Moose Seymour Often Outside Door

By Natasha Rasheed
PORTAGE, AK–There is almost 5 ft. of snow in Portage and while it makes for some gorgeous scenery, it also complicates things for caretakers at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.

It’s a winter wonderland in Portage, with almost 5 ft. of snow; and that means fun for the animals, as well as lots of work for Kelly and Mike Miller. They live and work at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and that arrangement brings with it some unique moments, like Seymour Jr., a Moose who is always waiting just outside the front door.

“He came to us about mid-May, after his mom was killed at a construction site in Anchorage. So we’ve provided a permanent home for him, and since we bottle-raised him, he is pretty friendly,” said Kelly Miller, the educational director at the wildlife center.

The Millers share a special kinship with these animals, even if it means lots of work on a day like today.

“We go and make some trails for them, move some snow out of the way, so they have some room to move around in. When it snows this much, they kind of stay put,” said Kelly. But there are also dangers involved when it snows significant amounts.

“You still get nervous when you see these snow depths because this is as deep as you have ever seen it,” said Mike Miller.

Mike Miller says especially with bears, if the snow gets too high, bears and some other animals can simply climb over the fencing.

“We have dart guns and precautions and we could always lock the bears in a horse trailer if one got out,” said Mike.

That means the duo must diligently check up on all of the animals throughout the day, but some furry creatures seem to do better in the snow than others.

“The animals I worry about the least are the Wood Bison. They are so heavy and they don’t go into that soft snow. They get paranoid in deep snow — it’s like a kid being thrown into water without knowing how to swim,” said Mike.

Then there is the feeding. Mike Miller says it’s important for the animals to stay well fed, which ensures they won’t try to get out to find food.

Altogether, it makes for some long days in the deep snow, but the Millers don’t seem to mind. They get to spend their days with the animals that they love. –KTUU-TV