Without the Alaska Moose Federation, roadkill salvage falls to charities

Salvage teams across the state retrieve and deliver roadkill moose to people in need. On the peninsula, that work falls directly on local organizations and charities. (Sabine Poux/KDLL)

Moose didn’t stop crossing the road when the Alaska Moose Federation closed up shop late last year. And there are still hungry families that can use the roadkill meat.

Without the Moose Federation, the salvage work is largely up to charities. It’s hard work.

“And if they can’t do it, then they’re denying the moose,” said Laurie Speakman, known as Laurie the Moose Lady.

Speakman was the Moose Federation truck driver on the Kenai for years. The federation shut down in November due to a lack of funds, from legal troubles and a decline in memberships.

Previously, charities on the peninsula took out memberships with the Moose Federation. Volunteer drivers, like Speakman, would pick up moose roadkill in AMF trucks and bring the meat to members, who then distributed it to people who could use it.

Now, law enforcement calls charities directly. Speakman said that without the organized support from AMF volunteers, moose often end up sitting on the road for longer.

“I do feel that there is a need to have some sort of general program, ’cause some of the charities just aren’t doing it, but they still want the meat,” she said.

Not all charities on the list have the bandwidth to send someone to a site. Speakman said the local branch of Veterans Affairs, for example, has had a hard time responding to moose calls and has had to pass on collecting carcasses.

It’s something she thinks could be fixed with an individual salvage team — a model used in other parts of the state.

“In order to set up a salvage team, like let’s say I would run it, as an example, under Laurie the Moose Lady, or figure out a different name,” she said. “My high hopes would be to completely be able to work with Fish and Game, Wildlife Troopers, State Troopers and local PD.”

Speakman and a friend are trying to develop a plan to create their own team, but she said funding is a huge barrier. Between trucks, insurance and fuel, costs are steep. Speakman considered buying a truck from Moose Federation Executive Director Don Dyer but said it was too expensive.

“’Cause I do. I really miss picking up moose right now,” she said.

KDLL - Kenai

KDLL is our partner station in Kenai. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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