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Laurie Speakman, a volunteer driver with the Alaska Moose Federation, arrives to collect roadkill in Soldotna, Alaska, Aug. 25, 2016. (Joshua Corbett/The New York Times)

49th State

Meet Laurie the Moose Lady, who cleans and distributes moose roadkill from the back roads of Alaska

September 4, 2016

In the wild backcountry of Alaska, moose are a common sighting and, unfortunately, a common victim of roadkill. But when a motorist does hit a moose crossing the road in the northernmost state, it is illegal for anyone besides an authorized official to remove it. The law is part of a program aimed at distributing the meat from the killed animals to families and charity groups in need.

Laurie Speakmen is one of six volunteers with the Alaska Moose Federation authorized to go out and remove moose carcasses when they are hit and killed. Her work, which has earned her the nickname Laurie the Moose Lady, includes heading out to the scene of the kill as soon as the AMF receives a call of an accident, removing the carcass into her truck, and then delivering it to families or groups on a waiting list for butchering and consumption.

“I work my life around roadkill,” she told The New York Times. “My heart and soul is into this because people are getting fed.”

Speakman likes to eat moose meat herself, but not from the road. Her work as a volunteer is purely charitable, she said, noting that some charities will give her breakfast and coffee, which she accepts, but when they offer her some of the meat she declines. She prefers to hunt her own meat.

“I’ve had a couple of charities offer some to me, and I will not accept it — there are needy families out there, and I don’t want to take away from them.”

Illegal moose harvesting is an increasing problem on the back roads of Alaska, according to the report. Passing motorists or other civilians may stop and take an entire carcass or cut part of the meat away to take home. A moose can easily provide 250 to 300 pounds of meat or more. While deer are by far the most-killed animal in the United States, elk and moose make up a portion of the more than 1 million animals killed each year by passing cars.

Read the full story at The New York Times.