Minnesota has two populations of moose, one in the northwestern part of the state, one in the northeastern part of the state. Both are in decline. The decline seems to be mainly due to disease, which in turn, seems to be exacerbated by the occurrence of shorter, warmer winters and longer summers.
Today, the Minnesota DNR is announcing an indefinite halt to the annual moose hunt, because the latest surveys show that the population is in very serious decline. From a brief preliminary report in the Star Tribune:
Based on the aerial survey conducted in January, the new population estimate is 2,760 animals, down from 4,230 in 2012. The population estimate was as high as 8,840 as recently as 2006. At the current rate of decline, it could be gone from the state in 20 years, wildlife officials say.
I find it somewhat annoying that the state Department of Natural Resources still refuses to make the direct link between climate change and moose decline. They seem to be still under the thumb of erstwhile Republican administrations and couch their language accordingly. They need to stop doing that.
This is a developing story and I’ll have more on it in the future. In the mean time, here is an extended excerpt from a post I wrote a while back on the moose: Continue reading Minnesota Moose