ANCHORAGE - A young cow moose took a walk on a roof Tuesday and made Anchorage history.
The 8-month-old moose crashed through the fiberglass roof of a storage shed at Bell's Nursery and got stuck, dangling 8 feet off the ground for three hours until rescuers got her down safely.
Rick Sinnott, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said it's thought to be the first rescue of a moose from a roof in the city's history.
"Hopefully the last too," Sinnott said.
At about 9 a.m. greenhouse owner Mike Mosesian got a call from a neighbor who reported a moose was in a greenhouse. Mosesian raced to work, fearing the animal was eating a prized fig tree. But there was no sign of a moose inside.
"All of a sudden I looked up in the air," Mosesian said. "I thought, My God, there's this moose, 8 feet in the air up on the roof. That's got to be a first."
The 400-pound cow had walked onto the deck of a house next to the shed. Then the moose stepped over a 3-foot railing and onto the shed's snowy roof.
The animal's front legs punched through the roof almost immediately, but she pulled her legs out and kept walking. Just before she reached the roof's edge, though, both back legs and one front leg punched through - and stayed there.
The moose thrashed around but remained stuck, peering pathetically over the edge of the roof with legs dangling below until help arrived.
Sinnott tranquilized the animal, which was exhausted from her struggles. Mosesian called a friend who had a backhoe.
Rescuers guided the moose's legs through the roof from below and wiggled a net beneath her. Then the backhoe operator lifted her off the roof and gently lowered her to the ground.
After the drugs wore off, the moose walked off "pretty gingerly" and headed up a snowy slope out of sight, Sinnott said. The adventure left the moose with a raw spot on her rear end, but Sinnott said he thinks she will be fine.
Moose regularly prowl city neighborhoods for food in winter and Sinnott said he gets occasional reports of moose trying to reach overhanging trees from roofs, but there wasn't any food near the storage shed.
"I don't know what this moose was thinking," he said.