A moose die-off has scientists and wildlife officials alarmed. On Oct. 14, the New York Times reported that several areas all across Northern America are seeing a steep decline in the moose population. In areas where moose are plentiful (like New Hampshire and Montana), there has been a significant drop in the number of these animals which is being blamed partially on climate change.
There are several factors that biologists are seeing that suggest climate change is the leading cause of the drop in moose. Moose do really well in cold weather -- but with temperatures soaring in different parts of the world, many are suffering from "heat stress."
The moose die-off can also be blamed on parasites such as ticks. Because of the longer fall, it takes a while for ticks to die off and that means there are more of them and they can and will embed into a moose. A third theory has to do with land cultivation and the removal of trees. This makes moose more visible to predators of the human and animal kind.
"Something’s changed. There’s fewer moose out there, and hunters are working harder to find them," said biologist Nicholas DeCesare. The amount of moose that have disappeared over the past decade some fear extinction of the species altogether.
The moose die-off is very serious for many reasons. So what's being done to help? A group in Minnesota has started a "tagging" process that sends an alert when a moose's heart stops beating. This will help identify a cause of death and will allow researchers to get to the moose before another animal (that's the hope anyway). As far as the weather, the climate is constantly changing and no one can stop it. And lastly, the tick problem can only be solved by killing more moose, ironically.
Do you think moose will go extinct in the coming decade?
© Effie Orfanides 2013