On March 21, 2013 I wrote a post called How About Just Leaving The Moose Alone? Among the many things I've written these past four years, that was a personal favorite of mine. When I wrote that post, it was obvious to me that these North American moose were in Big Trouble, especially here in the lower-48. Hence it was only a matter of time until we heard about the moose again.
And that time has come. The Christian Science Monitor reports the story in Moose die-off is massive, and a mystery to scientists. A mystery to scientists? Fuck Me!!!
All across the US, moose are dying — and scientists yet don’t know how to save them.
Save them? Save them from who?
Moose populations across swaths of the US — from the West Coast to the East Coast, from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River — are declining at an unprecedented rate, imperiling fragile ecosystems and putting the moose tourism industry on edge, the New York Times reported.
But though scientists have a long list of culprits — disease, climate change, over-hunting — it’s not clear just what is causing moose to die in droves.
And that means that scientists are at the moment unsure how to save America's moose.
The moose tourism industry. For once, I am speechless.
It's not clear what's killing off these moose. Scientists are unsure how to save them.
Climate change, vulnerability to disease because of their weakened condition, over-hunting—it's entirely clear who is killing the moose off, isn't it?
In New Hampshire, the moose population has dropped from some 7,000 moose to around just 4,600 animals. In Montana, numbers have fallen about 40 percent since 1995, and in Wyoming there are just 919 animals left — a quarter of the state’s target moose population. In Minnesota, the population in its northeast has been halved since about 2010, and moose have disappeared almost entirely from its northwest. Only Maine has seen an increase in its moose population, with some 75,000 animals living within its borders.
Scientists suggest that climate change is a probable factor, but pinpointing just how climate change affects the moose has been difficult.
In New Hampshire, scientists have proposed that longer falls and shorter winters has allowed the winter tick population to bloom, the Washington Post reported. Up to 150,000 ticks can beset a moose at one time, bleeding it out until the moose is little more than ribs, antlers, and some loose skin.
In Minnesota, where the average midwinter temperature has risen some 11 degrees over the last 40 years, climate change is also a fingered culprit, Minnesota Public Radio reported in 2008.
Eleven degrees! Are you looking for some Good News? I think I've got some—thank your lucky stars because that's Fahrenheit, not Centigrade.
[Minnesota] has been losing its moose population in the state’s northwest corner over the last 30 years – numbering some 4,000 back in the 1980s, the northwestern moose population had been whittled to less than 100, as of 2008.
And it now appears to be losing its separate, northeastern moose population, as well. There, the population has declined some 35 percent between 2012 and 2013, from 4,230 individuals to 2,760 individuals, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported. Since 2010, the northeastern population has been cut in half, it said.
In response, Minnesota announced in February that its winter 2013 hunting season was cancelled. Instead, wildlife researchers swept through the state’s northeaster corridor, affixing GPS tracking and data collection collars to moose, as part of a $1.2 million, multi-year research project to investigate the causes of the moose die off.
No winter hunting this year. What a good idea! Whoever thought that up, give that fucker a MacArthur Genius Grant.
And 1.2 million bucks (spread over multiple years) for GPS tracking and data collection collars—all DOTE readers should know by now that there is no problem which technology can not fix.
So don't worry about this Moose Problem because humans are on the case.
I know you're not looking for one—I know you've got all sorts of technology—but here's a Big Tip for you humans: try looking at the problem from the point of view of these moose for a change.
And before I end this, I would like to affirm once again how much ... pure satisfaction (not to mention great joy) I derive from living among the exceedingly big-brained primates on this planet.
It has been such an edifying experience. And do you know what the best part is?
The best part is that the lesson isn't over yet.
Decline Of The Empire
October 16, 2013