Reply To: Global warming threatens biodiversity


Evidence that moose numbers falling on southern edge of their range:

It wasn’t long ago that thousands of moose roamed the gentle terrain of northwestern Minnesota, affirming the iconic status of the antlered, bony-kneed beast from the North Woods. In just two decades, though, their numbers have plummeted, from 4,000 to fewer than a hundred.

They didn’t move away. They just died.

The primary culprit in what is known as the moose mystery, scientists say, is climate change, which has systematically reduced the Midwest’s already dwindling moose population and provoked alarm in Minnesota, where wildlife specialists gathered for a "moose summit" last month in Duluth.

"There’s not a lot of opportunity to turn this around," said Mark Lenarz, a wildlife research specialist at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "Here in Minnesota, they (moose) have been weakened by climate change."

Temperatures tell much of the story. Over the past 40 years in northwest Minnesota, the average winter temperature has risen significantly — 12 degrees — while summers are 4 degrees warmer. Solitary and temperamentally grumpy, moose have made it clear in their estimated 13,000 years in North America that they hate warm weather.

Iconic moose may lose battle with climate change

The beasts are dying off in the Midwest, failing to adapt to warmer temperatures