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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Voyageurs National Park in northeastern Minnesota is not losing it's Moose population as quickly as in other parts of the state...............some 40 Moose wander the Park and this has been in steady-state fro the last 4 years................Howerver, the calf recruitment this past season is 1/3 to 1/2 of what it was over the same previous 4 year span.......A foretelling of bad things to come?

Moose Population Remains Fairly Stable At Voyageurs National Park

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A cow moose spotted during this year's population survey in Voyageurs National Park/NPS
The moose population a tVoyageurs National Park in Minnesota seems to be holding its own, according to a recent survey conducted by park biologists. While the herd isn't growning, moose mortality rates in Voyageurs are about half of that found elsewhere in northeastern Minnesota, officials say.
The annual count was held in February and March. The 2014 population estimate for the Kabetogama Peninsula was 40 moose, similar to estimates from 2009-2013 of 41-51. The Kabetogama Peninsula is a 118-square mile roadless area that contains almost all of the park’s moose population.

Biologists did observe fewer calves than in the previous three surveys, and the calf:cow ratio of 0.23 was also lower than estimates from 2010-2013 of 0.54-0.61.Two adult collared moose moved from the park into Ontario a few weeks before the survey began and another died during the survey. If those moose had been present during the survey, the 2014 estimate would have been inside the range of past counts.

Biologists also confirmed the presence of at least three moose in the southern portion of the park. The continued apparent stability of the low-density population in Voyageurs is corroborated through ongoing monitoring of GPS-collared moose. Only one of 14 collared adult moose has died since the last aerial survey was completed in 2013.

Overall, mean annual mortality of adult moose in Voyageurs National Park has been 10 percent since monitoring began in 2010, say park officials. By comparison, annual mortality of adult moose in the declining northeastern Minnesota moose population in recent years has been around 20 percent, they add.

Biologists say warmer annual and summer temperatures may be stressing moose populations in the region. The moose population declined by about 50 percent between 2006-2014 in northeastern Minnesota, and several areas in adjacent Ontario have also documented recent declines. There are likely multiple factors involved in the observed declines including climate-related stresses on health and reproductive status, diseases and parasites, predation, and changes in habitat.

Moose in Voyageurs experience all of these factors, including the brainworm parasites and high densities of wolves and bears. It is unclear if population dynamics in the park are indeed different from those in adjacent areas or if the park, at the western and southern edge of these other populations, will experience similar declines in the near future. Park biologists are continuing studies to understand the complex relationships that drive moose population dynamics in the park.

The National Park Service will continue to monitor the Voyageurs National Park’s moose population on an annual basis. In addition, Voyageurs National is investigating other aspects of moose ecology in collaboration with University of Minnesota-Duluth, Bemidji State University, Lakehead University, and other partners. Other studies include how moose behave in response to high temperatures and other weather events, how and why moose use wetlands for foraging and temperature regulation, and the interactions of moose, deer, beavers and wolves.

 The 2014 Voyageurs National Park Moose Population Survey Report can be downloaded from the NPS website:

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