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Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583
On Thursday, June 6 at approximately 7:30 pm the National Park Service received a report that a visitor had shot and injured a cow moose near the Denali Visitor Center. The visitor, Robert Sirvid, age 26, of Eagle River, Alaska stated that he and four other people, including two small children, encountered the moose at close range when they rounded a corner of the trail. They attempted to hide behind a tree, but the moose continued to charge. As she approached, Sirvid shot her at close range in the head. He stated afterwards that he did it because he was concerned for the safety of the children and felt he had no other recourse. He was visibly upset when he reported the incident to the responding rangers, who had to destroy the mortally injured moose.
After investigation of the statements of the party and a review of applicable law, the National Park Service has determined that no prosecution will be recommended to the Office of the United States Attorney.
The discharge of the firearm in the park is a violation of both 36 CFR 2.3(a)(1)(iii) and 2.2(a)(1) – using a weapon and taking of wildlife. Sirvid stated that he shot the moose to defend the lives of the children, and nothing found in the investigation contradicted that statement. While there is not a “defense of life” provision in the federal laws governing national parks, under Alaska State law this incident would be deemed a justifiable defense of life and not be charged as an offense. National Park Service wildlife biologists are actively following up on leads regarding two apparently orphaned moose calves that have been seen regularly in the area since the shooting. If the calves are located, the National Park Service will work with the Alaska Moose Federation to capture them and transfer them to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.