Tuesday, December 30, 2008
dwindling moose population
In the last 20 years, the moose population in the Upper Midwest United States has plummeted and scientists are pointing fingers at climate change, specifically the gradual rising of temperatures in the Northwest. The LA Times reports:
"Solitary and grumpy, moose have made it clear in their estimated 13,000 years in North America that they hate warm weather. The concern about the fate of the moose comes as the Bush administration, in its last weeks, is revising regulations in ways that prohibit federal agencies from evaluating the effects of increased global warming on endangered species. Officially, the moose is not endangered in the U.S. But it is in danger of disappearing from the Midwest, which is the far southern fringe of its range. There are about 7,700 moose in Minnesota, nearly all in the northeast part of the state. That's down about 50% from 20 years ago...
...Whereas deer, wolves and bears have adapted to warmer temperatures, wildlife biologists say, moose have suffered. Moose require shade, water and cool weather, each of which is dwindling in northwest Minnesota, where the moose population struggles among small patches of aspen woods and farmland. When temperatures rise, the moose have to work harder to obtain food and find places to stay cool... that affects their immune systems, prevents them from putting on more fat in the summer (which they need to get through the winter) and makes them vulnerable to parasites."