The Mystery of the Moose

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gps_tracking_mooseHave you ever seen a moose in the wild? If you have, consider yourself lucky! It’s getting harder and harder to catch a glimpse of a moose. Scientists say that moose populations are dwindling all over the U.S. Why? Nobody really knows.

Many things might have lead to a decline in the moose population including:

  • Over hunting
  • Climate change
  • Deforestation
  • Disease

What’s the number one culprit? Scientists are now point to climate change as the reason why moose aren’t as abundant as they once were. But, this is just a guess.

How Bad Is It?

The Christian Science Monitor reports on some sad stats in a recent article titled ‘Moose Die-Off Is Massive, and a Mystery to Scientists.’

Take a look at these numbers:

  • Montana: 40% decline since 1995
  • Minnesota: 50% drop since 2010
  • Wyoming: 919 moose remain in this state!
  • New Hampshire: 4,600 out of 7,000 moose are left!

What can climate change do to moose? A team of scientists in New Hampshire are pointing to a tick infestation problem. When the weather heats up, ticks feast. One single moose can have up to 150,000 ticks at one time!. Normally, other moose pick out ticks, but this can’t happen if other moose don’t exist.

But, again, this is just speculation. Researchers want to know for sure what’s killing moose, and that’s where the GPS tracker comes into play.

From Hunting To Tracking

Researchers in Minnesota will track moose using GPS tracking collars. These GPS trackers will help the scientists gather important habit data. The hope is that the GPS location data can help determine what’s killing moose, so that moose populations can be restored.

Why do researchers care? What do moose offer our world? As it turns out, a lot! Due to their sheer size and weight, moose traverse forests making way for other animals. When moose no longer exist, many other animals will suffer as a result. A cleared forest space means lots of great nesting grounds for other creatures, and that would all disappear if moose become extinct. Moose are also a nice protein snack for coyotes and bears – removing this option from the food chain may mean more urban attacks.

Where There’s GPS, There’s Hope

The GPS tracker might be the key to unlocking the mystery of the moose. If you’ve ever seen a moose in the wild, you know just how majestic these animals can be – it would be a shame to see them all disappear!

Scientists hope that they can save the moose before they disappear from the wild altogether, allowing people to enjoy watching this creature from afar for decades to come. Do you have an animal that you want to track? We can help with that (just don’t try to capture a moose!). Contact us for details.

Have you ever seen a moose? We want to know!

 

Photo By tuchodi via Flickr Creative Commons

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