple actions like leaving out trash or cycling down a trail during moose calving season can lead to wildlife conflict. New Alaska residents or people who aren’t up to date on best practices can brush up by visiting the Living with Wildlife section on the fish and game website.
“By and large I think Anchorage residents are very responsible and probably more educated about how to get along with wildlife than most,” Battle says.