Michigan Moose Numbers Declining

Moose Point Face-off

Moose Point Face-off, photo by Carl TerHaar

The Detroit Free Press reported that Michigan moose numbers are down:

The moose population in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula appears to have dropped over the past two years and experts warn that a warming climate could be cause for concern for the species’ future in the state.

The latest biennial survey by the Department of Natural Resources produced an estimate of 323 moose in their primary Michigan range, which includes Baraga, Iron and Marquette counties. If correct, that would be a decline there of about 28 percent from 2013, when the estimate was 451.

…Even so, surveys since 1997 turned up regular population increases of about 10 percent. Beginning in 2009, the growth rate slowed to about 2 percent.

Now it appears to be dropping.

“It might not happen in our lifetime, or our children’s, but we have to face the possibility that there might not be a wild moose population in Michigan,” Chad Stewart (deer, elk and moose management specialist with the DNR) said.

Scientists are not certain what caused the apparent decline over the past two years, he said. Bitter cold and heavy snow the past two winters is one possible culprit. Also, wolves increasingly may be targeting moose because of falling deer numbers, although Stewart said there’s no hard evidence of that.

But in the long term, a warming climate may be the moose’s biggest enemy. Blood-sucking ticks thrive under such conditions. Thousands can attach themselves to a single moose and weaken the hulking beast.

More at the Freep.

View Carl’s photo big as a moose and see more in his massive Isle Royale National Park slideshow.

More Michigan moose information & photos on Michigan in Pictures

6 thoughts on “Michigan Moose Numbers Declining

  1. Warming climate is their biggest threat? LOL, perpetuating the hoax of global warming….Al Gore would be proud. 2014 warmest year on record by .02 degrees….margin of error .2 degrees or 10 times the proported increase. That’s not science, that’s fantasy.

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    1. Thanks for coming in to make sure that anti-science is firmly represented in a barely related way, Joe.

      “But in the long term, a warming climate may be the moose’s biggest enemy. Blood-sucking ticks thrive under such conditions. Thousands can attach themselves to a single moose and weaken the hulking beast.”

      More heat = more ticks = less moose. It’s not rocket science. It’s just science.

      Like

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