|In Minnesota moose are said to be dying because of global warming. In Finland the moose population is growing for the same reason.|
Moose are dying in Minnesota. Experts are said to be "baffled and helpless", they "don't necessarily know the exact causes of mortality." But the fact that you do not know, does not matter in cases like this. There is always one sure-fire way to grab the headlines: Blame it on global warming!
Rapid Climate Changes Turn North Woods into Moose Graveyard
ALONG THE GUNFLINT TRAIL, Minn. -- If moose disappear from the boreal forest of northern Minnesota, as some biologists predict, they will not exit with a thunderous crash. Climate extinctions come quietly, even when they involve 1,000-pound herbivores.
Experts who have studied the Northwestern moose -- Alces alces andersoni -- believe they are witnessing one of the most precipitous nonhunting declines of a major species in the modern era, yet few outside Minnesota fully appreciate the loss.
The moose is an iconic species whose existence is woven into the social, economic and cultural fabric of this region. Its elongated head and wide antlers are emblazoned on everything from T-shirts to tire flaps. The 1960s cartoon character Bullwinkle J. Moose and his flying squirrel friend Rocky were residents of the fictionalized town of Frostbite Falls, Minn.
But the animals that inspired Bullwinkle are not what they were. Here, even healthy bulls -- whose size, strength and rutting prowess make them the undisputed kings of the North Woods -- are dying from what appear to be a combination of exhaustion, exposure, wasting disease triggered by parasites and other maladies.
The biologists are baffled and also helpless.
Mark Lenarz, who retired in March from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), where he led moose research efforts, said it's not like the TV show "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
"Unlike 'CSI,' it's very hard to identify in the field exactly what an animal is dying from," he said. "We know something about the symptoms" of distressed moose, he added, "but we don't necessarily know the exact causes of mortality."
What Lenarz and other experts do know is that a variety of climate stressors -- including higher averoage annual temperatures, a long string of very mild winters and increasingly favorable conditions for ticks, parasites and other invasive species -- are conspiring to make northern Minnesota a moose graveyard.
It is interesting to note that European moose seem to be thriving, in spite of - or because of - "global warming". This is what a Finnish study notes:
The elk will mainly benefit from a warming climate and thinning snow cover. Thus, food will be more easily available and the management of the population will become even more important than today.
The elk will mainly benefit from a warming climate and thinning snow cover. Thus, food will b