- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

ACNHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Alaska wildlife officials have begun a study to learn more about Anchorage’s urban moose population and the most efficient way to count the animals in the metropolitan area.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game launched the pilot study on Sunday, KTUU-TV reported (http://bit.ly/2lMgI8j ).

Biologists drove around the city in search of moose and then shot the animals with darts to extract their DNA.

Biologist Dave Battle said the dart “has a little cutting tip” and takes a small tissue sample from the animal and then falls out.

“Then we just recover it, and we’ll use that tissue sample for genetics work,” Battle said.

The DNA will help determine the relationships between moose in the area.

“It’s important to know how related the moose on the west side of town are to the moose on the east side of town,” Battle said. “Is there a lot of back and forth across town? Or are most of the west side moose mostly staying on the west side?”

Wildlife officials are hoping this year’s experience with the pilot study will help them make improvements for next year’s moose count.

Fish and Game is asking residents for help with the study and encouraging those who spot a moose to report it online at the department’s website.

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Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com

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