Newswise – We’ve written before about how Alaska is the canary in the coal mine, when it comes to global warming. Another way that state is different: in Alaska, you are as likely to have a car accident from hitting (or swerving to avoid) moose as you are due to drinking alcohol.

40% of Alaska?s population lives outside of large cities, and many workers have long commutes through rugged and remote terrain. Although only 1% of the population is involved in farming or ranching, the state does have a large number of large animals. Moose and bears are its most common large wild animals that live in or near residential and commercial areas.

Even fishery workers have animal-related injuries, including blunt injuries from large fish and toxins from sea urchins and rockfish. Tourist industries such as bear viewing, dog sledding, fishing and hunting put workers in contact with dangerous animals.

From 1991 to 2000, there were 43 animal-related occupational injuries requiring hospitalization and 25 animal-related fatalities. Two events caused all of the fatalities. In 1995, a military plane carrying 24 people crashed into a flock of geese. The other incident was a brown bear attack on a hiker who unknowingly walked within 40 feet of the bear’s winter den.

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