An unidentified garbage truck driver in Anchorage, Alaska, lost their job over the holiday weekend after a video surfaced online of the driver chasing a young moose with a truck down a neighborhood street. The video was recorded by a local resident, who posted the footage to the Nextdoor app on Friday. It was then shared to YouTube and other social media outlets. The roughly 20-second clip shows the truck’s operator driving aggressively right behind the panicked moose’s tail. The driver honks the horn while speeding down the middle of the snowy street.
Locals were outraged by the video, as was the driver’s employer, Northern Waste. The resident who filmed the clip wrote in the caption that they “called Northern Waste and sent this video to them [and] they were not happy.” Northern Waste responded by firing the driver immediately and calling attention to the incident on Facebook.
“We are disgusted by this one person’s bad decision, and we have taken the highest level of disciplinary action to ensure this never happens again,” the company wrote in a post on Dec. 29. “This is the first time anything like this has happened and we are committed to ensuring this will never happen again … This person is NO LONGER employed by Northern Waste.”
A company spokesperson also told the Anchorage Daily News on Tuesday that Northern Waste has a “zero-tolerance” policy for employees who intentionally haze wildlife or endanger the public through reckless driving. (As the video shows, this driver appears to have done both.) To further distance itself from the incident and to prevent a similar one from happening in the future, the company said it would be putting its remaining employees through a wildlife training program with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The ousted truck driver could face additional penalties, as Alaskan law explicitly prohibits harassing wildlife. Although no citations have been issued yet, a spokesperson for the Alaska Wildlife Troopers told ADN that the video was still under investigation. The agency also reminded the public that moose in south-central Alaska are already having a tough go this winter due to record-high snow levels in the area. By mid-December, Anchorage had already broken a record for the snowiest winter-to-date.
During these hard winters, moose will often act more aggressively toward humans, and the majority of moose attacks in Alaska and elsewhere take place during the colder months. The large animals have a tough time moving through deep snow, which forces them into populated areas and onto roadways, where conflicts with people are inevitable. The chances for a bad encounter are even higher when it’s the human who’s acting as the aggressor.