Sunday, March 6, 2011

Moose Decline in Minnesota Turning Into a Political Football

In today's StarTribune, a feature story has run about the plight on the moose in Minnesota.  Population rates are falling, and the article leads the reader to assume that "climate change" is the culprit.  The comment board accompaning the article has basically fallen along political lines, depending on one's view of the whole concept of "climate change."

The Outdoor News has a much better (and much less politically bombastic) article on the moose situation in their 2/25 edition.  A small subset of the article can be found hereIn it, you’ll find that the ratio of calves to cows has been in a 14 year decline, and is at its lowest levels since 1999.  However, over the period, pregnancy rates were fairly constant.  Baby moose are being born.  They’re not making it to adulthood.  I have my own theories as to what is driving this, and it’s not climate, but my “worldview is mal-adapeted (sic) to reality,” according to some on the board.

I think if you were to plot the rise in wolf population to the decline in calf to cow ratio, you'd have a very telling statistic.  Note, I'm not one of those "only good wolf is a dead wolf" guys.  I think it is wonderful that our population has rebounded like it has.  However, like we've seen with the deer and goose population in the state, if left unchecked, overpopulation has consequences.  Am I saying wolves are overpopulated?  Nope - I don't know enough to make that claim.  What I do know is that now there is a new threat to baby moose that was not there 10 years ago.

And that threat is NOT climate change. 

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