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What's Killing Minnesota's Moose?


Animals  (tags: animals, climate, climate-change, climatechange, globalwarming, globalwarming, habitat, nature, protection, research, Sustainabililty, weather, wildlife, wildlife, wildanimals, suffering, sadness, protection, investigation, ethics, environment, endangered )

JL
- 535 days ago - motherjones.com
Minnesota's iconic moose are in such bad shape that the state called off the 2013 hunting season on Wednesday.



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JL A. (272)
Monday February 11, 2013, 1:02 pm


Mother Jones
What's Killing Minnesota's Moose?
State officials canceled moose-hunting season because of a steep population decline, and some wildlife experts say climate change is to blame.

By Maddie Oatman | Fri Feb. 8, 2013 3:42 PM PST

Minnesota's iconic moose are in such bad shape that the state called off the 2013 hunting season on Wednesday [1]. The heartiest herd, located in the northeastern region of the state, is down to around 2,700 animals, a 35 percent drop from last year and a startling 65 percent drop since 2008. Though the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources canceled hunting season, it stressed that hunters are not to blame for this worrisome news. "The state's moose population has been in decline for years but never at the precipitous rate documented this winter," said MDNR commissioner Tom Landwehr [2]. "It reaffirms the conservation community's need to better understand why this iconic species of the north is disappearing."

Though the sharp decline has state officials somewhat baffled, many members of the conservation community feel climate change is at fault. Doug Inkley, senior scientist at the National Wildlife Federation, put it this way: "With the high temperatures in the summer, moose seek out shelter rather than feeding. Nutritional status declines, and they become more vulnerable to disease and parasites. It's like a person who smokes is much more vulnerable to other diseases, and that can be associated with mortality."

Minnesota's not the only state witnessing a steep decline in moose. New Hampshire moose experts, according to Inkley, said tick numbers were way up in 2011 because of an unusually warm winter in 2010. Ticks proliferate in balmier weather, weakening moose and causing anemia; animals now have as many as 150,000 ticks on their fur [3], five times the normal amount. With that many ticks, says Inkley, "imagine the health condition you'd be in! You'd be anemic, weak; your probability of producing a calf that can survive would be worse." One biologist told Inkley that there was likely 100 percent mortality of calves born the spring of 2010 in New Hampshire and a 40 percent mortality of adult moose in the winter of 2011.
Ticks proliferate in balmier weather; moose now have as many as 150,000 ticks on their fur [3], five times the normal amount.

The MDNR is leading an aggressive campaign [4] to learn more about moose deaths, involving aerial stalking with helicopters, hi-tech collars, and an implant swallowed by a tranquilized animal that monitors a moose's heart and internal temperature. The implant will send signals back to researchers, allowing them to pounce on a dead moose for study before weather or wolves get there first.

MDNR wildlife manager Lou Cornicelli told Minnesota Public Radio [1] that there are "a lot of unknowns" with the climate change theory, and that it's a complex issue. But Inkley's pretty convinced that temperature inflections are the major factor debilitating the species, and he wishes Congress would quit stalling and do something to reduce carbon emissions. He criticizes Minnesota's state leadership for failing to acknowledge climate as the key issue. "Minnesota says it's getting warmer, and parasites are getting worse, but they aren't linking the two," he says. "Minnesota is being cautious, but I think the writing's on the wall."
Source URL: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/02/moose-minnesota-decline-hunting-ticks-climate-change

Links:
[1] http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/02/06/environment/minnesota-moose-hunting-season-canceled
[2] http://news.dnr.state.mn.us/2013/02/06/moose-population-drops-dramatically-hunting-season-will-not-open/#more-11280
[3] http://blog.nwf.org/2013/02/climate-crisis-deepens-for-americas-moose/
[4] http://www.kare11.com/news/article/1009814/391/MN-moose-hunt-canceled-DNR-works-to-answer-population-decline
 

Carol D. (104)
Monday February 11, 2013, 2:46 pm
Good grief they actually stopping a hunting season Have they now woken up and become sane and given the animals a chance Lets hope climate change will be the case with all animals now and stop all this hunting
Someone is thinking about the animals for a change wow cant believe it! Hope this is a wake up call

noted &thanks
 

JL A. (272)
Monday February 11, 2013, 2:55 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Carol because you have done so within the last week.
 

Allan Yorkowitz (452)
Monday February 11, 2013, 4:32 pm
For God's sake, isn't the problem clear enough?
 

Angelika R. (146)
Monday February 11, 2013, 6:29 pm
Amidst all the bad news finally SOME great news! thx.
 

Terry V. (30)
Monday February 11, 2013, 6:35 pm
Hunting with CAMERAS only... Why can't we leave Mother Nature alone??? sigh.........
 

JL A. (272)
Monday February 11, 2013, 6:37 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Allan because you have done so within the last week.
You cannot currently send a star to Angelika because you have done so within the last week.
I like that idea Terry! You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last week.
 

jo M. (3)
Monday February 11, 2013, 10:41 pm
Great news?! Have people really lost their minds to the point that they think trading hunting for a decline in the moose population is great news??!! That's INSANE!
 

Danuta Watola (1181)
Tuesday February 12, 2013, 4:06 am
noted
 

JL A. (272)
Tuesday February 12, 2013, 8:06 am
Jo, people consider it great news that government is taking action in response to population decline.
 

Suzanne L. (152)
Tuesday February 12, 2013, 9:45 am
Very sad state of things.
 

Micheael Kirkbym (83)
Tuesday February 12, 2013, 9:48 am
Frack up the balance and this is what happens. Stop playing around with that infernal HAARP. Haven't y'all done enough damage?
 

Veronique L. (209)
Tuesday February 12, 2013, 10:04 am
Noted J.L
 

JL A. (272)
Tuesday February 12, 2013, 10:19 am
You cannot currently send a star to Michael because you have done so within the last week.
 

Fi T. (16)
Wednesday February 13, 2013, 2:53 am
Can people afford to lose this icon?
 

Valentina R. (4)
Wednesday February 13, 2013, 4:11 pm
End all hunting now.
 

JL A. (272)
Wednesday February 13, 2013, 6:14 pm
You're right Valentina--MN still is hunting wolves and other animals. You cannot currently send a star to Valentina because you have done so within the last week.
 
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