Save the Dying Moose Population

Target: Cristián Samper, President and CEO, Wildlife Conservation Society

Goal: Identify the cause of recent moose die-offs, and create a plan to prevent these important animals from suffering more casualties.

Across North America, moose are dying at an alarming rate. In Minnesota for example, one of the state’s two moose populations has declined from 4,000 to under 100 just since the 1990’s. The other population is now falling at a rate of twenty five percent a year. The average moose mortality rate used to be between eight and twelve percent a year. While many factors could be contributing to the anomaly, global warming is suspected to be behind many of them. We must find the root of the issue and keep other moose from dying, too.

Moose are an animal well-suited for the cold, yet where they live, winters have in recent years become substantially shorter. When the temperature rises above 23 degrees Fahrenheit, moose must expend extra energy to stay cool, which could lead to exhaustion. In New Hampshire, longer autumns have allowed the population of winter ticks, a taxing parasite, to explode. They latch onto moose by the tens of thousands, and cause them physical and emotional stress, making them tear out patches of hair and leaving them hypothermic. Some other factors in different regions include brain worms, wolves, unregulated hunting, and pine bark beetles creating sparse forests that leave moose more exposed to hunters and other predators.

This is a loss for the ecosystem and the economy as well. When moose graze shrubs, they create spaces for nesting birds. And in New Hampshire, moose-watching generates $115 million a year from tourists. However, it is very difficult to study a moose’s cause of death because they are solitary animals and decompose quickly. Because they do not run in herds, it is hard to track a dead moose. Moreover, their high content of body fat causes them to decay rapidly, rendering an autopsy useless after just 24 hours.

While some scientists have been studying the decline in moose populations regionally, we need to come up with a broad plan to help protect moose from more casualties. In some areas, the population is dropping too quickly for us to not take action. Help save the dying moose population by signing the petition below.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Samper,

Recent studies have shown an alarming rate of decline in North America’s moose population. In some areas, the decline is as rapid as 25 percent a year, whereas it used to be around 8 percent a year. While many factors contributing to the die-off have been identified regionally, it is still uncertain what is causing the issue more broadly. Many hypotheses point to global warming and its effects on the insect population. Others point to unrelated, miscellaneous causes. We must figure out the root of the issue and come up with a plan to prevent more mass casualties.

As a leader in wildlife conservation around the world, Wildlife Conservation Society has the expertise and the resources to take on this challenge. With a long history that began with the conservation of bison in North America, your organization is comfortable with the region and the type of animal, hoofed mammals. We believe that with your support, the moose population decline can be significantly slowed down. Please help us save the dying moose population.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Hagerty Ryan via Wikimedia Commons

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