The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has confirmed the first moose to be diagnosed with rabies in the state.
FOX5 reports officials put the moose down after it was seen wandering through the community of Teller in Western Alaska and charging towards people. Alaska Wildlife Biologist Sara Germain said Fish and Game first received reports of the moose acting strangely on June 2nd.
“That moose was being aggressive towards people and charging and getting a little bit too close to comfort for them. So because those are all signs of rabies, we decided to dispatch the animal and take the head and some other samples to try and see what was wrong with it.”
The moose was dispatched, samples were taken and they tested positive for rabies. This was the first moose to be diagnosed with rabies in Alaska but there have been previous cases in South Dakota, Minnesota, Canada, and Russia.
Alaska State Veterinarian Bob Gerlach and Alaska Wildlife Veterinarian Kimberlee Beckmen both beileve the moose was most likely bitten by a fox with the rabies virus.
“This past winter, red foxes from the Nome and surrounding area, including Teller, there were 66 tested in total, and 28.8% were positive.” –Kimberlee Beckmen
Fish and Game will begin to start testing all wild mammals found dead or euthanized for the rabies virus asks if anyone encounters a wild animal exhibiting signs of rabies, or carcasses of wild animals, they contact the state so that they may test for rabies.