The Michigan Moose Lift

January 17, 2013

Moose Reflections

Moose Reflections, photo by yooper1949

Remembering Michigan’s Historic Moose Lift from the Michigan DNR begins:

On Jan. 20, 1985, separate convoys carrying men and equipment set out from Michigan on a mission to reach the 3,000-square-mile Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada.

Over the next two weeks, this team of wildlife biologists and veterinarians from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, working with a team of Canadian specialists from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, would locate, capture, transport and release a number of wild moose to form the nucleus of a new population in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

It was an unprecedented, historic operation. The wind chill at times approached 100 degrees below zero. Utilizing helicopters, tranquilizing dart guns and slings, some moose were air-lifted as far as 14 miles from the capture area to base camp.

At base camp, each animal was subjected to thorough medical testing and was fitted with a sophisticated radio collar, before being lifted into a shipping crate and placed onto a transport truck for the non-stop 600-mile overnight journey back to Michigan.

The remarkable effort was called “moose lift.” A total of 29 moose (10 bulls, 19 cows), ranging in size from 750 to 1,250 pounds, survived the arduous journey.

Crowds assembled each day at the release site north of Lake Michigamme in Marquette County. Despite temperatures well below zero, a welcoming committee of U.P. residents always showed up to greet the new “American” citizens.

Read on for more about the program, which is certainly a success in wildlife management. The last DNR moose survey pegs the UP’s moose population at about 500 with another 750 on Isle Royale.

Carl took this shot on Isle Royale in September. Check it out big as a moose and see much more (including some more moose shots) from one of Michigan’s coolest parks in his Isle Royale slideshow.

More moose on Michigan in Pictures!

One Response to “The Michigan Moose Lift”

  1. wrigh1pr Says:

    This is a great photo. Reaffirms my desire to go to Isle Royale


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