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Dale Chorman, a nature photographer, was fatally attacked by an enraged moose while trying to protect her newborn twin calves in Anchorage, Alaska. Chorman’s family, despite calls for the moose to be killed, does not want the animal to be put down as they believe she was only protecting her calves. Chorman and a friend were attempting to find the moose and calves to photograph them when the moose charged out of the brush. His friend witnessed him lying on the ground with the moose standing over him, with no evident signs of trampling or trauma. Chorman’s son described him as a loving husband, father, and friend, who loved wildlife and natural photography.

The fatal attack occurred on Chorman’s property just east of Homer, where moose give birth every spring. Chorman, who was a builder by trade, was also an avid birder, wildlife guide, and naturalist who loved sharing his photos. His son expressed that Chorman was not a fool stumbling into danger and that he knew the risks of taking photos in the wild. Even though the death was tragic, Spence-Chorman believes his father would have accepted the outcome and understood that the moose was just protecting her offspring. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is concerned about public safety but is not specifically pursuing putting the moose down unless it poses a continued threat.

Cyndi Wardlow from the Department of Wildlife Conservation emphasized the importance of being aware of wildlife and surroundings, especially for summer tourists arriving in Alaska. Moose, the largest in the deer family, can weigh up to 800 pounds for small adult females and twice that for males, standing up to 6 feet tall at the shoulder. It is estimated that there are up to 200,000 moose in Alaska. This was the second fatal moose attack in Alaska in the last three decades, with the first occurring in 1995 when a moose stomped a man to death at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Chorman was originally from Painesville, Ohio, but hitchhiked to Alaska in the 1980s. He was well-traveled, spending time across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and even Antarctica. Chorman met his wife, Dianne, when she came to Alaska to view bears and he was guiding at a nearby river lodge. While Chorman’s professional guiding work primarily focused on brown bear photography, he was passionate about all wildlife, especially birds. He could identify many species of birds by their calls alone and sometimes taught “birding by ear” classes in Homer. Chorman’s family and friends remember him as a dedicated nature photographer who died doing what he loved.

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