A couple years ago I reported on the health and population of the majestic moose in Northern Minnesota so I thought I would do a review.
I had reported that the moose in this area were declining in a rapid freefall but that decline. Though still steep, has now slowed a bit. The good news is it is encouraging to see some progress of sorts.
Unfortunately, the bad news is that some biologists are concerned the Minnesota moose is fast reaching a tipping point of no return and that is something almost incomprehensible if you have ever spent time in the north woods where wild is king. In 2006, the Minnesota moose population was estimated (by aerial survey) to be around 8300. In 2016, just ten years later that population fell to 3600. The year 2017 found a slight rise in to 3800. If one looked at just the numbers we could be a bit consoled, but, as biologist stated, one has to consider the population and how spread out it is (they have to find each other to make babies) in conjunction with the number of deaths that are occurring (population recovery).
Moose were once a common occurrence in northwestern Minnesota but they have been listed as virtually extinct in that former range. Extinct. (I hate that word!) The population has dropped 60% in the northeastern range. This alarming overall drop has Minnesota DRN (Department of Natural Resources) considering listing the moose under the Endangered Species Act.
Listing the MN moose with the ESA would allow funding for habitat preservation and study that would hopefully result in tamping the fall in population and bring them back to continue their reign as the icon of the north.
As with all things, there are those who find this particular issue not too concerning, but to me it is important because moose belong in the woods and we do not know what happens to the northern woods if they disappear. We think we know, but we don’t - because we are not privy to the Grand Plan. Last week in a blog we saw how the tiny, thin abscission membrane on the end of a twig changed the look and reaction of leaves on trees.
If the abscission membrane can make that big of a difference it makes one wonder what happens when an animal as large as a moose disappears from the forest. The physical aspects are certainly a consideration in regards to underbrush, predators and the effects on other wildlife, but also the energetic personality would be catastrophic. How would the forest look if it were not complete? If one piece is removed, do the rest follow suit in time?
The northern forest was designed by The Divine, who are we to say all the pieces do not need to be present to make it a forest.