Heavy Snow Season Now Taking Toll On Denali Wildlife

As the above photos from a May 9 Denali National Park tweet illustrate, the park is beautiful under a layer of snow. But heavy snowfall this winter (a record 176 inches) into spring hasn’t melted yet, and per this report from Alaska Public News, the slow melt has affected the park’s abundant wildlife residents:

“There are more areas to be able to walk along the sides of the road, but we still have places where drifts are quite high or where we’ve had snow plowed. I’m 5 foot tall, and some of those drifts are higher than me,” she said. 

Stiteler says the heavy snowpack dented some agency truck cabs and damaged a pedestrian bridge at Savage River. More important, it’s stressed wildlife, resulting in more animals on the Park Road this spring.

“Bears are using the road, as are moose,” she said. “Last week we did have a moose on the Park Road who gave birth to twins.”

Stiteler says the two calves have since died, noting that moose are generally very weak from the deep snow. But with so much still on the ground, it’s not clear how many moose have been dying.